MONROVIA-The Liberian Government has formally withdrawn the theft case against Lebanese businessman, George E. Haddad and the Criminal Court C, accordingly, Monday, March 1, 2021, returned his U$1.3 million bond.
Haddad and two others including Dew Mason and two registered Liberian companies were indicted by the Government on Theft of Property by deception in a US$891,000 rice deal in 2008. Two days after the filing of the case, the Ministry of Justice on Wednesday, February 24, ordered its Prosecuting Lawyers to drop all charges against the Lebanese businessman. Haddad, was arrested and subsequently made to file a US$1.3 million criminal appearance bond which secured his released last week.
The government had initially indicted Haddad along with Prof. Dew Mason, Patricia F. Fahnbulleh, Cape Maritime and Bridgeway Corporation, a second degree felony, in relation to a 2008 and 2019 alleged misappropriation of US$891,641.57 secured as a loan agreement with CIL Risk & Asset Management Limited, (CRAM) a Nigerian Investment and fund management company, an associate company of Mutual Benefits Assurance PLC, the parent company of Mutual Benefits Assurance Company, Liberia. Mason is the Chairman of the Board of directors of Mutual Assurance Company which formed part of the lawsuit against Haddad.
According to the Indictment, Haddad, who was the only defendant arraigned before the court on multiple charges helped Mason to allegedly misapplied the money that was intended to supply rice, sugar cement among other things on the local market, often times the would be included with a percentage rate that is 65 percent to DAS Holding Inc and the remaining percentage of 35 to the CRAM respectively. Surprisingly, days later, , the Ministry of Justice made the highly unusual decision to drop the charges and lift it earlier traveling ban.
The Justice Ministry entered in a nolle prose qui, dropping the case against the defendants. The communication reads “the Ministry of Justice informs your honor and this honorable court that it herewith enters a nolle prose qui in the captioned case reserving the right to refile., Prior to with drawing it’s Indictment, Haddad had repeatedly denied having any knowledge about the sale of the commodities.
The case grew when CRAM allegedly entered into the loan agreement with DAS Holding Inc owned by Haddad and Mason, which CRAM’s Group Chairman, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, a Nigerian national is opting for restitution and other legal fees. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CRAM and DAS reaches the court after CRAM claimed that DAS failed to make full disclosure as to the profit generated from an investment of US$200,000 and refund of the additional operational expense by CRAM. CRAM claimed that on June 3, 2008, they entered into a Memorandum of Understanding between DAS for DAS to secure the contract to supply the commodities that include (rice, sugar cement among other) on the local market.
They agreed that fund realize from the sale of the commodities should have been disbursed on the following basis. repayment of cost of goods and loans to CRAM, disbursement of expenses account, distribution of profits between DAS and CRAM at the percentage rate of 65 percent and 35 percent respectively. And, it was based upon the agreement that CRAM made available to DAS Holding Inc that amount of US$253,100 representing the following: US$200,000 as advanced payment through a July 1, 2008, through the management of Mutual Benefits Assurance Company Liberia at Ecobank Liberia Limited under the captioned ,’Collapse of time Deposit Investment’ Later, CRAM claimed that for them to import the first consignment of cement to Liberia as the agreement, CRAM incurred additional expenses totaling Naira 12 million or its equivalent US$53,100. The court records claimed that DAS failed to account for the amount from July 1,2008 to January 31,2021, and a ten (10) per annum was accrued totaling US$638,541.57