Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fisherman floors EC; As Supreme Court stops March 3 district-level elections

Mr Benjamin Eyi Mensah (left) and his layer, Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, after the court decision
The District-level elections slated for March 3, 2015 has been put on hold. This followed a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court to stop the Electoral Commission (EC) from proceeding with the conduct of the poll.
The seven-member panel, presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba also directed the EC to start afresh, the processes for the opening and picking up of nomination forms.
On Thursday, February 26, 2015, the court directed the EC to stop advertisements on the polls until the final determination of the matter.
It is also expected to accept nomination forms from candidates who had earlier been rejected for presenting their forms late. The EC would have to come out with a new date for the conduct of the poll.
However, prospective candidates can continue campaigning while they await new directives and timelines from the EC.
Other members of the panel were: Ms Justices Sophia Akuffo, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie and Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe.

Illusive law

Upholding a writ which sought to invoke its original jurisdiction on the constitutionality or otherwise of the barring of the plaintiff, Benjamin Eyi Mensah, from standing for elections, the court said the law the EC sought to rely on to justify its disqualification of the applicant was non-existent.
Lawyers for the EC had sought to rely on Constitutional Instrument 78 (C.I. 78) to back its decision not to accept the plaintiff’s nomination forms on the grounds that he had filed it out of time.
But the lawyer for the plaintiff, Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, dragged the Attorney-General and the Electoral Commission (EC) to the Supreme Court on the grounds that his client had been illegally disqualified from contesting the election as an assembly member.
Reading the court’s terse decision on behalf of his colleagues, Mr Justice Atuguba said the EC’s reliance on C.I. 78 was “illusive” because such law was not listed in the EC’s manual.
The court admitted that it was mandatory for the EC to hold district-level elections under Article 45 and 51 of the 1992 Constitution, but held that the law which the EC sought to rely on did not exist.
It said there was no parliamentary record showing that the EC had gone under a matured C.I. to warrant the holding of the polls.
Based on those grounds, the court said it was only proper for the EC to be ordered to start the process “afresh”.

Declarations sought and granted

Mr Afenyo-Markin had prayed the court to declare that on a true and proper interpretation of Article 51 of the 1992 Constitution, a Constitutional Instrument to demarcate the boundaries for both the national and local government elections comes into force only after the expiration of 21 sitting days after it has been laid before Parliament and that Constitutional Instrument 85 (C.I. 85) only comes into force after Parliament has passed same.
Another relief sought was that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 51 of the 1992 Constitution, the court should declare as unconstitutional, the opening and closing of nominations for district-level elections because there was no existing Constitutional Instrument empowering the EC to receive nominations.
It said the court should also rule that the opening and closing of nominations for district-level elections by the EC when the Constitutional Instrument empowering it to do so had been laid before Parliament for consideration was an usurpation of the Constitutional mandate of Parliament as enshrined in Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution.
The applicant also urged the court to declare that the opening and closing of nominations by the EC when C. I. 85 was still pending before Parliament for consideration was an affront to the dignity of Parliament conferred on it by Article 122 of the 1992 Constitution.

Further reliefs

The plaintiff had also prayed the court to declare that the opening and closing of nominations by the EC on Sunday, December 21, 2014, when C. I. 85 was not in force was an infringement on the right of the plaintiff to contest in the local elections after having met all the preconditions to be registered as a candidate and awaiting the passage of C. I. 85 before filing his nomination forms.
Another relief sought by the plaintiff, who is a fisherman, also pleaded with the court to declare that the nomination forms received and the filing of same by the EC for the purposes of the district-level  elections prior to the coming into force of the C.I. 85 was unconstitutional and of no legal effect.
Mr Mensah, who was in court and looked excited after the court’s decision, had also implored the court to order the EC to open nominations to enable him and other law-abiding citizens who were awaiting the passage of C. I. 85 to file their nominations to participate in the upcoming district-level  elections.

Grounds of suit

According to the plaintiff’s statement of case, he (plaintiff) was a fisherman seeking to contest the upcoming district-level elections at Eyipeh Electoral Area of the Effutu Municipality in the Central Region.
It said the plaintiff picked nomination forms, filed them and obtained tax clearance certificate while awaiting the C.I. 85, “the enabling law governing the demarcation of electoral boundaries to be considered by Parliament as provided for under Article 51 of the 1992 Constitution.”
After observing the expiration of the 21 days period as provided for by law, the plaintiff proceeded to submit his forms to the EC on December 22, 2014 but was informed that nominations closed on Sunday, December 21, 2014.
His nomination forms were accordingly rejected but the statement of case has argued that the EC’s action was unconstitutional because the plaintiff had acted in consonance with law.
It held that the EC opened and closed nominations before the 21-day-sitting of Parliament adding that there was no existing law that enabled the EC to open and close nominations in the first place.
According to Mr Mensah, the enabling instrument could only come into force after 21 sitting days of Parliament and not before.

Rights of others infringed upon

The plaintiff further argued that the rights of other prospective law-abiding candidates who waited patiently for the 21 days sitting period to elapse before submitting their nomination forms had been infringed upon.
According to the plaintiff, the EC “in grabbing authority that does not belong to it ignored the all-important constitution and adopted some strange administrative procedures to open and close nominations.
By so doing, the EC immediately curtailed the right of the plaintiff to contest in the district-level elections.”

Constitutional Instrument

Arguing the case for his client, Mr Afenyo-Markin held that C.I. 85 was gazetted and laid before parliament on November 21, 2014 and for that reason, it could only come into force on December 22, 2014.
He, therefore, found it surprising for the EC to opt to close nominations a day before C. I. 85 could take legal effect and stated that the EC did not have a concurrent mandate with parliament to deliberate on orders, rules and regulations or any other law and pass same.
Counsel also held that the EC did not have the mandate to take administrative decisions that manifestly undermined the authority of parliament.
Mr Afenyo-Markin accordingly prayed the Supreme Court to frown on the action of the EC, declare it as null and void and also allow the plaintiff and other prospective candidates to file their nominations to contest the upcoming district assembly elections.

Arguments upheld

After three consecutive days of deliberations, the court yesterday upheld Mr Afenyo-Markin’s submissions and accordingly blocked the EC from proceeding with its plans to conduct district assembly and unit committee elections on March 3, 2015.
Mr Afenyo-Markin thanked the court for its decision and in an interview with journalists, he said the court’s pronouncement was a clear indication of the independence and fairness of Ghana’s judiciary.
The plaintiff told journalists he was happy about the court’s decision because he would now have the opportunity to contest in the elections.

EC’s reaction 

In a press release issued and signed by Ms. Georgina Opoku Amankwaa, Deputy Chairperson shortly after the decision, the EC said “with regard to the maturity of C.I. 85, the District Level Elections and all activities connected with them had been suspended forthwith until further notice.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

‘I was surprised cheques were paid to Assibit’

Mr. Abuga Pele
An Accounts Officer attached to the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) office yesterday told the Financial Division of the High Court that he processed six different cheques totalling GH¢4.1 million for payment to two entities and an individual.

Mr Eric Sunu, a staff member of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), told the court that he processed the cheques for payment to the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) and Goodwill International Group (GIG) after his bosses had given their approval.
He was testifying as the fourth prosecution witness in the GH¢4.1 million GYEEDA trial, in which a former National Co-ordinator of the agency, Abuga Pele, and a representative of the GIG, Philip Akpeena Assibit, are facing various charges of causing financial loss of GH¢4.1 million to the state.
Mr Sunu gave a breakdown of the payment as follows: May 10, 2011 – GH¢826,153.64; December 12, 2011 – GH¢804,000; February 14, 2012 – GH¢760,500; May 14, 201 2 – GH¢451,957.44; May 16, 2012, GH¢451,957.45 and September 10, 2012 – GH¢835,000.
The witness explained that five of the cheques were issued in the name of MDPI/GIG, while the sixth cheque for GH¢835,000 was issued in the name of Assibit for conducting tracer studies.
Led by a Principal State Attorney, Ms Comfort Tasiameh to give his evidence-in-chief at the court’s sitting in Accra, the witness said he was queried during investigations as to why payments were made to Mr Assibit’s personal account.
He expressed surprise at the turn of events and told investigators the cheques were issued in the name of MDPI/GIG.

Pele’s threshold

The witness said he and Mr Pele signed the cheques after the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Clement Humado, had given approval for payment.
He explained that Mr Pele could not sign a cheque worth more than GH¢20,000 without seeking approval from the minister.
Mr Sunu said Mr Assibit usually picked up the cheques on behalf of the MDPI/GIG after they had been issued.
According to the witness, the memos attached to invoices submitted by MDPI/GIG instructed that the money should be paid to MDPI, but Mr Assibit later explained the work had been performed by MDPI/GIG.
He said after the clarification, the ministry reverted and said the work had been performed by the two bodies resulting in the issuance of the cheques in their names.
The witness has since been discharged. Hearing continues on March 11, 2015.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Battle over digital migration

Ghana’s bid to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasting in June, this year, may suffer a setback, if a lawsuit filed at the Commercial Court in Accra against it should succeed.
Star Communication Network Technology Company Limited of China has sued the Ministry of Communications through the Attorney-General over the abrogation of an April 11, 2012 contract for the supply and installation of a reliable energy-efficient and cost-effective Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Network Solution.
But the MoC has denied any wrongdoing and explained that it abrogated the contract after the plaintiff had made false representations, as well as failed to meet its part of a contractual arrangement to pre-finance the project and be reimbursed within a 10-year period.
An affidavit in opposition to the plaintiff’s motion for interlocutory injunction has stated that the ministry acted within the confines of the law before abrogating the contract and for that reason, the plaintiff’s application must be dismissed.
In addition, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has joined forces with the Ministry of Communications and is praying the court not to entertain the suit because any delay in Ghana’s bid to migrate to DTT would have a negative impact on its members.
Meanwhile, the Commercial Court in Accra, presided over by Mr Justice George Kingsley Koomson, will on March 9, 2015 rule on whether or not to restrain the ministry from recruiting a new contractor for the project until the final determination of the instant action.

Case of plaintiff

According to a statement of claim accompanying the writ of summons, the plaintiff met all contractual obligations but the government delayed in working on the necessary documents to warrant the Exim Bank of China to release money for the financing of the project.
It said the MoC was also required to procure Cabinet and Parliamentary approvals for the concessional loan, the execution of the loan agreements as well as for the notification of the supplier of the award but it failed to fulfil the said conditions apart from the notification of the award.
According to the statement, the MoC wrote a letter dated November 17, 2014, intimating the ministry’s intention to disengage itself if the financing agreement – i.e. the concessional loan, was not received in the next 11 days, that was November 28, 2014.
It said as an assignee of the contract, all the plaintiff was required to do to assist the grant of the loan was to facilitate the process of accessing the concessional loan by using its best efforts, which it had done.
“It was the duty of the Ministry of Communications to process the said loan application on schedule and with full knowledge of its obligation that it obtained all approvals had failed in the discharge of those obligations.
“However, to the utter surprise of the plaintiff, by a letter dated January 14, 2015, the Minister of Communications again wrote to the plaintiff now terminating the agreement dated April 11, 2012, purporting to do so by virtue of Article 41.1 of the General Conditions of Contract contained therein which stated that the purchaser could terminate for its convenience,” it said.
It further averred that to further advance its agenda, the ministry on January 29, 2015 put up an advertisement in the Daily Graphic newspaper “advertising the project which plaintiff had been contracted to execute under the agreement dated April 11, 2015 and which was unlawfully terminated by the minister through no fault of the plaintiff and has by the said advertisement, evinced a clear intention to award the contract to another entity”.


The plaintiff is praying the court to declare that the purported termination of the contract was unlawful.
It is also asking for an order reversing the purported termination of the said agreement, as well as an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the ministry and its agents from interfering with the April 11, 2012 contract”.

Ministry’s position

In its affidavit in opposition, the defendant averred that aside the plaintiff’s obligation to fully fund the project it also informed the defendant “it was capable of assisting the government to obtain a concessionary loan facility from the China Exim Bank, based upon which the contract was awarded StarTimes Ghana after all due processes have been followed”.
“The main reason why the contract was awarded to StarTimes Ghana was because of its proposal to the MoC indicating its capacity to facilitate the necessary funding for the project through concessionary loan arrangement from the China Exim Bank,” the affidavit in opposition noted.
It further explained that because StarTimes Ghana was a local entity and could not access the concessionary loan for the project, the Ministry of Finance was not in a position to submit any formal application to China Exim Bank for a concessionary facility in respect of an agreement entered into with a locally registered entity.
The affidavit said thus StartTimes Ghana within three months assigned its rights to Star Communications Network Technology Company Limited (now plaintiff in the case) and following from that the Ministry of Finance carried out the necessary due diligence and formally submitted the application for the concessionary loan on December 21, 2012.
It said the response from the China Exim Bank to the Ministry of Finance’s application “came by way of a letter dated January 27, 2014, months after the ministry had dispatched the application for the concessionary loan to the China Exim Bank”.

Back and forth

It said the ministry received another letter dated June 25, 2014 from the China Exim Bank seeking further clarifications on Ghana’s application, adding that “contrary to our understanding and the basis for StarTimes Ghana winning the contract, it became evident that a lot of information and documentation was required and the Ministry of Finance had to follow its usual process to compile, verify and ensure their accuracy before submitting same to the China Exim Bank”.
The affidavit averred that after formal trips to China, back and forth correspondence and due diligence carried out by the defendant, it became abundantly clear that the plaintiff was not in a position to pre-finance the project.
It said it also became clear the plaintiff had made false representations with regard to its claim that it had procured letters of intent from the China Exim Bank.

GIBA’s Position

Meanwhile, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has filed an affidavit in opposition to the motion for interlocutory injunction asking the court not to allow the plaintiff “to fetter the progress of the digital migration programme since in any case the court is allowed to grant them damages for the worth of their work pursuant to the cancellation of the contract”.
“That as the beneficiaries of the contract, we have reviewed same and concluded that the contact did not contain any clause restricting the defendant from terminating the contract but rather a clause that states that the defendant could terminate the contract at any time for any reason,” an affidavit in opposition sworn on behalf of GIBA by its President, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, pointed out.
The affidavit in opposition said the entire membership of GIBA and the media industry in Ghana would suffer untold hardship should the project be further stalled.
According to the affidavit in opposition, Ghana was required to migrate to DTT by June 2015 per the international agreements binding the players in the industry.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Rot at MASLOC ; Operations director diverts GH¢1m to 2 financial firms

A GH¢1,055,582 fraud has been uncovered at the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC).

An acting Director of Operations of the scheme, Ken Kwaku Boadi Asare, is alleged to have forged 102 non-existing business associations to advance GH¢1,055,582 to two financial institutions.
The suspect, who is currently on interdiction, is alleged to have acted in connivance with some regional officers of MASLOC to perpetrate the crime.
Investigators of the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) have since concluded investigations into the matter.
The docket on the case is being finalised for onward submission to the Attorney-General’s Department for advice, a highly placed source at EOCO told the Daily Graphic in an interview.

False representation

The final report on investigations into the issue, a copy of which is available to the Daily Graphic, indicates that nine people, including Asare, were interviewed during investigations into the matter.
It said Rhokida Micro-Finance Limited and Unicorn Happy Investment Limited approached MASLOC for a loan facility for onward lending by their microfinance companies.
“Mr Asare made false representations to the loans committee at MASLOC which he chairs and caused to be issued in the names of the groups he suggested.
“In all, a total of 102 cheques, with a face value of GHc1,055,582, were issued as follows: Rhokida Micro-Finance Limited – 70 cheques – GH¢737,247; Unicorn Happy Investments Limited – 32 cheques - GHc318,335,” it said.
According to the report, the figure was less processing fee and interest and for that reason the bank statement put the total figure at GHc1,037,260.
Those transactions took place between October 2012 and September 2013.


The report further indicated that Asare allegedly informed the two microfinance companies that MASLOC had stopped granting loans to micro-finance companies and was now dealing with groups.
It said Asare then instructed his subordinates in Takoradi, Koforidua and Amasaman to open files for the groups he listed for repayment to be effected.
According to the report, repayment of the loan amount was effected through Asare’s personal account at the Airport City branch of Stanbic Bank.

14 cheques not recorded

Findings of the investigations also revealed that out of the 32 cheques issued to Unicorn Happy Investment, 14 were not reported in MASLOC’s financial report.
Unicorn has since repaid its debt to MASLOC, but Rhokida Micro-Finance Limited has an outstanding debt of GH¢304,733.64.
Asare, through whose account the loan repayments were made to MASLOC, has an outstanding balance of GH¢346,685, while GH¢80,000 he is alleged to have advanced to an officer of MASLOC is yet to be retrieved.
A list of 14 cheques found in Unicorn’s bank statements but not found in MASLOC’s report, as well as a list of 21 cheques in MASLOC’s report but not found in Rhokida’s accounts, has been attached to the final investigative report.

Weak controls

Investigators observed that MASLOC’s internal control system was very weak and suggested that it “must be strengthened in order to identify risk-prone areas in both assessing and repayment of loans advanced to clients”.
MASLOC’s record keeping system was also found to be ineffective, thereby making it difficult to trace loan processing documents of beneficiaries for future reference and auditing purposes.
Investigators also observed that too much power had been vested in the schedule of the director of operations and, therefore, recommended the decentralisation of the roles to avoid future abuse.

Monday, February 16, 2015

BNI recovers GH¢15m from indicted NSS officials

Alhaji Imoro is currently standing trial at the Financial Division of the High Court

The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) has made a major breakthrough in its investigations into the scandal at the National Service Scheme (NSS) with the recovery if GH¢15 million.
So far, 171 individuals, including the former Executive Director of the NSS, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan, have been implicated in the scandal.
Some of the implicated directors have entered into an agreement with the BNI and are currently refunding the money, which is part of the amounts paid to 30,816 non-existent national service persons from September 2013 to August 2014.
Information gathered by the Daily Graphic which first broke the scandal in October last year, indicated that the fraud was perpetuated through mandatory, voluntary and overpayment of returns.
The breakdown shows that 29,358 ghost names were generated for the mandatory scheme, while 853 and 605 names were generated for the voluntary and overpayment returns respectively.


BNI sources have declined to give out the names of the directors who are refunding the amounts, in their bid not to breach the agreement between the BNI and the directors.
“We are focusing on retrieving the money and that is exactly what we are achieving. It is important the state recoup all the embezzled funds,” a BNI source told the Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview in Accra at the weekend.
Regional and district directors of the NSS have a total liability of GH¢49 million, while directors at the NSS headquarters are liable to refund GH¢31.1 million.
While assuring Ghanaians of the resolve of the BNI to retrieve all lost funds to the state, the source said, “We are still recouping the money and we urge Ghanaians to be patient and allow us to do our work diligently.”
“Trust us to protect the public purse,” it said.

NSS boss charged

Alhaji Imoro is currently standing trial at the Financial Division of the High Court and has pleaded not guilty of the charge of stealing GH¢86.9 million.
He has been granted bail in the sum of GH¢90 million, with three sureties, all to be justified, with property valued at more than one million Ghana cedis.
He is to reappear in court on March 12, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sissala NSS director paid GH¢75,000 before committing suicide

Lambert Akansar

The Sissala District Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), who committed suicide while investigations were ongoing into the role he played in the GH¢80 million scandal, paid GH¢75,000 back to the state before taking his life.
Lambert Akansar was found to have embezzled GH¢221,780 but he managed to refund GH¢75,000 to investigators of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) before he committed suicide by hanging in early January, 2015.
Snippets of information gathered by the Daily Graphic indicate that Akansar faced challenges recouping the money he had given out as loans to individuals in Suhum and Sissala areas.
It was said that some of the individuals who borrowed the money refused to pay him  when he went round pleading with them to repay him.

Have you committed suicide before?

Sources told the Daily Graphic, which first broke the story in October 2014, that Akansar, who was the former Suhum District Director of the NSS, asked some persons close to him if they had attempted suicide before.
They found his question strange but it never crossed their minds that he would take his own life.

Investigations so far

So far, 171 individuals including the Executive Director of the NSS, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan, have been implicated in the scandal.
The offence, which was committed from September 2013 to August 2014, resulted in the loss of GH¢80 million to the state.
A total of 30,816 ghost names were generated during the period.
It also emerged that the fraud was perpetuated through the mandatory, voluntary and overpayment return accounts of the NSS.
The breakdown shows a total of 29,358 ghost names were generated for the mandatory scheme, while 853 and 605 ghost names were generated for the voluntary and overpayment returns respectively.
Sources at the BNI have urged the public to trust that the bureau would conduct an effective investigation.

NSS boss charged

Alhaji Alhassan and 22 other directors of the NSS were alleged to have paid GH¢200,000 as bribe to investigators of BNI to conceal the financial rot.
The money is currently in the custody of the BNI as an exhibit.
Alhaji Alhassan is standing trial at the Financial Division of the High Court and has pleaded not guilty to the charge of stealing GH¢86.9 million.
He has been granted bail in the sum of GH¢90 million with three sureties, all to be justified, with property valued at more than one GH¢1 million.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Case against Woyome adjourned sine die

Alfred Woyome
Hearing of the Attorney-General’s application to enforce a Supreme Court judgement which ordered businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome to refund GHC51.2 million to the state has been adjourned sine die.

The adjournment is to enable bailiffs to serve hearing notices on Woyome and Waterville Holdings. They were both absent in court when the matter was called yesterday.
Lawyers for Woyome and Waterville were also absent, but the Attorney-General’s Department was represented by Ms Helen Ziwu and Mrs Stella Badu, both Chief State Attorneys.
Meanwhile, information gathered by the Daily Graphic indicates that lawyers for Woyome and Waterville Holdings have written to the Supreme Court indicating they had not been instructed by their clients to represent them in this particular case.
According to them, their services ended on June 14, 2013 and July 29, 2014. It is not clear whether or not they would formally be contracted by their clients to continue the case when a date is fixed for hearing.
 The case was first adjourned on February 4, 2015 to yesterday, February 10, 2015 but it emerged that bailiffs were unable to serve Woyome and Waterville with the hearing notices.


The Supreme Court on July 29, 2014, ordered Woyome to refund GH¢51.2 million to the state on the grounds that he got the money out of unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008.
It held in a unanimous decision that the contracts upon which Woyome made and received the claim were in contravention of Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which requires such contracts to be laid before and approved by Parliament.
The 11-member court, presided over by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, was ruling on a review application filed by a former Attorney- General and Minister of Justice, Mr Martin Amidu.
Other members of the panel were: Justices Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anin Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, N. S. Gbadegbe, Vida Akoto Bamfo, A. A. Bennin and J.B. Akamba.

June 14, 2013 judgement

The court had on June 14, 2013 directed the international construction firm, Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI), to refund all the money paid to it by the Ghana government on the premise that it had no valid and constitutional contractual agreement with the government.
Waterville was expected to refund 25 million euros it received from the government, following the court’s judgement that the said contract it entered into with the government for stadia construction for CAN 2008 was unconstitutional.
That was because it had contravened Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, which requires such contracts to go to Parliament for approval.


According to the applicant who filed the application for review on July 12, 2013, he, together with other like-minded Ghanaians, had read the two judgements delivered by the Supreme Court very carefully and had come to the conclusion that some aspects of the judgement contained “exceptional circumstances that have resulted in what we perceive may constitute a miscarriage of justice.”

Contract null and void

In the Waterville judgement, the court declared as null and void and of no operative effect a contract titled: “Contract for the Rehabilitation (Design, Construction, Fixtures, Fittings and Equipment) of a 40,000 Seating Capacity Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana,” entered into between the Republic of Ghana and Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI) of P.O. Box 3444, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands on April 26, 2006.

The review decision

Reversing aspects of the court’s June 2013 judgement on behalf of her colleagues, Mrs Justice Wood said the conduct of the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in paying or ordering the payment of money to Austro Invest for a “purported” financial engineering which arose out of an April 26, 2006 agreement was, therefore, unconstitutional. Austro-Invest was contracted by Woyome to syndicate funding for the grant of a 1.1 billion euro facility but was paid off by Woyome.

Proceedings at High Court void

The court further declared as null and void and of no legal effect, proceedings at the High Court (Commercial Division) that entertained a suit brought against the state by Woyome on April 19, 2010.
It also held that the conduct of Woyome and Austro-Invest in making claims and receiving payment on two “in-operative agreements” which were international businesses and had not received parliamentary approval was also illegal.
Meanwhile, the criminal case instituted against Woyome by the state has been adjourned to March 12, 2015 for judgement.

Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire maritime dispute: ITLOS assists in selection of arbitrators

Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong — Attorney-General and Minister of Justice

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire had to resort to the President of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), to select three arbitrators to settle their maritime boundary dispute in oil-rich fields after they reached a stalemate on the selection.
Both countries were by the rules of ITLOS, required to appoint an arbiter each and mutually select three more arbitrators to deliberate and decide on their maritime boundary dispute but they could not reach an agreement.
As a result of the deadlock, the President of ITLOS, who is also a sitting judge at the International Court of Justice, in December 2014 assisted the two countries to select three judges of the ITLOS  to determine the issues at stake.
The ITLOS is based in Hamburg, Germany.
“In December 2014, we went before the President of the ITLOS to appoint three more arbitrators. We spent the whole of December 3 and most of December 4, 2014 trying to come to some agreement, and finally we did,” the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, said in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday.
She explained that the selected personalities were not just arbiters but also judges of the ITLOS.

Arbitrators for the parties

Meanwhile, Ghana has appointed Mr Justice Thomas Mensah, a former President of the ITLOS, as a member of the tribunal, in accordance with Article 3(a) of Annex VII.
Cote d’Ivoire, for its part, has appointed Ronny Abraham from France as an arbiter.
Per the rules of the ITLOS, the two arbiters selected by the parties are expected to act impartially.
According to Mrs Appiah-Opong, the next item was for the parties to meet to set out a timetable and procedures to be followed before the commencement of hearing.
“We are going before the tribunal next week to set a procedural timetable to agree on issues regarding procedure and conduct of proceedings in the case. That meeting will take place in a day,” she said.

Special Chamber

She disclosed that the parties would meet in a special chamber at the ITLOS because “all the persons selected are also judges within the tribunal and court system”.
The matter is expected to last a maximum of three years.
She said Ghana had a solid legal and technical team, adding, “We are committed to conducting this case as professionally as possible to ensure that Ghana succeeds at the end of the day.”
Mrs Appiah-Opong will be leading the team.


After 10 failed negotiation attempts, Ghana, in September 2014, began arbitration proceedings at the ITLOS.
“Despite several years of good faith negotiations, including at least 10 rounds of bilateral meetings, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have been unable to agree upon the location of their maritime boundary,” Mrs Appiah-Opong announced at a press conference in Accra on September 23, 2014.
Cote d’Ivoire staked a claim to parts of Ghana’s offshore a year after Ghana had discovered oil in commercial quantities.
Following failed bilateral talks between the two countries in the past year, Ghana decided to turn to the ITLOS under the rules set out by the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) to protect the country’s interest and that of oil companies which had invested millions of dollars in the exploration of oil at some of the disputed areas.