General News of 2014-04-16

Isofoton given leave to file responses

The Supreme Court has granted Mr. Anane Agyei-Forson, the representative of Isofoton, an energy firm, fresh leave to file his responses within seven days in respect of the review application brought by Mr. Martin Amidu, a former Attorney General.

This follows the court’s inability to go ahead with the case because responses from the defendant contained a lot of mistakes.

According to the Court, the defendant has been given the opportunity to correct the mistakes.

Mrs. Justice Georgina Wood, President of the eleven-member review panel, also asked the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, being part of the suit, to take advantage of the leave granted and file their responses to the application within seven days.

Mr. Martin Amidu, after prevailing upon the Supreme Court to order Isofoton to refund $325,472 to the state, was still not happy with aspects of the court’s decision not to hold the Attorney-General and the country representative of Isofoton liable.

He consequently went to the Supreme Court to review aspects of its decision which declined to order the representative of Isofoton to refund the $325,472 they received from the government as judgement debt.

Mr. Karl Adongo, Counsel for Isofoton, who admitted to the mistakes in the responses, added that, the process was filed out of time.

He said the defendant had changed counsel overtime and that he came in to file the responses on March 14, 2014, which should have been done two weeks after the application for review on July 19, 2013.

Mr. Martin Amidu, the former Attorney General, said his aim for coming to court was to serve the public interest.

He said he had nothing against the court’s decision to grant the defendant new leave to file their answers and that his intention was to ensure justice for all parties in the case.

In a related development, the Supreme Court has ordered the lawyers of Mr. Alfred Woyome to also file their responses to the review application sought by Mr. Martin Amidu within fourteen days.

The order follows a preliminary objection raised by the lawyers of Woyome that Mr. Amidu has not authenticated his statement of case which was struck out by the court.

Mrs. Justice Georgina Wood, President of the review panel, giving a ruling on the matter stated that she does not find any merit in the preliminary objection raised by the lawyers of Woyome on the case.

She asked the Counsel of Woyome to show the court which part of the law states that if an applicant does not authenticate his statement of case then they should not respond to it.

Mr. Sarfo Buabeng, Counsel for Alfred Woyome, had argued that the defendant did not respond to Mr. Amidu’s review application because when they conducted a search at the Court registry they found that Mr. Amidu had not authenticated his statement of case.

Mr. Amidu after prevailing on the Supreme Court still wants aspects of its decision, which declined to order the businessman, Mr. Alfred Woyome, to refund GHc51.2 million he received from the government in the form of judgment debt.

The Supreme Court, on June 14, 2013, directed Waterville Holdings to refund all moneys paid to it by the Ghana government on the premise that it had no valid and constitutional contractual agreement with the government.

Waterville was expected to refund 25 million euros it received from the government following the court’s unanimous ruling that the said contract it entered into with the government for stadia construction for the CAN 2008 was unconstitutional because it had contravened Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, which required such contracts to go to Parliament for approval.

In the other judgment, the court, on June 21, 2013, ordered Isofoton S.A. to refund the cedi equivalent of $325,472 it received from the government in March, 2011.

The court also directed the company to refund all moneys it had so far received from the government on the grounds that the agreements resulting in the payments were unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void

The two suits were filed by Mr. Amidu, who had argued that both payments were illegal, null and void and of no legal effect.

He had prayed the court to order Mr. Woyome to refund moneys he had received as a result of the void contract the government had entered into with Waterville.

The court declined jurisdiction over the issue, with the reason that the Attorney-General was currently pursuing the matter at the Commercial Court to retrieve the GHc51.2 million paid to Mr. Woyome.

With respect to the suit against Isofoton S. A., Mr. Amidu had joined the local agent of Isofoton, Mr. Anane Agyei-Forson, and prayed the court to jointly order him to refund all moneys the company had received, but the court held a different view and exonerated Mr. Agyei-Forson.

The court found no wrongdoing on the part of Agyei-Forson on the grounds that Mr. Amidu had failed to show a cause of action against him.

The court also refused to hold the Attorney-General liable, but Mr. Amidu said the exclusion of Mr. Woyome, Mr. Agyei-Forson and the Attorney-General could amount to a miscarriage of justice.