The continuous absence of lawyers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOF) at the Commercial Court for the hearing of their case yesterday was enough for Judge Chan-chan A. Paegar to charge the Ministry for disrespecting the court.Judge Paegar took the decision immediately after lawyers for Semah Group of Companies, seeking over US$4.8 million in damages from Winrock International and USAID, both US-based entities, for breach of contract, asked him to do so.The Ministry was mandated by Judge Paegar on numerous occasions to ensure that the two US institutions appear before the court to answer to Semah’s allegation, but their lawyers have failed to comply with the court’s order.Taking the action yesterday, Judge Paegar granted Semah’s legal team’s request to hold them in contempt for continuous non-appearance.Judge Paegar further warned that the Ministry should appear before him today to show reason why they should not be held in contempt for their failure to attend his scheduled hearing, although they received and signed notices asking them to do so.The Commercial Court judge did not mention any punishment for disrespecting the court’s order; instead, he instructed his clerk to again communicate with the Ministry so that they can attend their contempt hearing, which he scheduled for today.The case emerged after Semah Group of Companies filed a lawsuit against Winrock International and USAID at the Commercial Court for breach of contract.In its lawsuit, Semah is seeking US$4.5 million in general damages “for psychological effect and disparagement” and an additional US$379K in specific damages and “total contract price.”In the lawsuit, Semah Group stated that it entered into a contractual agreement with the respondent on May 1, 2014, for the construction of a biomass electricity pilot project.Semah further indicated that the initial contract was valued at US$296,535.56 on July 18, 2014, noting that seven modifications to the original contract were initiated and effected with an additional cost of US$82.5K, thus increasing the contract value to US$379,043.37.The document further contended that the duration of the initial contract was from May 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014, but that due to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, including quarantines and closure of borders on September 29, 2014, the said contract was extended to October 14, 2014.Semah said to their surprise, the defendants breached the contractual agreement by advertising the same contract for the construction of the Kwendin Biomass Project in violation of the contractual agreement between them.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) has cautioned the public to beware of persons or organisations intending to execute scams through social media, with the operation of extorting money. On Monday the Corporation stated that the act is being carried out by unknown persons and clearly indicated that they do not have any promotions via Whatsapp, Gmail, Facebook or other social media platforms.The public was requested not to make any payment of fees or other transactions through these mediums since no one has been authorised to collect monies on their behalf for any competition or promotion.The GPOC said that it will take legal action against persons found culpable of this offence. Persons with any information of suspicious actions are asked to contact GPOC through its telephone numbers or email at email@example.com. Their Facebook Page, Guyana Post Office Corporation, is also active.In recent time, several public agencies have reported scams which have defrauded the public. Just over two weeks ago, Central Housing and Planning Authority sent out a stern warning about a fake Facebook profile under the name of President David Granger, which had been extorting monies from persons in exchange for land.According to the Authority, the sham was set up through a profile named His Excellency President David Granger and has been informing persons that the Ministry of the Presidency is distributing housing units to interested persons. They were asked to make a down payment through the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company’s (GTT) Mobile Money system and the money disappears.The agency had clearly denied their involvement in any such programme under the Ministry of the Presidency or other organisations. Furthermore, legitimate programmes do not require payments through Money Mobile transfers.These operations are carried out primarily on social media, where vulnerable persons fall prey. In June the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) reported a hike in scamming reports from customers in the Mobile Money Department. According to GTT, as a result of the increasing reports of scams, it has taken several measures to encourage customers to stay alert of fraudsters.