Settled? /Court Seeks Confirmation In Freeman-Democrat Case

The Supreme Court called the case involving Mr. Simeon Freeman and the New Democrat Newspaper; on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Surprisingly, only the Appellant (New Democrat Newspaper) lawyer, Cllr. Tiawan Gonglo, was present andinformed the high court that the matter has been settle already between the paper and Mr. Freeman.

A marshal’s return on Wednesday indicated that Freeman’s lawyer Cllr. Marcus R. Jones could not be served on grounds that his offices were not operating. “Inconsideration of the above, we decided to contact the appellee (Freeman) himself, but all efforts made proved futile”, the Marshall’s return added.

The Chief Justice has however requested the clerk of the court to write Mr. Freeman and inform him about Gonglo’s claims that the matter has been settled.

It can be recalled that the Consolidated Group won a lawsuit against the New Democrat Newspaper for publishing findings from the GAC audit report in which the paper reported that the group On October 31, 2008, quoting a GAC report, the paper reported that the state spent US$814,195.00 on scrapped road construction equipment that was virtually neglected at the compound of the Ministry of Public Works.

Mr. Freeman alleges that in 2010, a story that ran in the paper portrayed him as incompetent. In the story, the paper criticized a deal, citing a General Auditing Commission report, in which Freeman, a satellite television mogul, received a US$800,000 government contract to import road equipment that was never used

During the trial, counsel for Freeman argued that his client (Consolidated Group Inc.) acted in good faith and without any criminal motive or intent, it honorably performed its obligations pursuant to the memorandum of understanding by delivering the equipment stipulated to and the Ministry of Public Works, the intended beneficiary to the memorandum and the Ministry of Public works commenced using said equipment with their own personnel but the GAC released a report claiming the contrary.

The General Auditing Commission of Liberia, in an audit conducted on the Ministry of Public Works during the period 2006 recommended that the Consolidated Group of Mr. Simeon Freeman restitute US$877,945 for allegedly violating the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the bid specification by supplying old equipment to the Ministry. “This amount should be restituted along with imputed interest that is compounded daily from the date of payment in 2006 to date,” the report stated.