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Apr 2, 2013

Lawsuit against G.O.B. quashed in US Court

There is another piece of good news for the government since a ten million US dollar lawsuit against them, by businessman Glenn Godfrey, for an alleged breach of contract was dismissed earlier today by a U.S court for the Southern District of Florida.  The case was brought by GDG Acquisitions, a company related to the now defunct International Telecommunications Limited, more popularly known as INTELCO, for failure to pay rent or return telecommunications equipment that the Government allegedly leased in 2002-2003.  In 2002, a Master Lease Agreement was reportedly signed between GDG and the former Minister of Budget Management Ralph Fonseca through which it acquired all rights from INTELCO.  That deal would later turn sour as INTELCO inevitably went under.  In the wake of its failure, Godfrey sought redress in a Florida court.  G.O.B., in its response, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint since, among other reasons; the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida was not an appropriate platform for hearing the matter.  Government, through U.S. law firm Dorsey and Whitney, also challenged the validity of the Master Lease Agreement on the premise that the then minister lacked the legal authority to enter into telecommunications agreements on its behalf.  It was subsequently argued that the claim should be rejected under the principle of mutual respect among both countries since it would involve the interpretation of the Belize constitution and matters pertinent to our judiciary.  The US District Court, in its decision, upheld G.O.B.’s objections, stating that it was a case in which the interests of Belize exceeded, by far, those of the United States.  The court has ruled that Belize provides a suitable forum for this matter to be heard should Godfrey reinstate his claim.

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