Gbarpolu County Circuit Judge, George Wiles
Court Cancels Agreement with UCS
By Emmanuel Mondaye, LINA Gbarpolu County Correspondent
BOPOLU CITY, April 4 (LINA) - The Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarpolu County has cancelled the US$284,000 contractual agreement entered into by the Universal Construction Services (UCS) and Gbarpolu County authorities.
On December 16, 2011, the parties signed two contracts for the construction of the Gbarma Administrative Building in Gbarma District valued at US$60,000.00 and a Presidential Guest House in Bopolu City to include a Palaver Hut, Generator House, Well and Water Tower valued at US$224,322.50.
In his final judgment Thursday, Gbarpolu County Circuit Judge George Wiles said it has been established that it was impossible for the UCS to perform, due to lack of capacity and willingness to work, and as such, the court was left with no option but to grant the Petitioner's request for the cancellation of all contracts entered into by the two parties.
The Judgment indicated that notwithstanding, the petitioner-owner is entitled to the difference in value between the agreed cost and what was provided to the cost of remedying the defect, because there was substantial performance of the contracts.
According to the court document, after the County Administration was changed, the new County authorities and the UCS signed a Memorandum of Understanding on September 6, 2012
consolidating the two contracts, which should have been on July 26, 2013 as part of the Independence Day Celebration in the County.
The MOU put the combined cost of the projects to US$284,332.50, with the provision that both projects should have been completed on or before June 30, 2013.
In consideration of the said understanding and per request of the Contractor, an amount of US$130,000.00 was deposited into the Respondent's Ecobank account to enable it complete the project on time, and that if the said amount was exhausted, the Respondent would pre-finance the projects to completion.
On May 4, 2013, before the date set for the completion of the projects, the UCS requested for additional payment of US$30,000 to enable it hire more casual laborers and additional professional staff to speed up the projects and meet the June 30, 2013 deadline.
The court document maintained that in compliance with the UCS request, the parties on May 22, 2013, signed an Addendum to the MOU making the total amount received by the UCS to US$160,000.
The Addendum also said that Respondent's failure to complete the two projects on June 30, 2013, gives the Petitioners the right to cancel the contracts.
During the trial, the Petitioners produced two witnesses - Allen M. Gbowee, Superintendent of Gbarpolu County and Yassah Karmon-Fallah, Assistant County Superintendent for Development, while Respondent produced four witnesses - Jallah K. Mends-Cole, Operations Manager, Jerry Johnson, Site Manager, Joseph Blama, and Engineer for the Gbarma Project and another individual.