Mr. Daniel Ofori, the Investor at the centre of a legal dispute with Ecobank Ghana says the Bank has no application pending before the Supreme Court to reopen their matter, as suggested by the Bank in a media release.
He said the only application filed by Ecobank recently was one for review of the Supreme Court’s decision refusing Ecobank’s earlier application to reopen the decision of the Court on appeal in 2018 with the introduction of “new evidence”.
A statement issued in Accra by the Counsel for Mr Ofori, Mr Thaddeus Sory, reacting to a media release by the Bank, said “we filed an application then to the Court on behalf of Mr. Ofori to strike out what Ecobank filed.”
He said this was because Ecobank failed to comply with the Rules of the Supreme Court and the previous order of the Court in filing the processes.
He said with their claims they wrote to the Registrar of the Supreme Court on November 21, 2021 and obtained confirmation that there was no pending application for a stay of execution in that Court before Mr Ofori proceeded to have the Fieri Facias (Fi-Fa) notice was pasted on the Head Office Building of Ecobank.
According to the lawyer, the earlier garnishee proceedings referred to in the media release of Ecobank were a different kind of enforcement process from the Fi-Fa that was currently being pursued by them on behalf of Mr. Ofori.
The lawyer said following a writ of Fi-Fa, which Mr Ofori caused to be issued against the Bank for its failure to pay the sum of GHS96, 304,972.41 ordered by the Supreme Court, was based on the bank’s own admission at a hearing on June 1, 2021.
He said after the pasting by a court bailiff of the Fi-Fa on the Head Office building of Ecobank on Friday, November 26, 2021, Ecobank issued a media release the same day in which they made false and libellous allegations against Mr. Ofori.
Mr Sory said it was simply not true that Mr. Ofori tendered in evidence of the investment agreement between Ecobank and himself at any stage in the case.
He said the truth, as the Court records and the judgment of the Supreme Court dated July 25, 2018, confirmed, was that Ecobank itself admitted that the agreed interest rate on the investment made by Mr. Ofori with Ecobank was 30 per cent.
“The judgment of the Supreme Court was therefore based on this admission,” he added.
He said having regard to the fact that the Supreme Court judgment was based on Ecobank’s own admission, it clearly did not make sense to suggest that Mr. Ofori had forged an investment agreement to prove his case against Ecobank.
He said after the judgment of the Supreme Court, Ecobank surfaced with a document it described as the investment agreement in which was inserted in the figure 15 as the percentage for interest on the investment.
The Counsel said “this is completely at variance with the 30 per cent Ecobank had itself admitted to. It is Ecobank which has an interest in contradicting its earlier admission by seeking belatedly to introduce a document in which an interest rate of 15 per cent is being put forward three years after the judgment of the Court and even after the failure of the application for review in March 2021.”
He said in opposing the application for review, they drew the Court’s attention to the fact that the document Ecobank was now relying on lacked credibility, bearing on its face several hand written alterations, and having issues with dating.
Mr Sory claimed the Supreme Court, by a unanimous decision, refused to review its decision on the ground urged by Ecobank that it had now discovered the investment agreement.
The Court also refused to order the Police to conduct the forensic examination of the document Ecobank is now putting forward and which its media release is referring to.
“It is, indeed, worthy of note that Ecobank tried at least three times without success to have the Court take into account their document with 15 per cent. Ecobank, having failed to get a Court order for this, has apparently, by itself, taken a document for forensic examination and makes libellous accusations against Mr. Ofori by reference to this,” he said.
He said Ecobank has, for years now, deprived Mr. Ofori of funds he had in an account with the bank and part of which he invested on the terms admitted by the Bank.
Mr Sory said such conduct was plainly wrong, being a breach of Ecobank obligations as a bank to Mr. Ofori as a customer, adding that this had had serious consequences for Mr. Ofori’s business.
He said incredibly, the Ecobank media release, as part of its imputation of wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Ofori, referred to him receiving dividends on shares which, according to him, he had sold to a third party.
The Supreme Court considered this issue and recognized that the dividends were received by Mr. Ofori at the time when the High Court and the Court of Appeal had decided that the share sale transaction had not successfully taken place.
“In the words of the Supreme Court, ‘by acting in reliance on those judgments and collecting the dividend he [Mr. Ofori] did nothing wrong,'” he said.
The Counsel said it was a matter of grave concern that, after the Court official pasted the fi-fa notice on the Ecobank Building following Ecobank failure to make the payment ordered by the Court, a member of Ecobank staff removed the notice, showing contempt for lawful Court process.
“Ecobank should not seek to take the law into its own hands,” he added.
He said clearly, the best way for Ecobank to give assurance to its customers, shareholders and the general public about its standing as a bank is to obey court orders, specifically, at this time, the order of the Court to pay Mr. Ofori, GHS 96, 304,972.41, otherwise, they would have no option but to proceed with the fi-fa on the head office building.