The State is liable to pay around Vt400 million (US $3.9 million) to International Green Structures LLC for breach of contract.
The Claimant in the case is International Green Structures LLC and the First Defendant is the National Housing Corporation, the Second Defendant Republic of Vanuatu and Third Defendant is Mr John Terry.
In the brief judgment, Justice Gus Andrée Wiltens, says while the full reasons were not in the written judgment, the State Law Office legal counsel that represents the First and Second Defendants can request in writing for a full written reasons for the decision to be supplied.
In the case, which alleges loss arising out of the breach of contract, the National Housing Corporation and the Republic of Vanuatu's defence in the claim by International Green Structures was that the contract was entered into by Third Defendant Mr John Terry without authority and approval.
While this was not in the brief judgment, according to Daily Post records John Terry was formerly the Chief Executive Officer or General Manager of the National Housing Corporation around 2014 and 2015.
Justice Wiltens stated in his decision that the first day of the trial was spent with the parties attempting to resolve the matter, but this was unsuccessful.
When giving the result the Judge stated: "At the conclusion of the evidence and submissions on the second day of trial, i did not need to reserve my decision, as the evidences only permitted the very obvious conclusions that follow.
"My decision was considerably assisted by my assessment of the veracity and accuracy of the only witness called for the Second Defendant (Republic of Vanuatu), John Salong.
"I did not accept him as a witness of the truth.
"In the result, i made the following orders:
"- Judgment is entered in favour of the International Green Structures LLC as against the Second Defendant in the sum of US $3,944,341.59;
"-Interest on that amount at 2% p.a (per annum) from 30 June 2016 until 19 November 2019;
"-Interest on the principal on the principal sum and the interest awarded at the usual Court rate of 5% p.a from 19 November 2019 until the amounts awarded have been in full;
"-The Claimant and the Third Defendant are entitled to indemnity costs as against the Second Defendant. The position adopted by the State as against the Claimant was indefensible. The involvement of the Third Defendant in this litigation as a scapegoat for the State's extremely poor behaviour was simply unconscionable," Justice Wiltens stated.
He ordered counsels to send their bills of costs to the counsel for the first and second defendants, represented by the State Law Office, and if they are not agreed within 14 days of submission, they are to be taxed but once settled, the costs are to be paid within 21 days.
There are reports that an appeal will be lodged, however the State Law was contacted on two different occasions to find out if an appeal will indeed be lodged but the lawyer involved was out of office and no response was received after a message was left.
While other details are not in the summerized judgment, according to Daily Post records, International Green Structures LLC became involved in building "cyclone resistant" houses in Vanuatu in 2015 after cyclone Pam, as a partner of GRD Corporations Limited from Korea, whose Chief Executive Officer was the proposed honorary consul to Seoul in South Korea at that time, James Kang.
While a search on Vanuatu Financial Services Commission's website did not find any listing for the company names mentioned here, according to its online information International Green Structures has offices in the United States of America and Nairobi, Kenya. It is reportedly involved in projects in Africa, South East Asia and South America. Some materials of the house it builds are made from a renewable material from wheat or rice where the straw is bought from farmers, heated and compressed to make it very durable.
Another partner from this project was reportedly from Thailand.
Together, just after cyclone Pam, they built model houses on custom land owned by Barak Sope on Ifira island and at Freshwota.
These houses were launched on Ifira in the presence of then Minister for Land, Ralph Regenvanu.
At that time there were plans for 300 red roof houses of its kind to be built on Ifira. But Daily Post understands this target never eventuated, allegedly due to costs.
On December 31, 2015 just less than a month before the general election in Vanuatu, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the chief of Mele Village, the National Housing Corporation under the leadership of the general manager and its partners, GRD and IGS (International Green Structures) to be involved in the relocation of the people of Mele after a study found that the village was located within a disaster zone.
The plan was for at least 1,800 homes in Mele to be relocated.
Daily Post understands this also never happened.
But a year before that on August 2014, a housing project to improve housing quality for the people of Vanuatu that promised "excellent strength to withstand against natural disasters such as typhoon", was launched in Port Vila.
This was a partnership of the Vanuatu National Housing Corporation and Korean company Free Design House (FDH) Co. Ltd and GRD (Global Real Estate Development Partners) Holdings Vanuatu Ltd. It is not clear if this was the same GRD involved in the 2015 project.
Two models for these houses built during what was supposed to be phase one of the project in 2014, were built at Freshwota and Mele village.
A total of 100 units of this model of house were supposed to be built at Freshwota area, but this also never happened.
There were concerns raised in 2014 on social media about the alleged high cost of Vt12 million for a ni-Vanuatu to own such a house, which was denied then by National Housing Corporation General Manager, Mr Terry.
GRD and Free Design House also signed a memorandum of understanding in August 2014 to build a complex for the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, which is understood to have not taken off.
The only signs of what was left of the housing project(s) in Port Vila are two houses at Freshwota Park reportedly built using IGS materials (on land managed by National Housing Corporation) that have now been turned into what may be a residence and daycare centre and one on a private property (built by FDH and GRD) that is alleged to belong to an individual close to the National Housing Corporation.
The National Housing Corporation is the government entity that looks after land in Freshwota 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, which was supposed to be a low cost housing project for ni-Vanuatu but has been highly politicised leading to it never reaching its potential in previous years leading up to 2014 and 2015 and even today.
Already expatriates, mainly Asians, are buying property in the low-cost housing area from ni-Vanuatu.