Story: Muntalla Inusah

THE COUNSEL for Fortiz Equity Fund, Tony Lithur has questioned the locus and capacity of the executive director of the Center for Freedom and Accuracy, Andrew Awuni to pray a court of competent jurisdiction to revert the sale of Merchant Bank to his client, Fortiz.

wpid-TonyLithur.jpgAt an Accra Commercial Court hearing yesterday, before her Ladyship, Sophia R. Benasko Essah, Mr. Lithur urged the court to dismiss Mr. Awuni?s suit, which he described as too weak and does not have enough grounds to halt further transactions on the deal.

The Center for Freedom and Accuracy filed a suit at the High Court praying the Court to halt the takeover of Merchant Bank by Fortiz.

Mr. Awuni, who filed the suit, cited the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Merchant Bank and Fortiz Private Equity Fund Ltd as 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th Defendants, respectively.

But, Counsel for Fortiz, Mr. Lithur in a response to the suit urged the court to strike out the case adding that the plaintiff lacks the locus to sue the company since he was neither a shareholder nor a director, but just a contributor as set up by the law.

According to him, Mr. Awuni did not have any locus or capacity to challenge or ask the court to substitute his views with the constitutional mandate of the boards of SSNIT on the sale of the shares, though he was a contributor to SSNIT.

Mr. Lithur told the court that, the plaintiff, (Mr Awuni) was not a party to the deal and, therefore, did not have the right to challenge the trustee of the fund, adding that they are the sole people to determine the best business to invest into.

Responding to Mr. Lithur?s argument, Counsel for the plaintiff, Egbert Faibille?Jnr vehemently opposed the motion and described counsel for Fortiz as turning himself as Octopus Paul, wanting to dictate everything.

He argued that the said purported deal entered between Fortiz and the government of Ghana, with the tacit approval of the Bank of Ghana was not good enough and amounted to short-changing of the taxpayer and contributors whose money SSNIT invested.

He prayed the court to dismiss the application by Fortiz adding that, if the said deal is allowed to go on, it would be a flagrant violation of the 1992 Constitution.

Counsel for the plaintiff said the sale of 90% shares to Fortiz was not the best prize for the beneficiaries of which his client is included for GH?90m. And that their application, is seeking among other things, an interlocutory injunction to restrain the BoG from issuing any licence to Fortiz to operate Merchant Bank as a validly acquired concern.

The case has been adjourned to Wednesday, December 18, 2013 of which the fate of Mr. Awuni and all the parties involved will be determined.

Mr. Awuni, after the proceedings told the media that he was very much astonished by the argument of counsel for Fortiz that contributors of SSNIT have no right to comment on what SNNIT is doing with their money.

Fortiz on Wednesday 4, December 2013 announced that it had completed its controversial takeover of Merchant Bank.? In a statement, Fortiz commended the management and staff of Merchant Bank for their support. According to Fortiz, they put forth a better bid than South Africa?s First Rand Bank, whose earlier bid failed.

Source: The Heritage

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