The Financial Division of the High Court in Accra will on February 19, 2014 decide whether or not to cite the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a manager of UT Bank for contempt of court.Capt Prince Kofi Amoabeng (retd) and the Manager of the Airport Branch of UT Bank risk jail terms or fines or both should they be found guilty of contempt of court.
The applicant, Kayode Alade, is praying the court to imprison the CEO for failing to adhere to a December 20, 2013 court order directed at the bank to pay an amount of $391,250.
He wants them in prison until they purged themselves of contempt.
Arguments in court
Counsel for the applicant, Mr Charles Tetteh, moved the application for contempt and set out the cause why the respondents should be cited for contempt of court.
According to counsel, the respondents had demonstrated more than enough grounds to be cited for contempt.
But counsel for the respondents, Mr Chris Archer, held a different view and argued that the applicants had failed to show cause why his clients must be held liable for contempt of court.
He said the respondents had not exhibited any form of willful disobedience to the court to warrant their conviction for contempt.
In any case, counsel argued that there was not sufficient amount in the accounts. According to Mr Archer, the account of Auxesia was “near debit.”
The presiding judge, Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, asked counsel what the bank did after realising that the account was near debit, to which counsel said the bank wrote to the court on that issue.
Mr Justice Ajet-Nasam then queried counsel if that was the appropriate thing to do, to which counsel conceded a motion should have been filed instead.
Affidavit of applicant
According to the applicant, his company rendered service to Auxesia Energy and a cheque dated April 4, 2013 was issued by Auxesia to the applicant’s company.
An affidavit in support of the applicant’s motion for contempt said EOCO froze the account of Auxesia Energy and secured a confirmation order to that effect from the court.
It said “before the orders of the court suspending payment and freezing of the said account, the interested party which I represent as its Designated Person Ashore (DPA) had rendered services to Auxesia Energy and issued with a cheque for payment.”
According to the applicant, his company could not access the account because it had been frozen and for that reason it applied to the court for a review of the freezing order and the subsequent payment of money owed by Auxesia Energy.
Court grants motion
Following the applicant’s request for a review of the court’s order, the Financial Division of the High Court, presided over by Mr Justice Ajet-Nasam, reviewed its orders and directed the UT Bank to pay $391,250 to the applicant’s company with immediate effect.
“The order was served the bank the same day but UT Bank, Airport branch, and its managing director have failed, refused and or neglected to pay the said amount as ordered by the honourable court,” the affidavit in support said.
A reminder notice, according to the applicant, was served the bank but the applicant did not receive the desired response.
That posturing, according to the applicant, amounted to “blatant disrespect to the court and the sanctity of the judicial system.”
The applicant said it had evidence to the effect that the company had more than $1 million at the time its account was frozen.
“By that, UT Bank has evinced an attitude of contempt of the honourable court and ought to be dealt with under the cohesive arm of the law,” the applicant submitted.