CT COM LIBERIA LTD Goes to Supreme Court After Unfavorable Commercial Court Ruling

The lawsuit against GT Bank was prompted by severe financial losses incurred by CT COM LIBERIA LTD during the period when their account was frozen.

CAPITOL HILL, Monrovia – The management team of CT COM LIBERIA LTD, the parent company of Kool 91.9FM and K-Newsonline, has voiced its dissatisfaction with the recent judgment handed down by the Commercial Court in the case involving CT COM LIBERIA LTD and GT Bank. In response, the management has announced its intention to seek redress at the Supreme Court of Liberia.

In a ruling issued on Wednesday, September 13, the Commercial Court denied and dismissed CT COM’s $7million lawsuit against GT Bank Liberia Limited, alleging that the bank had wrongfully frozen its account back in 2019 due to a misidentification.

The lawsuit against GT Bank was prompted by severe financial losses incurred by CT COM LIBERIA LTD during the period when their account was frozen. According to Christopher Hayes Onanuga, the executive officer of the company, the freezing of their account led to various financial challenges, including the inability to pay essential taxes such as withholding income and real estate taxes, which were obligatory for the company.

“On top of the taxes that businesses are required to pay, real estate tax is calculated based on property valuation, and this is a recurring annual obligation to the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA),” stated CEO Onanuga during his testimony.

Mr. Onanuga further revealed that, during this period, the company accumulated debts with various vendors, including Kailondo Petroleum Inc., which vehemently contested the outstanding amounts. Additionally, the financial constraints resulting from the account freeze made it impossible for CT COM LIBERIA LTD to meet its monthly payroll obligations to its employees, severely hampering the company’s day-to-day operations.

The genesis of the lawsuit stemmed from the Monrovia City Court’s issuance of a stay order on an account registered under the name “Chris Onanuga,” which bore a striking resemblance to the name of the company’s CEO. The bank subsequently froze CT COM’s account due to this misidentification. However, the company’s legal team promptly notified the bank of its error through written communication, a fact that was corroborated in open court.

Despite this communication, the bank declined to rectify the situation, prompting CT COM’s Board to initiate legal proceedings in August 2019, seeking redress through the Commercial Court of Liberia.

Efforts to resolve the matter outside of the court system were also made by the company, including engagement with the Ministry of Justice on December 4, 2019, which ultimately cleared the company of any wrongdoing and ordered the bank to lift the stay order placed on CT COM’s account by the Monrovia City Court. Regrettably, the bank refused to comply with this directive.

CT COM LIBERIA LTD. subsequently filed a lawsuit against GT Bank, alleging actions of damages for wrongful conduct, including failure to adhere to Associate Justice Kabba’s ruling to lift the stay order following an appeal to the Supreme Court.

In the recent ruling by the Commercial Court on Wednesday, the lawsuit was dismissed and denied.

The court maintained that CT COM had failed to substantiate that the bank’s actions had inflicted severe damage to the company’s reputation and business, as was claimed in the $7 million lawsuit.

The ruling also contested CT COM’s argument that GT Bank’s actions had caused “general” and “punitive” damages to its reputation and business transactions. The court argued that, despite CT COM’s assertion that general damages are natural consequences arising from necessary and wrongful actions or omissions, compensation could only be awarded based on the extent of the injuries sustained by the party involved.

Despite this setback, the management of CT COM remains optimistic about launching a successful appeal to the nation’s highest court, the Supreme Court of Liberia.

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