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Alberta company sued after former employee spends two months in hellish Congo jail

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He alleges the company worked behind the scenes, tapping high-level contacts with Congo’s leadership, to get him released and his passport returned. But O’Mhaoinigh alleges it left him still facing a criminal charge and fearful of more retribution from Nguesso allies. He says lawyers he retained were on the way to having him cleared completely but the company essentially short-circuited those efforts.

United Safety says it was the work of its own lawyers and nothing else that got its employees out of jail and that, in fact, all charges were dismissed. And the situation was exacerbated by O’Mhaoinigh’s own actions, charges Whittaker’s affidavit.

That includes his “aggressive and disrespectful behaviour” in the Congolese courts; attempt to bribe a police officer; refusal to co-operate with the company and its lawyer; political activism; and publication on the Internet of details of the case, which the judge deemed “an attack on his honour,” the affidavit says.

A letter from the company’s lawyer that O’Mhaoinigh received after his release, also filed in court, accuses him of conducting a “campaign of defamation and denigration” against United Safety and Congo’s judiciary, and said the firm reserved the right to take legal action against him if he persisted.

Regardless, O’Mhaoinigh says in court documents the episode has turned the couple’s lives upside down.

They left Congo with nothing, touching down first in Spain, then moving to Ireland, O’Mhaoinigh says. He even tried to obtain a visa to Canada, but his application was rejected at that time because of the bogus criminal charge in Congo, he says in an affidavit.

He says his career in corporate finance is effectively over, the outstanding charge in Congo turning off most employers.

The lawsuit claims more than $18 million in damages, much of it for “economic loss.”

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