- Seychelles Supreme Court has delivered a shock ruling granting for liquidation of Ailee Development Corporation Limited (ADC), the company owning Seychelles largest tourist resort, in favour of government which own minority shares of only 8 percent in the company.
Acting Chief Justice Ranjun Perera ruling which has set precedence in Seychelles justice system for minority shareholder call for liquidation, has shocked majority shareholders of the company, who have said that the court proceedings were bias.
ADC in which government is minority shareholder saw Seychellois government filing petition for wind up of the company which government alleged that its assets could not service its debt.
"The court is satisfied that at the time of presentation of the petition there was no reasonable hope that the company could pursue its main objective as a hotelier, not merely due to the license not being renewed by the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA) but mainly due to its inability to find partners or investors who would invest in confidence knowing the debt situation of the company," Justice Perera said in his ruling.
Following the verdict, representative for the majority shareholders of the company Mr. Bernard Georges said that they saw the 37-paged ruling blatantly showing bias on the part of Judge Perera in favour of Seychelles government.
The company claims that the bias had been evident from the beginning of the hearings after Justice Perera's contentious ruling, regarding the company's challenge in March 2007 with the appointment of Ernst & Young as provisional liquidator.
The counsel for the company had filed a motion requesting Justice Perera to recuse himself on grounds of bias, but he declined and proceeded to hear the case brought about by Seychelles government to seek authority to liquidate the company.
Mr Georges called into question the judge's impartiality on Friday, June 13, when Judge Perera refused to give counsel for ADC more time to prepare their closing submissions.
Mr. Georges informed the court that he would be bringing a motion before the Constitutional Court regarding the company's rights under Article 19, section 7 of the Constitution of Seychelles for being denied adequate time to prepare his defense.
Legal analysts have stated that the ruling delivered by Seychelles acting chief justice contained many inaccuracies of names and of evidence brought before the court. It was stated that of all the pages in the "evidence" section of the ruling, seven were balanced or relatively balanced and that 14 were negative or very negative to the respondent.
Also in this section, on page 16, there are several instances where the judge seems to be giving the court's own opinion, rather than reporting what was said by witnesses. Legal analysts felt that this was not an appropriate procedure and one that unfairly favoured Seychelles government's case.
ADC main shareholder Mr Mark Davison said that during closing submissions, Mr Bernard Georges, counsel for the company stated in court that significant sections of the court record of the proceedings of the case were missing.
Mr Davison said that even now after judgment had been delivered, sections were still missing and it served to re-enforce the point. Mr Davison said that this meant that the Judge Perera had made his ruling without having the full record of the case before him.
While government of Seychelles petitioned the Supreme Court as "shareholder", the judgement, which reflects the proceedings in court, strongly argues the role of government as a "sovereign entity" in support of the case of the petitioner.
ADC is preparing its appeal against the ruling at the same time as the liquidators have advertised for "tender" for interested parties for the purchase of the hotel property. The tender process is set to close on 24 July as the owners have asked for a stay of execution to stop the sale of the property.
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