Government of Sierra Leone v Edward Ormus Sharrington Davenport & Ors (2001)


A freezing order concerning a defendant allegedly involved in a property deal disadvantageous to the Sierra Leone government was continued.


The claimants ('GSL') applied for the continuation of a freezing order that it had obtained against the first defendant, 'D' from Rimer J on 27 March 2001. D applied to discharge the order. The dispute arose over two sets of premises in London of which GSL was the tenant and that required refurbishment. D and his companies purported to take over the lease, on allegedly disadvantageous terms, in return for refurbishing the buildings. The negotiations were conducted with the then Sierra Leone High Commissioner in London (the fourth defendant). D had failed to comply with an earlier ex parte freezing order of Lightman J requiring him to provide various items of information and was in contempt. The issues were whether: (i) there was a good arguable case; and (ii) there was a real risk of dissipation or secretion of assets so as to render any judgment which GSL might obtain nugatory.


(1) On the evidence there was a good arguable case. (2) There was a real risk of dissipation. D's refusal to provide the information required by the orders of Lightman J and Rimer J would of itself be of considerable assistance to GSL to help it to establish the risk. Further the undertakings proffered by D on behalf of his companies might be in conflict with an order of the Guernsey court not to interfere with the orderly administration of two of those companies. Most of D's assets were held in off-shore companies and other entities, the control over which was not clearly explained.

Injunction continued.