Spire USA Inc Reneges on Le 2.63 Billion Owed To St. John Paul II

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Executive Director of the Order of St. John Paul II, Dr. Terry F. Rees

By Amin Kef Sesay

The Order of St. John Paul II (the Order), which is a world-wide canonical association of professional men and women that provides free technical expertise to Roman Catholic Dioceses has on Friday 23rd October, 2020 accused the Spire USA, Inc. which is the Project Manager and Developer that was implementing the ABCD Export City Project (the Project), for reneging to pay Le 2.63 Billion it owes the Order.

This disclosure was made during a virtual Press Conference convened by the Executive Director of the Order of St. John Paul II, Dr. Terry F. Rees.

Dr. Terry F. Rees disclosed that Spire USA, Inc., as Project Manager and developer of the ABCD Export City Project (the Project), has reneged to refund the sum that Spire USA owes the Order of St. John Paul II (the Order), adding that the purpose of the Press Conference is not an attempt been made to right the wrong, but rather an effort to alert the innocent public about what Spire USA, Inc. is and their intimate relationship with the ABCD Export City Project, based on business experiences with them during the past 10 months.

He disclosed that the Order has members living on five continents members stating how they refer to each other as “Builders” since they are using their broad expertise in Building the City of God.

Dr. Terry F. Rees pointed out that the Order has been working in the dioceses in Sierra Leone since 2017 and their projects have included renovation of existing schools, building new schools, infrastructure and security support for orphanages and convents, developing drinkable water supplies, and upgrading sanitation systems. He furthered that in the future they will continue to implement such projects and will be developing retirement complexes for aged clergy and religious leaders.

“In 2019, the Order heard of plans to develop towns having co-located agricultural, industrial, and residential properties within four locations in Sierra Leone.  You likely have seen the video of the launching ceremony for this Project that was widely distributed by the Press and on social media last year.  These plans call for the development of industrial and residential water supplies and construction of sewage-collection infrastructure,” he also revealed.

Dr. Terry F. Rees maintaining that these sub-projects match the infrastructure objectives of the Order, they contacted Spire USA, Inc, the Project Manager and Developer to see if there was a way for the Order to participate and that after months of discussion and negotiations, the Order signed an agreement with Spire USA, Inc. to provide specific services for the development of the four towns which are:  Moyamba Junction in Moyamba District, Mamamah in Port Loko District, , Tikonkor in  Bo District and Tissor in the Kenema District.

“After months of inaction, lack of communication, and numerous broken promises concerning when the Order’s work would begin, the Order started to have concerns about the legitimacy of Spire USA, Inc. and the ABCD Export City Project.  The Order began an investigation that uncovered the following: Spire USA, Inc., Project Manager and Developer for the ABCD Export City Project, forfeited its legal registration on January 11, 2020 and legally ceased to exist on that date and that they did not regain legal registration until June 15, 2020.

It was also unearthed that Spire USA, Inc. represented to its business partners, including the Order, that they had legal status during the period of forfeiture when, in fact, that they did not.

He highlighted that representing oneself as having legal status when one does not is a crime in the United States, where Spire USA, Inc. is domiciled.

Also learnt was that Spire USA, Inc. negotiated with and executed an agreement with the Order on March 22, 2020, during the period of forfeiture.

It was said that the abovementioned agreement had a clause that required the Order to deliver a cash performance guarantee (Le 1.86 Billion) to Spire USA, Inc. which the Order understood would be held in escrow until work detailed in Schedule A-1 of the agreement is completed.

Upon completion of the Schedule A-1 work, or upon cancellation of the agreement, Spire USA, Inc. was to immediately return the funds that should have been held in escrow.

The Order, at that time believing that Spire USA, Inc. was a legal business entity, provided Spire USA, Inc. the cash performance guarantee specified in the agreement.  Because Spire USA, Inc. did not legally exist on the date the agreement was executed, according to him, the performance guarantee requirement amounts to an unjust enrichment, which is illegal in the United States.

However, instead of depositing the funds from the performance guarantee into an escrow account, Spire USA, Inc. apparently misappropriated the funds and used them to obtain instruments that were used to secure financing for the ABCD Export City Project.  “Misappropriation of funds is a crime in the United States,” Dr. Terry F. Rees further stated.

After being confronted with these legal, financial and ethical, improprieties, Spire USA, Inc. agreed to cancel the agreement with the Order on August 25, 2020.  The cancellation letter indicated that Spire USA, Inc. would forthwith return the performance guarantee.

Prior to the cancellation, the Order, believing the agreement was valid and acting in good faith, conducted preliminary work under the terms of the agreement.  This work has been invoiced (Le 0.77 Billion) to Spire USA, Inc. for payment, as per the terms of the agreement.

In a letter dated September 20, 2020, Spire USA, Inc. told the Order, in essence, that they were having cash-flow problems, and that they do not have the liquidity to immediately return the money that they acknowledged they owe the Order.   They also told the Order that they were not going to pay for work conducted between March 22, 2020 (agreement execution) and August 25, 2020 (agreement cancellation).

The Order is yet to receive its refundable performance guarantee that has become a challenge for Spire USA, Inc. to refund.  Nor has the Order been paid for the work conducted prior to cancellation of the agreement, Dr. Terry F. Rees disclosed.

He further revealed that the separate issue of unethical and possible illegal conduct by Spire USA, Inc. was exhibited in a WhatsApp posting dated August 13, 2020.

Spire USA, Inc. stated, in reference to the Project, that, “nothing moves unless money is paid over and under the table …” This language, on its face, seems to be an admission that bribes have been paid, or that bribes are expected to be paid, to make things move on the Project, adding that making or accepting bribes is illegal in the United States, where Spire USA, Inc. is domiciled.

He pointed out that the Order cannot, even indirectly, be a party to such corrupt practice by its partners on any of its undertakings.

“The Order believes that our good name has been used to advance the legitimacy of the ABCD Export City Project and we know that our funds were used to secure financing for the Project without our permission.  The Order wants to make clear that we neither condone nor participate in the dodgy ethical, financial and legal practices being used to conduct business by Spire USA, Inc. and the ABCD Export City Project,” he strongly stated.

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