Sannoh & Partners, PC

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  • Corporate law, Commercial Law, Maritime Law, and International Business Transactions including negotiations and advisory services.
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About this firm

INTRODUCTION

General Statement:

• Sannoh & Partners, PC, (hereinafter the “Firm’) is a full service Corporate and Commercial law Firm that brings a depth of experience, technical capability and creativity to the practice of law in Liberia.

Our Vision

• To use law as an instrument of social change in Liberia through services in furtherance of economic development, justice, security, and rule of law and to be recognized in this process as a leader for professional excellence, consistency and dependability, and a trusted partner responsive to the needs of our clients.

Our Core Values

• Professionalism, discipline, hard work, sacrifice, and respect for diversity

II. HISTORY

1. Sannoh & Partners has its genesis in Sannoh & Associates Law Firm which was founded by Counsellor Benedict F. Sannoh in 1987 in response to the demand to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of business entities including in particular domestic resident and nonresident corporations, and foreign investors. Sannoh & Associates then represented a number of major business and government entities including the Meridian BIAO Bank, Meridien Properties, Madison Insurance, West African Construction Company, and the Monrovia City Corporation, among others. Operations of Sannoh & Associates were temporarily halted in 2002 when it’s Founder left Liberia as a result of the civil conflict and took up appointment with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland.

2. Sannoh & Associates was reactivated in July 2012, and on September 15, 2016, the Articles of Incorporation were amended to rebrand it as Sannoh & Partners, PC with the view to expand its services and induce commitment and sense of ownership on the part of the lawyers through a plan for mobility from associates to partners over time. Notwithstanding, our philosophy remains the same; to provide excellent, professional, consistent, dependable and timely service to our clients that will enable them to achieve their business goals while minimizing legal risks.

3. The Firm is relatively new. This is an asset in that the Firm will devote considerable time and focus to its new clients, and is not encumbered by any potential conflict of interest with existing clients.

III. MANAGEMENT

The Firm is headed by a Senior Managing Counsel and assisted by a Deputy Managing Counsel responsible for professional services. The current Senior Managing Counsel is Counsellor Benedict F. Sannoh, while Counsellor Augustine Nwabudike serves as Deputy Managing Counsel.

IV. EXPERIENCE

Senior Managing Counsel

1.The Managing Director of the Firm, Counsellor Benedict F. Sannoh is a member of the Bar of the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia in good standing with over 31 years of solid legal experience at both local and international levels. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, where he teaches two courses: Contract Law and Commercial law.

2. Cllr. Sannoh was Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Republic of Liberia from 2014 until April 2016, when he resigned to return to private practice. Immediately prior to becoming Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Cllr. Sannoh served as Deputy Minister of Justice for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Justice for over two years.

3. In his capacity as Deputy Minister of Justice for Economic Affairs and subsequently as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Cllr. Sannoh at diverse times, provided legal advice, drafted, reviewed and participated in the negotiations relating to a number of concession agreements including mineral development Agreements (MDAs) in the Iron Ore, Gold, Energy, Infrastructure and Agricultural sectors, including among others:

Iron Ore Sector

• Western Cluster MDA (Vedanta )

• Amendment of the AcelarMittal MDA

• West African Exploration/Nimba Iron Ore Project for the development of infrastructure and transshipment of Iron ore from Guinea to Liberia

Gold

• The Aureaus MDA

• Hummingbird Resources MDA

Energy Sector

As a member of the Board of Directors of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) from July 2012 – 2016 and Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2013-2015, Cllr. Sannoh provided legal advice, drafted, reviewed and participated in the negotiations for a number of energy contracts and memorandum of understanding including:

• The US$387 Million grant to the GoL under the Millennium Compact (MCC) for support to the Mount Coffee Hydro Rehabilitation Project.

• Jindal Coal Project

• Treaty for the establishment of the West African Power Pool involving Ivory Coast, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

• Memorandum of Understanding for the ECOWAS Oil Refinery for the construction of 1000 Barrel Per day Refinery in Grand Bassa County, Liberia

• Negotiations with the International Partners including the World Bank, the Government of Norway, Germany, European Bank for the Mount Coffee Project, time lines and financial implications following the Ebola outbreak

• Led the review of the Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) Management contract by the LEC Board in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy.

• Several construction contracts under the Mount Coffee Hydro Rehabilitation Project in close collaboration with the Project Implementation Unit (PIU)

Infrastructure:

• Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement between Bollore and the National Port Authority (NPA) for the development of the Port of Buchanan.

• The China Exim Bank Loan to the GOL for the Robertsfield Airport, and the China Harbor Engineering contract for the construction work on the Airport.

• Grant Agreement between the Government of Japan and the GoL for the Freeport Red Light /Somali Drive expansion Project

• Several road construction contracts executed between the GoL through the Ministry of Public Works and various companies.

Agriculture

• Liberia Cocoa Corporation (LCC)

• Nimba Rubber Corporation

• Various Logging Companies

• Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the European Union and the GoL relating to the management of the Liberia Forestry sector.

Others

• Extension of the LISCR Concession Agreement with the GoL for the Liberia Maritime and Corporate Program.

• Cllr. Sannoh Served as lead counsel in a number government related commercial litigations including (i) Foreign Arbitration proceedings between Simon Rosenblum v. The Republic of Liberia; (ii) Diamond Fields International v. Government of Liberia; (iii) Government of Liberia v. COCOPA Plantations, (iv) Government of Liberia v E.J. Roye Building; and the DUCOR Hotel, among others.

• Also served as a member of Inter Ministerial Concession Committee (IMCC) the highest decision making body for the negotiations of Concession Agreements, and participated in almost all concession related negotiations and discussions in Liberia from 2012 – 2016. He has in-depth understanding of the Concession granting process and enjoys cordial relationship with all the stakeholders involved in the concession granting process including the Ministries of Finance, Lands Mines and Energy, Justice, State, the National Investment Commission as well as parastatals including the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC).

• Cllr. Sannoh has an appreciable understanding of the legislative process and has cordial relationship with the chairs and members of relevant committees at both the House and the Senate of the Honorable Legislature, a relationship that is an asset to facilitating Legislative action or review thereof.

4. At the international level, Cllr. Sannoh worked with the United Nations in diverse legal capacities for nine (9) years including Human Rights Officer in Geneva, (Switzerland), Chief Human Rights Officer in Freetown (Sierra Leone), Director of Human Rights and Rule of Law, in Khartoum (Sudan), and Director of Human Rights and Transitional Justice in Juba (South Sudan) between 2003 -2012.

5. Cllr. Sannoh holds a Masters degree in Law (’86 LL.M) from Columbia Law School, Columbia University in the City of New York, USA with major in Commercial law and International Business Transactions, and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia.

6. From 1988 to 2002, Cllr. Sannoh also served as Assistant Professor of Law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law from where, at diverse times, he taught courses in Corporations, Contracts, Commercial law, and legal research and writing. Cllr. Sannoh returned to the Laws School in 2016.

Senior Counsel

7. Counsellor Augustine Nwabudike, is Senior Counsel of the Firm and a Counsellor-At-Law of the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia in good standing with over 12 years of excellent practice of law. Prior to joining the Firm, he served as legal and policy officer for the United Nations Office in Liberia (UNMIL). He was part of the legal team that reviewed all the concession agreements and contracts entered into by the Government and advanced recommendations which led to the renegotiations of several concession agreements.

8. Prior to joining the UN, he worked with the Findley Law, where as senior counsel, he represented several large corporate entities in Liberia including the Africa Shipping Lines and Consolidated trading company, Cigna World Wide insurance corporation, Razouk Brothers Corporation, and Abi Jaoudi Corporation.

9. Counsellor Augustine Nwabudike holds two Masters of Laws degrees (LL.M), one from Loyola University, Chicago and the other from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Boston. He also holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia.

V. STAFF

The Firm is staffed by a team of five lawyers including two (2) Counsellors and two (2) Attorneys (all of whom are graduates from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia and members of the Liberia National Bar Association in good standing). The Firm also one Law Student from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law (serving as a paralegal). Sannoh & Partners also draws upon additional expertise from its external consultants in engineering, accountancy, security, and environmental law among others.

VI. AREAS OF PRACTICE

1. The Firm is engaged in the general practice of law, including in particular Corporate Law, Commercial law, and International Business Transactions:

Corporate Law

• Corporate, partnership or other entity formation, organization, management.

• Corporate transactions, including acquisitions, mergers, and dissolutions.

• Security transactions, including guarantees, mortgages, pledges and other securities including their registration and perfection.

Commercial /International Business Transactions

• Purchase and sales agreements.

• Contracts generally, including procurement and infrastructure

• Concession agreements: advise, drafting, review and negotiations.

• Energy contracts: advise, drafting, review and negotiations.

• Public Private Partnerships(PPP) Agreements: advise, drafting, review and negotiations.

• Grant and Loan Agreements.

• Lobbying and facilitation.

Banking and Finance

• Banking transactions generally

• Debt collections

• Mortgages, Pledges and Securities

Patents, Trade Mark and intellectual Property

• Conduct trademark, patents and intellectual property due diligence,

• Prepare, and file applications for registration of trademark, patents and intellectual property.

• Protect trademarks, patents and intellectual property including through litigation as appropriate.

Litigation

• We engage in litigation before all Liberian Courts and administrative forums.

• We provide expert witness services and support to lawyers in foreign jurisdictions on Liberia law and procedure.

VII. CURRENT ACTIVITIES RELATING TO CONCESSION AGREEMENTS

Sannoh & Partners, as lead Counsel for the Tidfore investment (Hong Kong) Company Limited negotiated and concluded an Investment Incentive Agreement between the Government of Liberia, Tidfore investment (Hong Kong) Company Limited and Liberia Steel & Cement Mining Company (LICEMCO) Limited for the establishment of a Two Hundred Million United States Dollars (US$200,000,000) Steel & Cement Plant in Liberia.

Sannoh & Partners, serves as lead Counsel for Zali Mining SA, a Guinea based Company for the negotiation of a Infrastructure Development Agreement with the Government of Liberia for the transshipment of Iron Ore from Guinea through the Port of Buchanan in Liberia for export.

VIII. OTHERS

Sannoh & Partners, PC are retained Counsels for the following , Corporations, Agencies of the Government of Liberia, among others:

o Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC)

o National Oil Company (NOCAL)

o National Lotteries of Liberia(NIL)

o John F. Kennedy Medical Center(JFKMC)

o MANEX Liberia Limited

o KNZ Corporation Liberia Limited

o No Lemon, and

o MOMCO,

o Several cases ending in the Courts of Liberia.

VIII. FACILITIES

The Firm is conveniently located in downtown, Monrovia with excellent facilities including the following:

• Completely fenced premises with private parking facilities for clients

• Twenty Four hour security

• Fully equipped office reserved for visiting foreign Attorneys;

• Wi-Fi and internet capability

• Conference Room

• Full Service Law Library stocked with all the Liberia Law Reports covering opinions of the Supreme Court of Liberia up to 2016; Full set of the Liberia Code of Laws (revised) and copies of all statutory enactments up 2016; Copies of concession agreements entered into by the Government of Liberia up to 2016; and a Complete set of common law reference materials including AM JURS, AMJURS Legal Forms, AMJURS Proof of Facts, and AM JURS Pleadings.

IX. APPROACH TO LEGAL SERVICES

The Firm’s approach is to work closely and proactively with our clients with the view to ensuring that their activities are consistent with the laws of Liberia, international treaties to which Liberia is a party and with best practices in a way that will enable them to achieve their business goals and objectives fully with minimum legal risks.

X. CONFLICT OF INTEREST

During the course of any representation, the Firm will avoid any circumstance in which one client would consider our representation of another client as actually or potentially adverse to his interest.

Areas of Practice (5)

Specific Practice Area and Industry Group Details across multiple offices:

  • Corporate Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Maritime Law
  • International Business Transactions
  • Negotiations and Advisory Services

People (1)

Commercial Law, Corporate Law, Maritime Law, International Business Transactions, Negotiations and Advisory Services

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