General News of 2013-12-21

Merbank/Fortiz fiasco: Correct ruling, wrong law - Baako

Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Kweku Baako Jnr, says the court ruling that dismissed Andrew Awuni from challenging the sale of the Merchant Bank to equity firm, Fortiz, may appear to be correct, but the law on which the ruling was founded may be wrong.
The court upheld the motion filed by lawyer for Fortiz, Tony Lithur, challenging the capacity of Awuni to sue and to challenge the sale of 90 percent shares of Merchant Bank to Fortiz.
The judge ruled that Awuni was neither a member of the Board nor was a trustee and did not have a power to sue.
Discussing the ruling on Joy FM's news analysis programme, Kweku Baako Jnr said he is disappointed with the ruling.
He said while the ruling may appear on the face of it as fair, a critical look must be taken at the law that set up the Social Security and National Insurance Trust.
He feared the law as strictly interpreted by the judge, may in the future indemnify the trustees and the Board members of SSNIT even when they are doing something wrong.
"I cannot bastardise the judicial pronouncement of the judge," he said, but added "there is something wrong with the law."
"On the face of the law, the ruling may be justified but we need to take a critical look at the law," he said.
He said organised labour can take a cue from the subtle hint given by the judge that a class action can be taken against SSNIT and proceed to court.
A lawyer and a member of the NDC, Abraham Amaliba, said he was not surprised at all with the ruling.
He said when the issue of capacity was raised, he knew immediately that Awuni was going to have a herculean task.
Amaliba argued that if Awuni had been granted his wish, the flood gates would have been opened for the millions of SSNIT contributors to go to court at the least opportunity.
He said the writ was seeking to interfere in the investment decisions of SSNIT and that was unacceptable.
Amaliba praised the ruling he said was founded on law.