Thursday, November 12, 2009

Railway company in distress - Attivor

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 (Page 3 Lead)

THE Accra Area Manager of the Ghana Railway Company (GRC), Mr E. Attivor, yesterday informed the Industrial and Labour Division of the High Court that the company was in distress.
According to him, the company was so broke that its workers had not received their salaries since August 2009.
Explaining why the GRC was not in a position to immediately pay the GH¢6,078 costs awarded against it by the court, Mr Attivor said, “We are distressed. We are so broke that we cannot break even.”
Confirming Mr Attivor’s statement, a representative of the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) told the court that the company’s balance as of November 2009 was GH¢921.86.
The court has since frozen the account of the company until it clearly indicated in a formal letter how it intended to pay the debt in two instalments, as pointed out by the Accra Area Manager.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice K. Asuman-Adu, had ordered the GRC to pay GH¢6,078 to Mr Frank Appah, who sued the company for failing to deliver timber it had lifted from Atieku in the Western Region to Dome in Accra.
The court took six months to hear and pass judgement on the matter which had travelled through different courts for 12 years.
Earlier, Mr Attivor had informed the court that the company was not in contention with the plaintiff but stated that it was not in a position to pay its debt immediately.
The judge then intervened and advised Mr Attivor to put everything into writing. Counsel for the plaintiff, Mr Bamfo Kwame Dwamena, agreed with the court and urged Mr Attivor to formally write and state the company’s terms of settlement.
Mr Justice Asuman-Adu then gave the company 14 days to put its promise into writing and further ordered that the bank must not allow the company to have access to its account until further notice.
The court further stated that if within 14 days the company had not complied, the plaintiff had the right to go into execution to claim money owed him.
During the trial, the company had claimed that the train carrying the timber derailed at Fosu and in the process officials from the Forestry Division seized the goods on the grounds that they suspected them to be illegal chainsaw products.
The court, after carefully studying the argument from both parties, entered judgement against the GRC.
The original amount sought by the plaintiff was GH¢1,280, but inflation, costs and other factors had increased the debt to GH¢6,078.

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