General News of 2013-12-18

Awuni appeals court decision over sale of Merchant Bank

Lawyers for Andrew Awuni have filed a notice of appeal at the court pending an appeal against the ruling of the Commercial Court, which dismissed their application challenging the sale of Merchant Bank to private equity firm, Fortiz.

Speaking to Joy News, Wednesday, lead counsel, Egbert Faibille noted that the notice was filed after the court handed down its ruling on the case, noting that his client stands a good chance of being successful on appeal.

The High Court on Wednesday ruled that Mr. Awuni lacked the capacity to challenge the sale because the Board of Trustees, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), the majority shareholder of the bank are the entity to decide whether an investment made into the bank is good or bad.

The Court therefore upheld a motion filed by lawyer for Fortiz, Tony Lithur challenging Mr. Awuni’s capacity to sue Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and the Bank of Ghana over the sale of Merchant Bank.

But lead counsel for the plaintiff, Egbert Faibille expressed disappointment about the ruling.

He said they are not satisfied with the ruling therefore “will go on appeal to test the law”.

Egbert Faibille described as interesting how SSNIT contributors cannot raise a challenge when their contributions are being misappropriated and yet employers face prosecution when they default in payment.

“I am drag and forced to make a contribution but when it comes to raising issues about how my contributions are invested, I’m now being told by the High Court of the Republic of Ghana that I don’t have the right to raise a challenge”, Mr. Faibille queried.

He said the decision by the court to prevent contributors from challenging SSNIT, when their contributions are put in bad investment is “injustice”.

Egbert Faibille stated unequivocally that the battle to stop the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz has just began.

“The most important thing for the Court of Appeal to determine whether it is just and equitable for individual contributors to be compulsorily drag to pay contributions to a trust and when the trust misuses the monies, the beneficiaries cannot raise red flags”, he stated.

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