The ECOWAS Court has dismissed as ‘inadmissible,’ a suit filed by Finance Investment and Development Corporation Inc. (FIDC) against the Republic of Liberia.

In dismissing the suit, a panel of three Justices of the Court, presided by Hon. Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, declared that the claim has been overtaken by the decision of the Supreme Court, as the ECOWAS Court is not an appellate Court over decisions of national courts of Member States.

The Applicant, FIDC, instituted this action at the Registry of the Court on 9th March, 2015, alleging the violation of its right to property, arising from the non-enforcement of a $15, 900 judgment awarded the Applicant by a Civil Court in Liberia.

The Applicant had characterized the non-payment of the $15, 900 based on a juridical pronouncement of a Civil Law Court in Monrovia, as a violation of its right to property and the independence of the Courts, guaranteed by Article 26 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right.

Consequently, the Applicant sought from ECOWAS Court, a declaration that the accrued right of the Applicant to judgment sum of USD 15, 900, 000, 00 against the government of Liberia, the Respondent, was violated. 

It also prayed the ECOWAS Court for a declaration that the continued delay and/or refusal of the Respondent to satisfy that judgment is a breach of Applicant’s rights guaranteed under Article 3, 7(1)14 and 26 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

Moreover, it urged the Court to issue an order directing the Respondent to forthwith pay the judgment sum of USD 15,900,000.00 with interest at the rate of 21% per annum from 20/4/05 till date of final liquidation and costs of USD100, 000.00 to the Applicant.

Although in 2017, the said judgment of the Civil Court was vacated as null and void by the Supreme Court of Liberia, the Applicant urged the Court to note that the Judgment of the Supreme Court was intended to frustrate the proceedings before the ECOWAS Court.

The Respondent, represented by Mr. Lafayette B. Gould contended that the Applicant has no legal status to approach the Court and urged ECOWAS Court to declare the case as inadmissible and dismiss same, as the subject matter of the proceeding, the Judgment of the Civil Court, has been vacated by the apex court of the country.

Honorable Justices Yaya Boiro and Alioune Sall were also on the panel.