General News of 2013-12-18

It is not over; Merbank deal is despicable - Awuni

Mr. Andrew Awuni who was thrown out for lack of capacity to bring a case challenging the controversial Merchant Bank sale says he is not done.

The Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy says his resolve to fight the sale of SSNIT's stake in Merchant Bank to Fortiz is not dimmed by Wednesday's ruling.

He says the transaction is so despicable and disgraceful it cannot be allowed to stand.

Andrews Awuni said the landmark ruling against him is wrong and has taken away the right of contributors to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to sue even when the trustee is taking inimical decisions.

"What this ruling means is that all contributors must contribute but shut up. You cannot question SSNIT decision.

"This Merchant Bank deal is despicable. It is daylight robbery. Some people are taking the bank away from SSNIT and its contributors," he insisted.

The Commercial Court on Wednesday clipped the wings of Andrews Awuni and his Centre for Freedom and Accuracy from proceeding any further to challenge the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz on the basis that he lacked capacity to sue.

The sitting judge said Awuni was a contributor but did not have the capacity to sue.

Only the trustees and Board members of SSNIT and Merchant Bank have the powers so to do, the judge intimated, Joy News' Paa Kwesi Asare reported.

But Andrews Awuni and his lawyer Egbert Faibille are not impressed.

At 2:35 GMT, Wednesday, Egbert Faibille filed a notice of appeal on the grounds that the High Court's ruling was wrong and has to be overturned.

He later told Joy News the ruling by the High Court does not reflect accurately Section 90 of Act 766, the law that established SSNIT.

He hoped that with three judges expected to sit on appeal, the case will be ruled in their favour.

Private legal practitioner, Mr. Samson Lardy Ayenini, said Mr. Awuni may have a tall order overturning the ruling.

He said even though Mr Faibille cited cogent authorities to back his coherent arguments in court, many of the cases cited were decided by English Courts and had only persuasive value.

According to him, the trial judge gave a hint when she said the cases cited by Mr Awuni's lawyers were not brought by individuals as he was seeking to do.

Meanwhile, Andrews Awuni has subtly challenged the TUC and other stakeholders to join the fight against the sale.

He said if the Secretary General of the TUC Kofi Asamoah is truly committed to the fight against the sale then the ball is in his court.