A United States based company has filed a suit at a District Court in Columbia against the government of Ghana and some leading government officials for over $105m for allegedly meddling in the company’s business relationship.
They also want another $300 million as punitive damages from the defendants.
According to the plaintiff, TJGEM, Llc. (TJGEM), a limited liability company based in the state of Missouri, the Ghana government is ‘being sued vicariously based on Tortious conduct of its public officials committed in the course and scope of their duties as public officials of the Republic of Ghana.’
The suit, filed on March 22, 2013, cites the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) which it says ‘is a political subdivision of the Republic of Ghana; it is being sued vicariously based on Tortious conduct of one of its public officials in the course and scope of his duties as the Mayor of the Accra Metropolitan District of the Republic of Ghana.’
Apart from the government and the AMA, the immediate past Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor as well as Alfred O. Vanderpuije, the Metropolitan Chief Executive also known as Mayor of Accra are also being sued in their individual capacities for Tortious conduct.
Similarly, Conti Construction Co, Inc., a general business corporation that is incorporated and has its principal place of business in the state of New Jersey, at 2045 Lincoln Highway, Edison, NJ 08817 and is also known as or does business as The Conti Group are also ‘being sued vicariously based on Tortious conduct of its agents committed in the course and scope of their duties or employment with Conti.’
According to the plaintiff, they are complaining also on behalf of ‘other directly or proximately injured parties, which injury or damage arises from defendants’ Tortious actions.’
They mentioned the indirect plaintiffs in accordance with the provisions of FRCP Rule 71 as: Members and principals of TJGEM, Llc including Dr. Gideon Adjetey, Dr. Mark Adjetey, Jonathan Adjetey, Anthony L. Weaver and Atty. Elbert A. Walton, Jr.,
The rest are Kwame Construction, a Missouri general business corporation with its principal place of business in the city of St. Louis, MO, several architectural, engineering and construction firms situated within the city of St Louis, Missouri with whom TJGEM representatives consulted in order to produce the work product that is the subject of this lawsuit and who were deprived of their economic expectancy upon the defendants misappropriation of TJGEM’s valuable proprietary work product, business plan and sewer redevelopment model.
According to the plaintiffs, the unnamed defendant is one Ebenezer Padi Adjirackor, the Minister/Commercial Officer at the Ghana Embassy, and a resident of Washington, DC and explains that ‘if he did not have diplomatic immunity, he would be sued in his individual capacity for Tortious conduct.’
The plaintiffs argue that the court has jurisdiction under 28 USC Sec. 1332 in that there is complete Diversity of Citizenship and that the amount in controversy well exceeds the sum of $75,000,000.
Furthermore, the plaintiff claims that it is a limited liability company organized in the State of Missouri with its principal place of business in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, and thus is a citizen of the State of Missouri, U.S.A.
It adds that the defendants include a foreign state, two of its political subdivisions, and citizens of said foreign state, who are residents thereof.
The plaintiffs alleged that Mr. Vanderpuije holds dual citizenship in the Republic of Ghana, where he is a resident of Accra, Ghana, and in the USA, he last resided in the State of South Carolina while Conti Construction Co, Inc. is incorporated in and has its principal place of business in the State of New Jersey.
According to the plaintiff, under 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a) (2) a foreign state and its political subdivisions are not immune from jurisdiction of the court.
They said their allegations ‘are vicariously against the Republic of Ghana, a sovereign nation situated on the west coast of Africa, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, a political subdivision of the Republic of Ghana, and directly against both the Metropolitan Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan District, and the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Ghana associated with commercial activity.’
‘Plaintiff’s claim is based upon Tortious conduct by said defendants’ foreign state, foreign state’s political subdivisions and officials of both said foreign state and said political subdivisions, (a) associated with commercial activity carried on or in the USA, (b) which was performed in the U.S. in connection with commercial activity outside the U.S, and (c) which was performed outside the U.S., in connection with commercial activity outside the U.S., and which caused a direct effect in the U.S.’
According to the plaintiff, there was ‘conspiratorial fraudulent misrepresentations to induce plaintiff and its personnel to expend time and funds both within the U.S. and within the Republic of Ghana to (a) produce valuable, confidential and privileged proprietary work product, business plans and redevelopment model for repairs and improvements to the sewer system in the city of Accra, Ghana.’
The plaintiff claim ‘it secured financing for said sewer project through the Export-Import Bank of the United States, malicious failure to deal with the plaintiff in good faith and fairly when defendants solicited plaintiff to produce said valuable proprietary work product to secure said financing, and to deliver said valuable proprietary work product, business plan and redevelopment model to the defendants.’
They said there was also ‘misappropriation of plaintiff’s valuable proprietary work product, business plan and redevelopment model to defendants’ economic benefit and the economic detriment of plaintiff.’
The ‘plaintiffs averred that as a direct and proximate cause of said misappropriation, tortious interference, RICO and HOBBS violations, fraud, conspiracy to defraud, extortion, wire fraud and mail fraud, and the Defendant Mayor’s pattern of racketeering activities and corrupt practices, in tacit agreement with all other defendants, all of said foreign defendants’ conspiratorial fraudulent misrepresentations and all of said defendant’s malicious misappropriation of Plaintiff’s valuable sewer project work product, business plan and model for redevelopment of infrastructure throughout Africa and the developing nations, the Plaintiffs have suffered great, permanent and irreparable financial harm, loss of economic opportunity and damages.’
‘Plaintiffs allege that the people and entities of the United States that Plaintiff has named, but are not joined as parties plaintiff herein, and on behalf of whom Plaintiff also complains, have also been personally and financially damaged by defendant Mayor’s racketeering and corrupt practices, and all of the defendants’ fraud, conspiracy to defraud, is appropriation of valuable proprietary work product, business plan and sewer redevelopment model, and misrepresentations.’
‘Plaintiff seeks relief from continuing racketeering and extortion activities, the prohibited acts of FCPA, RICO and Hobbs, under intervention provided in 28 USC 1367, that the court can give.’
The plaintiff also prayed for Compensatory Relief in the form of $105,808,750.00 for direct and proximately caused damages stemming from Defendants’ actions in misappropriating plaintiff’s work product.
Finally, plaintiff prays for such compensatory damages, plus interest, as may be verified and claimed by the persons and entities upon whose behalf Plaintiffs also complain by virtue of existing contractual agreements, in accordance with FRCP Rule 71 as well as punitive damages in the sum of $300,000,000.00 for defendants’ malicious, reckless, racketeering, corrupt practices and oppressive actions.’
They also want cost and reasonable attorneys’ fees and any further damages of whatever kind that the court may deem suitable, just or appropriate, to Plaintiffs, the Court, or any persons or entities upon whose behalf the Plaintiffs also complain.
The plaintiff also demands a jury trial on all jury trial issues.
By William Yaw Owusu