Corporate Law in Sierra Leone
49 Waterloo Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone
The Law Firm of Garber & Co was founded by the late Barrister Manilius R. O. Garber in 1972 and was known at that time as Ijesha Chambers. Manilius R.O. Garber was a renowned and experienced civil and human rights lawyer with a reputation for probity and excellence at the bar. He was Past President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association and Past President of the All Africa Bar Association. Upon his death in 1989, his son, Maurice R.O. Garber returned home from New York where he was practicing as an Attorney to continue his practice and re-named the chambers Garber & Co.
Our Partners are admitted to diverse jurisdictions in the United Kingdom, the United States and the Caribbean and are all licensed solicitors of the Law Society of England & Wales. Our practice areas comprise civil and commercial matters and the firm specializes in all aspects of international commercial law. Of primary importance is the provision of ethical, competent, timely, reliable and seasoned legal advice and assistance to all our Clients.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Project Finance, Telecoms & Infrastructure
Garber & Co has handled sophisticated project finance transactions including representing First Bank (UK) Ltd and Afreximbank in the $40 million dollar construction of the Cape Sierra Hilton Hotel. We reviewed and participated in all legal aspects of the project in collaboration with International Counsel and have embarked upon and been consulted on subsequent collateral refinancing transactions emanating from many of these projects. In the Telecoms industry, we have handled or been consulted and retained on litigation or regulatory matters on behalf of several telecommunications companies and represented the interest of prospective investors seeking various types of licensure from NATCOM, the telecommunications Regulator.
Garber & Co also represented Caterpillar USA in meeting its due diligence requirements for the supply of $18 million dollar worth of earth moving equipment to an independent contractor in Sierra Leone servicing the mining sector. We have a proven track record in handling large project finance and infrastructure transactions and conducting the required due diligence needed for the consummation of such transactions and infrastructure projects.
Energy & Extractive Industries
Garber & Co worked on the first private sector driven power purchase agreement between the National Power Authority and Income Electrix Ltd for the provision of 20 MW of power to the City of Freetown via a Public Private Partnership. The firm serves as an E.U. approved consultant to the Government of Sierra Leone in the Bumbuna II hydro dam construction and PPA project worth over $700 million dollars. We routinely provide legal advice and assistance to many companies involved in the power sector.
We provide legal advice to international mining companies wishing to acquire mining concessions in Sierra Leone. This includes incorporation of the local subsidiary, negotiations with the Government for the concession and a review of concession agreements, mining agreement and other related contracts.
Litigation, Arbitration & ADR
Our firm is involved in litigation before all Courts in Sierra Leone including pursuing claims before international courts such as the Ecowas Community Court. We assist our clients with the filing of complicated class action law suits, instituting or defending claims on behalf of multinational companies, collections, employment disputes and conducting settlement negotiations on behalf of our clients where appropriate.
We have appeared for plaintiffs and defendants before the Fast Track Commercial Courts and have attended numerous international conferences in London and abroad on Arbitration, Investment Treaty Arbitration & Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mr. Garber is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration, United Kingdom.
Real Estate, Banking & Intellectual Property
Garber & Co are experienced real estate practitioners dealing with the sale and lease of properties and overseeing commercial property developments and served as real estate solicitors to the US Embassy in Sierra Leone. We also represent several banks in handling their banking transactions, the drafting of mortgages, debentures and other finance instruments and routinely handle collection work on behalf of several banks in Sierra Leone. We advise on and register trademarks and patents and represent one of the largest manufacturing companies in Sierra Leone on all their intellectual property issues.
Corporate, Aviation & Maritime Law
The law firm specializes in company law and commercial matters and routinely provides advice to companies on internal corporate matters, efficacy of board resolutions, directors and shareholders powers and the registration of appropriate documents at the Registrar General’s Office. In the Aviation Industry, we act as Solicitors for Arik Airlines and are quite familiar with international and local aviation laws and practices. We have in the past represented carriers, ship owners and other parties in the maritime industry in conducting searches, advising on vessel seizures and bringing legal action concerning the carriage of goods.
Employment, Government Liaison & Consultancies –
Garber & Co acts as City Solicitors by representing the Freetown City Council, the largest municipal government with the largest number of employees outside of Central Government in all its employment and HR matters. We also represent International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO’s) and other international firms such as the Sierra Leone Brewery, a subsidiary of Heineken International on employment related issues facing these companies.
We efficiently represent our Clients in their relations with the Government on issues pertaining to securing permits, waivers or concessions from the Government. We are routinely consulted on the status of statutes, legal reform and legislative challenges by GOSL and other clients. Our Senior Partner, Mr. Garber is from time to time invited on a short term basis to the African Development Bank as a Legal Consultant where he advises on HR, employment issues, contracts, finance and loan documents, pleadings and litigation before the Administrative Tribunal of the African Development Bank.
FORMER AND EXISTING CLIENTS
- Guaranty Trust Bank (SL) Ltd
- Access Bank (SL) Ltd
- Union Trust Bank (SL) Ltd
- Zenith Bank (SL) Ltd
- International Insurance Company
- Sierra Leone Brewery Ltd
- Freetown City Council
- Catholic Relief Services
- BCMI (SL) Ltd
- Arik Airlines
- Intergroup Telecom Ltd
- Comium (SL) Ltd
- Green Net (SL) Ltd
- Government of Sierra Leone
- Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd
- African Development Bank
- International Finance Corporation
- FBN (UK) Ltd
- ChinaExim Bank
- United States Government
- United States Embassy in Freetown
- China Hainan Rubber Company
- World Bank
- Crown Agents
- Lap GreenN
- Metallon SA Ltd
- Standard Charted Bank, UK.
- Islamic Development Bank
- Emzor Pharmacy (Nig.) Ltd
International Corresponding Firms:
- Clyde & Co.
- Hogan Lovells
- Herbert Smith & Freehills
- Kennedy’s LLC
Barrister Maurice Garber
Maurice Garber is the Senior Partner and Founder of the law firm of Garber & Co. He qualified as an English Barrister in 1986, relocated to the United States and was admitted as an Attorney of the State of New York, USA in 1988 and a Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of Sierra Leone in 1989. He was also admitted to the Bar of the Judicature of Jamaica, West Indies in 1992. Having practiced as a New York Attorney for over a decade, Mr. Garber returned home in 2003/ 2004 to revive his father’s law practice and he established the Law firm of Garber & Co, formerly known as Ijesha Chambers.
While in the United States, Mr. Garber served as Managing Partner in the New York based firm of Stevens, Hinds & White, P.C. comprising 9 lawyers and 3 support staff where he presided over the firm’s civil litigation and commercial transactions department encompassing corporate and international business matters, estate & probate law, taxation, banking, immigration, civil rights, civil litigation and intellectual property law.
Between the period of 2007 to 2019, Mr. Garber intermittently served as a short–term Legal Consultant to the African Development Bank where he conducted a review of treaties, charters, agreements, grant documents, loans, special funds and service contracts, and provided advice to the Bank, Board of Governors and Directors on legal issues affecting the immunity, rights, obligations & privileges of the Bank; employment & human resource issues; grants, capital markets & swap transactions; and trust funds, cooperation agreements & financial instruments. He was also responsible for advising on administrative regulations, grievances and employment disputes, the drafting of pleadings and representing the Bank before the Staff Appeals Committee and the Administrative Tribunal of the African Development Bank.
With over 30 years’ experience at the Sierra Leone bar, Mr. Garber serves as City Solicitor to the Freetown City Council and is the retained lawyer for numerous international clients including Heineken International, INGO’s, and other national companies and entities. He has acted as the Project Finance Solicitor to the World Bank, IFC, DIFID, Afreximbank, Islamic Development Bank, FBN Bank UK, Standard Chartered Bank and the Ecowas Bank for Industrial Development (EBID). Mr. Garber has over 12 years’ expertise in the power sector having served as a Solicitor on the Bumbuna II Hydro project, Aksa Energy HFO project, in addition to acting as Legal Counsel to Income Electrix Ltd, Nations Solar, US Diversified Power and many other companies in the power and renewable energy sector.
Apart from transactional matters, Mr. Garber is a seasoned litigator and has brought or defended cases on behalf of the U.S. Government, Crown Agents, DIFID and numerous other international and national companies / individuals. Mr. Garber has initiated large class action lawsuits against Sierra Leone mining companies, and the Sierra Leone government including maintaining a civil rights action before the Ecowas Court of Human Rights in Abuja, Nigeria.
Mr. Garber holds a Masters degree in International Trade, Marine Insurance and Maritime Law from the University of London. He is frequently called upon by large international firms to provide legal opinions on complex matters involving Sierra Leonean law. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration, United Kingdom and he has participated and is a guest speaker at numerous conferences and seminars sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Arbitration, UK (CIArb), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), African Arbitration Association (AfAA) and ICAMA in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the author of various legal articles and papers.Show more +