-For Allegedly Misapplying US$48,000.00
By R Joyclyn Wea
Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LSWC) Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Moseray Momoh has been ‘hooked’ by Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice for allegedly misapplying entrusted property in the tone of (US$124,442.96,).
A guilty verdict was Thursday rendered against the LWSC Deputy boss and was ordered by the court to restitute the amount of US$48,000.00 as value of the ‘uncompleted work’.
According to court’s document, the case grew out of a construction, equipping and furnishing contract for the Kokoyah District Magisterial Court project in Botota, Kokoyah district, Bong County.
The document further indicated that said contract was entered into between the judiciary branch of government (private prosecutor) and the appellant or defendant Momoh and group of companies to be executed on November 12, 2015.
When the case was at the first instance court (the Monrovia city court), his Judge Kennedy Peabody, Stipendiary Magistrate found Momoh and his companies guilty of alleged crime of misapplication of entrusted property and ordered defendant Momoh to restitute the amount of US$48,000.00 for his alleged failure to meet up with its obligation to government.
At that time, Momoh challenged Judge Peabody ruling and took an appeal with Criminal Court “C” which is clothed with the authority to hear and make further determination into all criminal matters, something which was being confirmed by Criminal Court “C” Judge.
Criminal Court “C” Judge, Blamo Dixon in his Thursday, June 21, 2018 final judgment confirmed and affirmed the judgment by the trial court (Judge Kennedy Peabody) ordering Momoh, James P. Martor and the Semoh Group of Companies which is being owned by the LWSC executive to restitute the sum of US$48,000.00 and further imposed a fine of US$300.00 to be deposited into government’s revenue.
The court considered five important issues in its judgment: whether or not cancellation proceedings will laid relative to the contract in reference, whether or not the final installment (retention) payment constituting the remaining ten percent of the contract price should be paid to the defendant, whether or not the magistrate committed gross reversible errors during the course of the criminal proceedings and whether or not the prosecution established and proved beyond all reasonable doubts the elements of the crime of misapplication of entrusted property to which the court answered in the affirmative.
The court holds that the original contract expired on November 12, 2015 on its own terms, which prompted the parties to entered into and executed two additional addendums which also expired on January 22, 2017 and May 1, 2017 respectively.
“Therefore, the private prosecutor had no other alternative, but to institute criminal proceedings against the appellants or defendants for the amount of US$124,442.96 that they received from the judiciary branch of government, without completing said project and said amount is equivalent to ninety percent of the total contract price,” the document said.
Meanwhile, Moseray Momoh is said to be the owner and operator of Semoh group of companies and signed said contract with UNDP to build the court facility in Bong County.
Momoh did portion the project and the remaining work was being put at US$48,000.00, an amount the court is demanding him (Momoh, Semoh) to pay.
Momoh who at the time served as procurement officer for UNDP allegedly awarded the contract to his Semoh group of companies allegedly awarded the contract to himself.
Momoh appeal was filed with the Criminal Court “C” without any article of incorporation to determine the legitimacy of the company.
The contract was executed for the duration of two hundred eighty-seven (287) calendar days, thus, the parties agreed that the contract should have commenced within seven calendar days and in the tone of US$138,269.96 which was further agreed by the parties that said amount be paid in four installments.
The private prosecutor, according to the court judgment, paid and the appellants or defendants received from it the total amount of one hundred twenty-four hundred forty-two united states dollars and ninety-six cents, representing ninety percent (90%) of the contract price.
The technical team of the private prosecutor and judicial partners inspected and assessed the project and project site, in keeping with policy; at which time the team observed that the construction work done on said project was at seventy-five percent.
Accordingly, the terms and conditions of the construction, equipping and furnishing contract expired by operation of law, an action which prompted the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice to institute a criminal proceeding against the defendants at the Monrovia City Court and the court issued a writ of arrest against the defendants on October 14, 2017 and charged him with the alleged commission of the crime of misapplication of entrusted property.