MOF to Pay US$77,000 in Damages
Civil Law Court Judge Yussif D. Kaba has confirmed trial jury’s unanimous guilty verdict against the Ministry of Finance (MOF), awarding US$77,000.00 to the ministry’s former contractor, Samurai Wolokollie for ‘special damages’.
The court’s final judgment on April 4, 2012 followed trial over complaints filed by Wolokollie on May 30, 2009, accusing the Finance Ministry of bringing shame against him, as well as breach of contract, inconvenience, mental anguish, embarrassment and general damages amounting to US$60,000. The complainant (Wolokollie) therefore pleaded for the court to award him US$77,000.00.
During the final judgment, Judge Kaba recalled complainant Wolokollie’s testimony in which he narrated that he allegedly entered into a two year contract with the Ministry of Finance, but the ministry without any justification or color of right elected to terminate the contract after one month service.
Wolokollie further alleged that all demands upon the Finance Ministry to allow him execute his side of the bargain or for the ministry to fulfill its side of the contract failed.
However, giving the history of the case, Judge Kaba said the Ministry neglected to file any responsive pleading to Wolokollie’s complaint and failed on two occasions to appear before the court for the disposition of law issues. He further said that several notices for assignment were served both parties for trial of the matter, but to no avail.
Citing an instance, Judge Kaba recalled that on September 8, 2010, when the court assigned the case for trial, the Finance Ministry appeared in court, pleading for time, which the court granted.
He said when the case trial started on March 29, 2012, the Ministry waived to produce evidence after Wolokollie concluded on the production of evidence. The empanelled jurors returned with a unanimous guilty verdict against the ministry from their room of deliberation, awarding the complainant US$77,000.00.
Meanwhile, Judge Kaba has ruled that there was no justification to disturb the guilty verdict against the Ministry of Finance, and therefore affirmed that the ministry was liable in damages to Wolokollie.
The trial judge instructed the clerk of court to issue out the bill of cost and have same presented to the defense and state lawyers in the case, further ordering for a writ of execution to be addressed to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for settlement by the Government of the Republic of Liberia.