February 25, 2013 (Page 3)
THE management of the National Investment Bank (NIB) has indicated its intention to appeal against a judgement of the Commercial Court in Accra which ordered it to pay $60 million to a UK firm.
It also plans to file for an order of stay of execution of the judgement, which was delivered by Mr Justice Amadu Tanko in favour of the plaintiff, Dominion Corporate Trustees Limited, a UK-based offshore company, on Thursday, February 21, 2013.
The court ordered the NIB to pay interest of 11 per cent per annum on the said $60 million to the plaintiff with effect from January 29, 2009 till the date of final payment.
A statement signed by the Head, Customer Service and Public Relations of the NIB, Mr Jerry Nathaniel Halm, and issued in Accra yesterday said, “In as much as the bank regrets the unfortunate and unjustifiable judgement given by the court, it wishes to assure its numerous customers that the bank will immediately exercise its right to file an appeal.”
“The bank is totally convinced that the verdict of the judge did not reflect the facts that were presented before the court and, therefore, believes that the Court of Appeal will uphold its appeal and reverse the orders made by the Commercial Court,” it held.
The bank took the opportunity to assure its clients that the “ruling has not in any way affected the bank’s business with its customers”.
It further assured the customers that their money was safe with the bank, and that ”any information alluding to a collapse of the bank and a loss of customers’ money is totally false”.
In a two-hour ruling, the court held that there was no evidence to support the bank’s allegation of negligence and fraud on the part of the plaintiff and the other defendants, Eland International Ghana Limited and the former Managing Director of the NIB, Mr Daniel Charles Gyimah.
The plaintiff, through its lawyer, Nene Amegatcher, sued the NIB, Eland International Ghana Limited and Mr Gyimah on March 4, 2010, claiming the sum of US$60 million guaranteed by the bank.
By a collateral management agreement dated November 10, 2001, the NIB and Eland International Ghana entered into a binding agreement under which Eland International would order and supply Eland International Ghana Limited with various commodities from abroad on credit.
Under the arrangement, the NIB was to hold the commodities in bond, regulate their sale and put the money realised from the sale in an escrow account which was created and controlled by the NIB and then later remit to Eland International Limited.
As a follow up to the 2001 agreement, the NIB, acting through Mr Gyimah, on May 7, 2007 guaranteed, per Aval, 30 promissory notes issued by Eland International to facilitate the said agricultural projects.
However, by the terms of the Aval guarantee, the plaintiff was entitled, upon maturity of the notes, to claim its value directly from the NIB without recourse to Eland International Ghana Limited.
Accordingly, in January 2009, the plaintiff contacted Ghana International Bank, which was the NIB’s correspondent bank in the United Kingdom, and requested for the payment of the sum of US$60 million being the maturity value of the notes.
Unfortunately, the request was not honoured, resulting in the plaintiff following up by making demands directly on the NIB, only to be told that the NIB had no knowledge whatsoever of the existence of the notes or the guarantee granted on its behalf by Mr Gyimah.
The plaintiff resorted to a court action on March 4, 2010 after its repeated demands yielded no results.
Writer’s e-mail: mabel.baneseh.graphic.com.gh