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GT Bank in US$2.5M damages suit

By Lincoln G. Peters

The Guarantee Trust Bank Liberia Limited (GT Bank) is facing a US$2.5 Million lawsuit in damages claim by one of its customers, Kailondo Petroleum Inc.

The Chief Executive Officer of Kailondo Inc., is seeking the damages for what it claims was misapplication of entrusted funds among others.

At the start of a 3-day jury sitting on Wednesday June 22, 2022, before Circuit Court Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, Kailondo Petroleum averred that its businesses continued to suffer because of a letter written by GT Bank to commercials banks here requesting them not to do business with the company.

‘’We are claiming US$ 2.5 million in general damages that we continue to suffer because of GT Bank. Because these letters are pending with all the commercial banks as we speak,” Mr. Kailondo, the first witness for the plaintiff said.

George Kailondo

He told the court that his company was shocked to discover in August (last year) when all the commercial banks called to inform him that GT Bank had written them (Commercial banks) telling them not to even allow him open business account with them in the name of Kailondo petroleum Inc., or anything that has to do with his name.

Kailondo further told the court that because of the letter 10 of his gas stations across the country have been closed.

He said since then, “GT Bank has not been able to retract the letter and this has impacted their businesses negatively.

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“If we have all our money our business could have been flourishing, like Petrol Trade or Total Liberia’’ he noted.’ 

The Kailondo Group of Companies, is dully registered under the laws of the Republic of Liberia, include the Kailondo Petroleum Inc., Kailondo Hotel, Kailondo Transport Service, Kailondo Service Stations, Kailondo and Associates Law Firm, Partner and Co-owner of Executive Inn Hotel and Kailondo Microfinance.

According to Cllr. Kailondo they have been in the business of petroleum for over three decades. In 2013 when they were licensed as importer of petroleum product, they opened an account with defendants GT Bank and approached them that they wanted a letter of credit in the amount of US$ 300,000.00 but the bank asked that they deposit US$2,000,000.00 into the account first.

He said the company subsequently made the required deposit amount, which was placed into an escrow account. Later they wrote the bank seeking another instrument in the form of a letter of credit which was subsequently granted in 2015.

He said upon receiving the letter of credit, they brought in products in three installments: 1000 metric tons, 2000 metric tons and 2000 metric tons. He said all the products were sold and the monies deposited in their GT Bank account.

He said other transactions followed over a period of one year before requesting that last letter of credit for US$2.3 million.

Mr. Kailondo noted that in September 2017, a collateral manager by the name ACES was written by the defendant that they should pay US7,91,000.00 indicating that the last shipment payment was not fully settled.

He said he was taken aback because after the last shipment there was no authorization, or communication between Kailondo petroleum Inc., and the defendant bank but they sold the product and deposited the money.

‘’ The defendant bank came to us that we should sign some agreement for the last shipment which I did.  However, they were in the know that we had losses on the last shipment because the price of petroleum products declined on the world market. Kailondo testified to several transactions over the period to which he claimed that the bank has caused his business some harm and therefore is making the claims.

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