FrontPageAfrica - FINAL JUSTICE - Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Aggrieved Canadian Investor

Monday, January 13, 2014

FrontPageAfrica

FINAL JUSTICE – Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Aggrieved Canadian Investor

Monday, January 13 2014

The Supreme Court of Liberia has handed down its opinion in the case involving the Liberty Gold and Diamond Mining Company and the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy. The Court ruled that the LME acted illegally by arbitrarily revoking the company’s licenses without affording it due process.

The Court which is the final arbiter of justice in the country ruled that the verdict of the trial judge be upheld dismissing the government’s assertions that the Civil Law Court does not have jurisdiction over the matter.

“That the ruling of the trial judge granting the appellee’s motion for summary judgment and declaring therein that the appellees have been denied their right of due process of law accorded by the Constitution of Liberia, the termination of their mining licenses in the absence of such due process rendered the termination illegal, null and void, and of no legal effect, is hereby affirmed,” stated the Court.

The Court ruled that the mining and mineral regulation made it mandatory that the ministry, in terminating any mineral and mining license, state in the letter of termination the right of the licensee to appeal from the ruling, something it said the co-appellant Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy did not state in the letter of termination to the appellees, and hence deprived the appellees of the required notice under the law.

The Court stated on Friday during the handing down of the opinion into the matter after nearly four years of the case that the act by the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy terminating the mineral exploration agreement and the licenses held by the appellees (Liberty Gold and Diamond) being in direct violation of the arbitration provisions of the license agreement between both parties.

The Court said by this action the co-appellant ministry waived its right to arbitration, hence, the appellee’s petition for the declaratory judgment, in seeking judicial redress against the ministry, was not dismissible.

“That the other co-appellant, being in privity with the co-appellant ministry, the agreement which they entered into between then and the said ministry, acting for and on behalf of the government of Liberia, are rendered null and void and of no legal effect: and such third parties are to cease all activities being carried out under said agreements,” said the Court.

Reading on behalf of the full bench, in the presence of Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, and other associate justices, Associate Phillip Banks reading the Court’s opinion ordered the clerk of this court to send a mandate to the trial court commanding the judge presiding therein to resume jurisdiction over the case and to give effect to the Supreme Court’s judgment.

Said the Court: “Having heard the oral legal arguments advanced by the parties, analyzed the fact and circumstances presented by them, and reviewed the written contentions, factual and legal, contained in the briefs submitted by both parties; and being satisfied and convinced, upon the full examination of the records certified to this court, the evidence shown therein, and the applicable and controlling laws, that the trial judge committed no error in granting the appellee’s motion for summary judgment and declaring the action of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy as illegal, same being consistent with the right of due process accorded by the Constitution of Liberia and in harmony with the statutory and decisional laws of the jurisdiction.”

Speaking to the FrontPageAfrica following the verdict the elated head of the company who recently issued a book on corruption detailing malpractices that went on at the ministry that had led to the cancellation of his company’s contracts, Mr. Liam Lindstrom said he dreamed of such a day like this when justice would finally prevail.