In a significant legal decision, His Honor Ousman E. Feika, an assigned Circuit Judge ruled in favor of the Petitioners, who are elected members of the Association of Liberian Construction Contractors (ALCC).
The case, heard during the September term, pertained to the suspension of the ALCC’s Executive Officers by the Board of Directors, which was appointed and constituted by the association’s president.
The ALCC board, consisting of Napoleon Chatta, Alpha Brownell, John Brandy, Haja Knowlden, George Lahun, Roland Martini and Richeal Walker, illegally suspended the Sackie Johnson leadership over an internal dispute investigation.
The officials challenged the board’s decision and filed a lawsuit with the Civil Law Court Annex at the Temple of Justice, asking the court to quash their illegal suspension.
After careful consideration and weighing of arguments, the Court declared that the association’s constitution did not grant the Board any authority to suspend Executive Officers. Consequently, the suspension was deemed unjustified, and the Court granted the Petitioners’ request for declaratory judgment.
The ruling ordered an immediate reversal of the suspension, reinstating the Vice President and all Executive Officers who were suspended.
The Court’s judgment stated, “Having listened to arguments pro et con, this court is inclined to lean on the argument of the petitioner to say that there is no provision within the constitution of the Association of Liberian Construction Contractors (ALCC) that provides for the suspension of Executive Officers by the Board of Directors.”
The court’s decision added, “The Board of Directors of the Association of Liberian Construction Contractors (ALCC) upon its own authority and without any support, suspended the officers and assumed the role of leadership.”
On account of these missteps, the court said, “The Petitioner’s Petition, and prayer therein is hereby granted and the Resistance to the petition is denied and dismissed.”
This therefore, ordered the board of the Association of Liberian Construction Contractors to immediately reverse the suspension of the vice President and all the executive Officers and that the said Executive Officers are hereby reinstated by the order of this court.
Further, all actions taken by the Board in an executive capacity that is to say, the withdrawal of money from the association’s account, the conclusion of contracts in the name of the association and other actions are ordered reversed and declared “null and void ab initio.”
The Civil Law Court Annex ordered all parties to return to “statute quo-ante,” that is to say, the executives are going back to their positions as if they have always been there until such time when the association will convene a general assembly and take actions consistent with the constitution.
By this recent decision of the court which was reached on September 22, 2023, all actions taken by the Board during the suspension of the elected officials of the ALCC are nullified and declared void from the beginning, both for individuals and the institution.
The Court’s order emphasized collaboration between the parties to execute the ruling effectively.
The decision is expected to have a profound impact on the operations and leadership dynamics of the ALCC to restore calm and instill discipline and respect for the association’s constitution.
The discord within ALCC erupted when institution members reported President Sackie Johnson for allegedly granting a certificate to a Lebanese construction firm without the executive members’ consent.
The association had discovered that RESCO Construction fraudulently acquired ALCC certification and secured a contract for a GIZ-funded multipurpose complex.
Following the complaint, the board swiftly suspended all elected members, assuming administrative responsibilities and resisting reinstating them, despite acknowledging RESCO’s fraudulent certification and the president’s wrongful issuance of a valid certificate to the company.
The suspended members contested the board’s decision to prolong its leadership tenure.
During the members’ suspension, the board changed signatories for the association’s account and withdrew over US$18,000.
The court’s subsequent ruling deemed all board actions unlawful, directing them to reimburse every cent withdrawn from the association’s account