Over US$4M Damages Claim Case Against USAID Fails to Proceed


Monrovia – Hearing into a lawsuit requesting over US$4m in damages for breach of contract filed by the Management of the Semoh Group of Companies against Winnock International and that of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) failed to proceed at the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice Monday.

Last week the Commercial Court had issued a citation to the parties in the case for both the legal counsels for the Semoh Group of Companies and that of Winnock International and USAID to appear at the court for a pre-trial conference scheduled for Monday, April 21, 2016 at 12:00 noon growing out of the case, action of damages for breach of contract as filed by the Semoh Group of Companies by and thru its finance and administrative officer James Mator.

 The citation under the signature from the clerk of the court, Enoch Garlawolo reads: Consistent with Section 12.3 of ILCL revised Page 125, His Honor Chan-chan A. Paegar Associate Judge of the Commercial Court of Liberia would have me inform you that the above captioned case is scheduled for pre-trial conference on Monday, 18 April 2016 at the precise hour of 12:00 pm in the court room of the Commercial Court 1st Floor, East Wing, Temple of Justice.

Another part of the citation also reads, it is a further requirements by the Commercial Court that your memorandum statement as provided under our Civil Procedure Law.

However, with the presence of the petitioner’s legal counsel and that of the counsel of the Justice Ministry in court Monday as per the schedule the case failed to proceed   despite the assignment made because there was no record/ response from the legal counsel of Winnock International and USAID before the court.

“The Sherriff of the court told us that he has served the complaint to the other party (Winnock International &USAID) but there is no record before the court to show that the other party was served the complaint/citation” said a legal source closed to the Semoh Group of Companies who blame the Sherriff of the court for not applying due diligence to have the other party informed.

The same source indicated that due to the Sherriff’s failure to serve the other party the citation the Judge of the court Chan-chan Paegar has instructed that a new citation be prepared and served Winnock and USAID before another assignment could be made for the case with no date set so far.

In its complaint against the Winnock International and USAID to the Commercial Court, the Semoh Group of Companies indicated that on May 1, 2014 allegedly entered and signed a contractual agreement with Winnock International and USAID for the construction of the Kwendin Biomas Electricity Pilot Project for use by the people of Kwendin

The company avers that the initial contract price for the construction of the Kwendin Biomas Electricity Pilot  Project was in the amount US$296,535.56 and on July 18, 2014 seven modifications to the original contract were initial and effected with additional cost ofUS$2,507.80 thus increasing the contract value to US$379,043.37).

According to the company the duration for the initial contract was from May 15, 2014 to September 30, 2014 but due to the Ebola crisis in Liberia including quarantines and borders closing on September 29, 2014 said contract was extended to October 14, 2014.

Still on its complaint the Semoh Group of Companies furthered sthat while the Kwendin Biomas Electricity Pilot Project was still under its control and have deployed huge quantity of resources including men power who were carrying out the construction work USAID without any color of right decided to advertise the said contract without the consent of the plaintiff given the huge debt that plaintiff incurred of US$150,000.00 from the Afriland First Bank.

“Where-fore and in-view of the foregoing facts and circumstances the plaintiff prays your honor to order the defendant to pay them the amount of US$379,043.37 as specific damage and US$4,500,000 in general damages “said the plaintiff’s complaint filed by Cllr. James Kumeh.

Kennedy L. Yangian [email protected]