Andrew Awuni

Andrew Awuni 

AN ACCRA Commercial Court will today rule whether Andrew Awuni, the executive director of Centre for Freedom and Accuracy and a contributor to Social Security and National Insurance Trust, has the capacity to bring an action against the sale of Merchant Bank.

The controversial takeover of the distressed Merchant Bank by Fortiz, a private equity fund, turned the courtroom into a battlefield as a move to stop the deal intensified.

Although the court, presided over by Justice Mrs. Sophia Bernasko Essah, has been burdened with four motions all challenging Awuni?s capacity, the ruling would be on that of the application by Tony Lithur, counsel for Fortiz, which intends to buy the distressed bank.

This follows an application at the Commercial Court by Mr. Awuni which aims to revert the sale he has described as fraudulent and not showing value for money.
Mr. Awuni has dragged 13 respondents including SSNIT, the majority shareholder of Merchant Bank, Fortiz, the Bank of Ghana (BoG), KPMG, and board members of Merchant Bank to court seeking a perpetual injunction to stop any further transactions on the sale of 90.6 per cent shares of the bank till the determination of the matter in court.

However, Fortiz PE, through its lawyer, Tony Lithur, filed the application to have the matter struck out on grounds that Mr. Awuni lacked the capacity to challenge the Merchant Bank transaction.

He stated that, though as a contributor, Mr. Awuni could not interfere with the process.

Ruling on the other motions brought by SSNIT, Bank of Ghana and Merchant Bank is also scheduled for January 27, 2014.

Fined GH?600

Meanwhile, an Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday awarded a GH?600 cost against Andrew Awuni when he applied to discontinue with an application he brought before the court against the sale of Merchant Bank.

The cost was against the wish of two defendants, SSNIT and Bank of Ghana who prayed the court to award them each GH?5,000 for their time wasted.

This was after Mr. Faibille had indicated that the demands of the defendants were just attempts to harass a poor pension contributor and offered to pay each defendant GH?50 Ghana.

The court, presided over by Justice L. L. Mensah, granted the application to discontinue the matter and awarded GH?200 cost in favour of the three defendants including Merchant Bank.

Explaining why he wanted to discontinue with the matter, Mr. Faibille stated that they had filed a similar suit at the Commercial Court with an increase from three defendants to 13.

Mr. Faibille stated that he deemed it expedient to discontinue the case with the liberty to re-apply in order to prevent two High Courts from giving judgement on the same case.

Counsel for SSNIT, Baffour Akoto, who said he was not against the application, only prayed for GH?5,000 cost against Mr Awuni in favour of his client saying that per order 17 rule 6, the defendants in the matter were entitled to cost.

Similarly, Mr. Theophilus Kpobi, counsel for BoG, also prayed for a GH?5,000 explaining that they had been before the court three times and had spent hours and therefore deserved the cost for expenses incurred.

By Mary Anane

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