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NIB, Dominion Corporate Trustees review application $60m judgement debt case

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The Supreme Court has set March 14 to rule on a review application filed by Standard Bank Offshore Company Limited in a matter relating to the dismissal of a $60 million judgment debt entered against the National Investment Bank (NIB).

This was after a seven member panel presided over by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo had heard parties in the matter.

Mr Benson Nutsukpi, who represented NIB, argued that the issue before the court did not meet the requirements for a review.

According to Mr Nutsupki the matter raised by Nene Amegatcher, counsel for Standard Bank Offshore Company Limited (substituted later by Dominion Corporate Trustees Limited)  were all issues already raised by them had been dealt with by the Court and the matter was only being re-argued.

Nene Amegatcher however held that the SC should provide them “substantial justice” by hearing the matter since NIB did not raise the issue of capacity and the provision of address of the foreign beneficiaries in the matter while it was before the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

“In our writ we said we are trustees and when acting as a trustee, you don’t disclose the capacity and addresses of who your beneficiaries are. This is because in the capital market things keeps changing and it is difficult to disclose over 5,000 names or more.”

Nene Amegatcher further held that their capacity as trustees had never been challenged and that they would have provided evidence of their capacity.

The SC in June last year dismissed a $60 million judgment debt entered against NIB by the Commercial Division of the Accra High Court in February 2013.

The dismissal followed an appeal by the bank challenging the decision of the High Court, which was later upheld by the Court of Appeal in October 2015.

The interest on the amount, per the High Court judgment, was 11 per cent, with effect from January 29, 2009 till the date of final payment.

The High Court’s decision was as a result of a legal action against NIB by Dominion Corporate Trustees Limited on behalf of certain investors who purchased promissory notes issued by Eland Ghana Limited and allegedly guaranteed by NIB.

The five-member panel of the Supreme Court, presided over by the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, held that both Standard Bank Offshore Company Limited and Dominion Corporate Trustees Limited had no capacity to initiate the action which resulted in the $60 million judgement.

The court, therefore, nullified all proceedings in relation to the case that took place at the High Court and the Court of Appeal, as well as the judgements given by the two courts.

It further granted cost of GH¢500,000 against Dominion Corporate Trustees Limited.

In March 2010, Standard Bank Offshore sued NIB on behalf of certain investors under the terms of the transaction, the investors had to pay a discounted total sum of US$45 million dollars in May 2007, and upon maturity of the promissory notes on January 29, 2009, reap US$60 million dollars, thereby earning US$15 million dollars in profit.

During the trial, NIB led evidence to show that its Managing Director at the time, Mr Daniel Charles Gyimah, signed the guarantee without any authorisation from the board and said, indeed, the transaction was known only to Mr Gyimah.

The bank also led evidence to show that the US$45 million dollars was not utilised for the advertised purpose but was rather distributed by Mr Gyimah to Eland Ghana Limited and companies connected to it.

But the court, presided over by Mr Justice Amadu Tanko, in its February 21, 2013 judgement, held a contrary view; declared NIB liable and ordered it to pay the $60 million, with 11 per cent interest, with effect from January 2009 till the day of final payment.

Not satisfied with the decision, NIB appealed to the Court of Appeal, but on October 15, 2015, the court dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of the High Court.

The bank then filed an appeal at the Supreme Court which explained that both Standard Bank Offshore and Dominion Trustees failed to disclose the requisite details of the investors who they represented during the lawsuit.

According to the court, the two companies breached court rules by failing to disclose the identities and jurisdictional addresses of the investors who bought the promissory notes.

Source: GNA

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