BY MUNTALLA INUSAH firstname.lastname@example.org
THE APPEARANCE of one of the country’s finest legal brains, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, in a case involving the National Investment Bank Limited and Standard Bank Offshore Trust Company Limited yesterday stirred controversy at the Supreme Court.
While it was on the court document that the National Investment Bank Limited had written to the court that they had changed Mr Tsikata as their solicitor, Mr Tsikata confirmed same, but said “we want orderly transition.”
He told the court that, “the development came a day before the court day and that there were issues of etiquette rules that should be complied with and we need to make sure they are in order.”
In court yesterday, president of the Ghana Bar Association, Mr Benson Nutsuikpi, who is the newly appointed solicitor, clashed with Mr Tsikata, forcing the court to adjourn the matter for them to settle the confusion.
Mr Nutsukpi was not heard by the panel of seven presided over by the Chief Justice (CJ), Mrs Sophia Akuffo.
Matter of due diligence
The CJ, prior to adjourning the case, said, “it is a matter of due diligence among solicitors” and that, “unfortunately it has come to the notice of the court. They are issues of etiquette rules that should be complied with and we need to make sure these are in order.”
She said, Mr Nutsukpi, the newly appointed solicitor who was in court could not be heard, saying “we won’t hear the new counsel.”
The review motion filed by the Standard Bank Offshore Trust Company for the seven-member panel of apex court justices to review the decision of the three-member panel has been adjourned to Tuesday, January 23, 2018 for hearing.
Other members of the seven-member panel are Justice William Atuguba, Justice Julius Ansah, Justice Sophia Adenyira, Justice Jones Dotse and Justice Annin Yeboah.
We can’t afford them
According to the Deputy Managing Director of the bank, Mr Alfred Thompson, the Board had had a meeting and resolved that they could no longer rely on the services of Mr Tsikata, who had led them to win an appeal at the Supreme Court against the Standard Bank Offshore Trust Company Limited, over the payment of US$ 60 million judgement debt to Dominion Corporate Trustees Limited.
According to him, they have had a discussion with him and subsequently written to Mr Tsikata not to represent them in the review filed against them in “the same matter based on terms we cannot afford.”
Court’s earlier decision
In the earlier case before the apex court which it ruled in favour of the National Investment Bank, the court presided by the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, also awarded GH¢ 500,000.00 costs against the two companies represented by the renowned Ghanaian economist, and investment consultant, Mr Kwame Pianim.
By a unanimous decision, the three-member panel of judges said that Dominion Trustees had no capacity to have initiated the action and that the writ it filed at the High Court against National Investment Bank in 2013, which went in favour of the Dominion Trustees , did not indicate that, indeed, they (Dominion Trustees) were the true investors.
Consequently, the court ruled that both judgments by the High Court and the Court of Appeal that bound National Investment Bank to pay US$ 60 million to Dominion Trustees were nullified, and, therefore, there was no basis for the bank to pay the said amount.
Mr Tsikata, then lead counsel for National Investment Bank, asked the court to award GH ¢600,000.00 against the plaintiffs, but the Chief Justice, after conferring with the other two panel members, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira and Mr Justice Anthony A. Benin, settled on GH¢ 500,000.00 in favour of the Bank.