In addition to the fifty million US Dollars plus interest regarding the arbitration awards that must be paid to the Ashcroft Alliance companies by the Government of Belize following the ruling by the Unites States Supreme Court, tonight GOB is also battling with yet another lawsuit… this time against former owner of the now defunct International Telecommunications Limited (Intelco), Glenn D. Godfrey.
Godfrey is suing the government a sum of $22 million US Dollars regarding a Master Lease Agreement which was signed back in 2002 between Godfrey, as the Chairman of Intelco and the then Minister of Budget Management, Ralph Fonseca, under the Musa Administration. The lawsuit came about as a result of failure to pay rent or to return telecommunications equipment which was allegedly leased to the Government.
While GDG was prepared to settle the matter in the US District Court in the year 2013, the government filed a motion in an effort to dismiss the complaint based on a number of objections including one… that Florida was an inconvenient setting to host the court hearing due to the fact that the witnesses were located in Belize and two, they questioned the validity of the agreement itself as they claimed that it was signed by a Minister who did not possess constitutional authority in order to make such agreements on behalf of GOB. Following these objections, the court then ruled in GOB’s favor dismissing the case.
But it didn’t end there as Godfrey proceeded to appeal the case at the US Court of Appeal in the Eleventh Circuit the following year in 2014 and became successful. The US Court of Appeal overruled the lower court’s decision which had previously indicated that the US was not an adequate venue for litigation.
According to court documents, the Musa Administration had made payments in the sum of over thirteen million dollars for rental of the equipment which was then extended, however after losing the elections, the Barrow Administration ceased all payments under the agreement claiming that they were defective. We understand that GOB had made a petition last week to the Court of Appeal with the intention of dismissing the case.