LIBERIA: For ‘Sidelining Their Client’ – As MOTC Falsely Maintains Ducor Ownership,Company Lawyers Write Judges

As the legal battle between the Monrovia Oil Trading Company (MOTC) owned and operated by a Belgian national, Mr. Charles Carron, and the General Manager of the Ducor Petroleum Incorporated, Amos P.K. Brosius, a Liberian businessman legal case is been dragged for nearly three years at the Commercial Court, Lawyers representing the legal interest of the Liberian businessman, Mr. Brosius have written the Chief Judge and Associate Judges of the Commercial Court of Liberia, expressing their reservation on the ongoing case.

In their 4-page letter addressed to the Court on November 4, 2015, the legal team of Mr. Brosius, including Wellington G. Bedell, Sr., Tiawan S. Gongloe, Scheaplor R. Dunbar and Momolu G. Kandakai, informed the Court of the receipt of communication from that body informing PKF-Liberia, the auditing firm commissioned by the Court to audit the contentions of MOTC and Amos Brosius over trade relationship in Ducor Petroleum Incorporated.

In their communication to the Court, the legal team of Mr. Brosius detailed some facts relating to the ongoing case, noting that, “A pre-payment of an additional amount of US$73,000.00 in addition to the previous amount of US$35,000.00 pre-paid to it, for the audit of parties to the petition for accounting file for MOTC, a foreign owned petroleum importing corporation, and hereby barred by the Liberianization policy governing the petroleum industry, from the local distribution of petroleum products, the purported majority shareholder of Ducor Incorporated, a company established exclusively for the distribution of petroleum products on the local market, as per the Liberianization policy and the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC),” the legal team of Mr. Brosius in the communication alarmed.

Stressing further, the team continued in their communication, “The Auditor, PKF-Liberia has now received a total sum of US$108,000.00 despite the fact that an engagement letter has not been signed between the PKF-Liberia and our Client, Amos P. K. Brosius. Also it is not clear in the communication sent to us by the court, as to whether these payments were made to the PKF-Liberia at the request of PKF-Liberia, or sua sponte by the Court,” the team noted in their communication to the Court.

The legal team in their communication to the Court also noted that as lawyers representing the legal interest of Mr. Brosius they are not aware of any reason that necessitated payments by the Court to the Auditor without an engagement letter signed by PKF, stressing, “It is a well-settled procedure in auditing that payment of money to an auditing firm must be preceded by an engagement letter, defining the scope of the audit, consistent with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or the International Standard of Auditing (ISA)”, count one of the communication concluded.

In count two of their communication, the legal team argued that under the GAAP/International Standard of Auditing (ISA), an engagement letter is a precondition to the commencement of any audit, noting, “An engagement letter is in the nature of a contract between an auditor and an auditee as it defines the scope of an audit and the terms and conditions under which it is to be undertaken; consequently, an engagement letter as a matter of priority is always, the first instrument that should be prepared and signed by the auditor and auditee or auditees prior to the conduct of any audit engagement to include, but not limited to the presentation of records or the disclosure of any information to the auditors by the auditee(s), and the stages at which payments should be made to the auditor,” the team points out their  reservation in the communication to the Commercial Court Judges.

In count three of the letter to the Court, the team also said, “Now according to your letter to us as lawyers representing the Respondent, you informed us that PKF-Liberia has been paid Sixty Percent of the Audit fee that it charged, without telling us the percentage of the audit that has been completed, if any, by the auditor or what percentage of the audit that still remains to be completed by the auditor,” the legal team of Mr. Brosius pondered in their communication to the Court.

Expressing some disappointments in the case (MOTC vs Amos Brosius), in count four of the communication, the lawyers said, “We are at a lost, if not surprise, as to why PKF-Liberia should be pre-paid the amounts hereinabove-stated by your honors, when in fact, we are not aware of the scope and nature of the audit work to be done and the time period for the audit. We hold the view that pre-payments of the money to the auditor gives the wrong impression that the parties have signed an engagement letter with the auditor, when the record shows that our client has, in fact and indeed not signed such letter with the auditor,” the lawyers in count four of their communication arguably wondered over such action by the Count.

The lawyers said it is “Usual for auditor or auditee to participate in discussion regarding the scope of the audit, its terms and conditions, as well as, the estimated period of time required for the audit to be completed. We are unaware of any compelling reason why a different method for proceeding with an audit is being adopted by Your Honors in concert with the auditor, in this case. Indeed, there appears to be an attempt by Your Honors to sideline our client, Amos P. K. Brosius, the Respondent in the petition for Accounting, from participation in decisions regarding the course of the audit, when in fact the object of the audit is to settle a dispute between the parties, and therefore, should be proceeded within a manner that is perceived by all parties to be transparent, fair and impartial,” the lawyers in count five of their communication to the court advised.

Liberians and foreign residents are pondering over the continual delay to render judgment in the case “MOTC vs Amos P. K. Brosius” on the ownership of Ducor Petroleum Incorporated after it was repeatedly and publicly announced by the Chief Executive Officer of MOTC, Mr. Charles Carron, and one of the Company’s lead lawyers in person of Cllr. Cyril Jones through opened court testified on September 19 and 5, 2013 respectively, that MOTC up to the date of this ongoing trial has made no capital investment in Ducor as it is being speculated in the Liberian media.

SEE MORE BELOW FOR THE LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE JUDGES:

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