Godfrey Smith makes Luke Espat pay in Court Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00

Said Musa and Luke EspatThe Supreme Court has ordered Luke Espat to pay the Belize Bank 29.1 million dollars after the bank initiated legal proceedings against him on July 22nd and it concluded on 18th October. The claim comes after Luke Espat signed guarantees on August 20th, 2008 for three of his companies. These amounted to ,540,988.32 for Belize Crocodiles and Reptile Breeders which was a loan that bore interest of 12% per annum from August 2008 to February 2013. The next guarantee was for ,696,291.32 for Belize Ready Mix also signed on August 20th, 2008 and bearing 17% interest per annum from August 2008 to February 2013. The third loan guarantee was for ,028,347.21 at 17% interest per annum from August 2008 to February 2013.

Representing Luke Espat was Said Musa while Godfrey Smith represented Belize Bank. In his judgment, Justice Courtney Abel cited that “The Claimant’s case is a model of clarity...” while he noted that in following the defendant’s case, “indeed every time I attempted to follow the events being described by the defendant in his pleadings , and his affidavit, I felt that I was being drawn into an impenetrable labyrinth of circumstances, involving actors and companies which/who are not joined in these proceedings, transactions which are collateral to the Guarantees pleaded, and generally matters which can never be pursued in the present proceedings, as they are clearly collateral or tangential to pleaded issues in the case.”

The judge noted that Luke Espat’s position was that he was induced to sign guarantees by misrepresentation of the claimant. He contended that the guarantees he signed were a mere formality that did not expose him to personal liability. It was Luke’s belief that the documents signed were “mere paper formalities.” But Espat’s arguments went even further where he claimed that “general elections in Belize resulted in hostility to the side transactions and the Defendant” and “as a result of the Central Bank of Belize’s intervention it was necessary to perfect the documentation for the monies advanced in relation to the side transactions and that pressure was brought to bear on the Defendant to sign the Guarantees as “mere paper formalities” with an alleged representation by the Claimant that there would be no personal obligation on the Defendant in  relation thereto.”

After sifting through Said Musa’s presentation and Luke Espat’s Affidavits, justice Legal ruled that Luke Espat must pay.

It is quite a decision given the fact that in the good old days of the PUP administration Espat was quite chummy and contented with the Belize Bank which extended him financing to the tune of almost 200 million dollars. But what is now most interesting is that Espat has literally gone belly-up and there is no PUP administration to bail him out of this one and notably the man driving the dagger on him is none other than Godfrey Smith.

Under the past PUP administration, Luke Espat was a power broker with Said Musa being the Prime Minister while Godfrey Smith was at one point the Attorney General. Now, without the cloak of political power, all has been rendered bare and Luke must fend for himself, Said Musa has put up as much of a defense as he could have possibly mustered given the predicament and Godfrey Smith has come in as the undertaker. It’s really almost poetic Justice for them and really no body is crying a river for Luke.