MONROVIA—A panel of judges have held liable the Central Bank of Liberia and ordered the bank to pay US$5,209,382.57 (five million two hundred nine thousand three hundred eighty two and fifty seven United States dollars to Mrs. Nancy Doe, wife of former Liberian President Samuel K. Doe.
The judges also ordered the bank to add statutory interest of six percent plus additional accrued interest commencing from the time the debt became due up to the date of the judgment. The action against the defendant (CBL) was filed by the wife of slain Liberian President who is also the administratrix of his properties. Madam Nancy Doe filed the complaint to the court on December 8, 2011 but withdrew the complaint and filed an amended complaint on December 30, 2011 in which she said President Doe acquired both real and personal properties in Liberia, which includes checking and saving accounts held with former branch Bank of Credit & Commerce International in Liberia.
She added that her late husband deposited the sum US$4,537,830.85 in savings account number 02010812 and US$410,000.00 in checking account number 02010812 with the said bank. “BCCI collapsed during the course of the Liberian civil crises which led to its voluntary liquidation with the erstwhile National Bank of Liberia serving as statutory agent and liquidator for the collapsed bank consistent with part II section 4.1 of the financial institution act and the Liberian code of law revised (LCLR, vol.2 p.431).
“The former National Bank of Liberia was later changed to the Central Bank of Liberia, pursuant to the new financial institution act of 1999, thereby, acquiring all of its assets and liabilities”, the widow of the former President stated.
President Doe’s wife alleged that the former National Bank of Liberia, now the Central Bank of Liberia, acted as agent and liquidator for the Bank of Credit & Commerce International in Liberia and had the legal duty to retire BCCI’s obligations to its depositor and creditors in Liberia. Challenging the plaintiff’s complaint, the defendant said that the amended complaint filed by the plaintiff failed to state any cause of action for which the relief sought should be granted.
They further argued that it had no knowledge or information pertaining to the accounts held by the late Samuel K. Doe in any bank, including the CBL and accused the plaintiff of engaging in forum shopping for previously naming it as a1st respondent in a bill of information filed before the monthly and probate court of Montserrado County in which it was subsequently dropped as a party.
Additionally, the defendant denied any agency relationship ever existing between it and BCCI and contended that if such relationship ever existed, the burden of proof was on plaintiff’s to present such evidence in substantiation of its claim.
Moreover, the defendant argued that there is no privity of contract between CBL and BCCI and the plaintiff’s assumption of the liabilities of BCCI is untenable, maintaining that to establish a debtor – creditor relationship between itself and the decedent state, there must be a contract binding on the parties and a transaction indicative of the debtor-creditor relationship and that for such a lack of a contract praying the court to dismiss the action.
In their ruling, the judges named three issues including whether or not the court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear an action of debt by deposit contract, whether or not the plaintiff’s complaint has set forth a cause of action for which relief may be granted under our existing statutes and whether or not a debtor- creditor relationship exists between a liquidator and the depositors of a collapsed bank in liquidation whose assets and liabilities are transferred to the liquidators. The panel of Judges said they believe that the plain meaning of the commercial court should be given effect since it is clear that the commercial court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear a matter bordered on a claim for an alleged debt in the instant case.
Said the Judges: “In the mind of this panel, the insistence by the defendants to dismiss the complaint allegedly because of the plaintiff’s failure to set forth a cause of action on which relief is sought and is untenable and not supported by law, we uphold the wisdom and guidance of the honorable Supreme Court.” The panel said all the species of evidence put together, stemming from BCCI’s conformation of the settlement with the Government of Liberia, the clarification provided by the GOL that it had no case pending against the late Samuel Doe to confiscate his assets coupled with the NBL’s December 1, 1999 letter.
“As liquidator for the BCCI-Liberia to the late Samuel Doe along with the admission by the defendant CBL that it only paid the Liberian dollar component while the US dollar component was paid directly by the BCCI headquarters,” the judges states.
Said the judges “one wonders why the defendant CBL did not rebut the allegation that the amount of US$148,000.00 was paid out of the same account number 02010812 to Mr. Isaac Nyenabo upon the orders of the Monthly & Probate Court of Liberia if it was only responsible to pay the Liberian dollars depositors when the late Samuel Doe did not have any Liberian dollars account with BCCI.”
Madam Doe has been struggling over the years since the death of her husband facing financial constraints. She has also been at the core of several legal proceedings for proprieties accordingly belong to her late husband. She has won a court case for ownership of the another property, the Vamoma House in Sinkor but the other party took and appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia. Source FPA