Court upholds decision in Tsatsu, MODEC case

The Court of Appeal has for the second time, dismissed an application on behalf of Jubilee MV 21, the subsidiary of MODEC which constructed and installed FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, seeking to set aside the ruling by another judge of the same court.

In a terse ruling, the three-member panel, presided by Justice Paul K. Gyaseayo, said : “We have studied the ruling of the single judge and are not persuaded to depart from the ruling”.

The court therefore awarded a cost of GH¢2,000 against MODEC.

The application,  filed by Mr. Kizito Beyuo, counsel for MODEC, sought among other things,  a stay proceedings in an action brought against them by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, a shareholder and chief executive of Strategic Oil and Gas Resources.

It is the case of the defendants that Justice Ackah-Ayensu of the Court of Appeal made an error in law in her earlier ruling.

Mr. Beyuo, counsel for Jubilee MV-21 and Mr. Hideo Miyashita, asked the court to stay proceedings on grounds that he had filed an appeal against a ruling of the High Court refusing to set aside service of notice of the writ of summons of claim on his client, currently in Netherland and Japan, respectively.

Mr. Tony Lithur, counsel for Mr. Tsikata, opposed the application.

Justice Ackah-Yensu, in dismissing the application, stated that the applicants had not shown any special circumstances warranting a stay of proceedings, therefore, granting their application would simply delay the hearing of the substantive case.

She ordered the defendants to file appearance in the suit within seven days, followed by their defence to the suit.

Otherwise, the application pending before the High Court for judgement in default of defence could proceed, she said.

Prior to this application for stay of proceedings, a similar application by the defendants had been struck out by the Court of Appeal in July this year, for non-appearance by counsel, but same was re-listed on the counsel’s application.

An attempt by the defendants to have the High Court set aside the order for service of the notice of the writ of summons and the statement of claim on the defendants outside the jurisdiction, was dismissed by Justice Jennifer Dodoo in a ruling delivered on April 26.

Counsel for the defendants, after filing an appeal against the ruling, applied to Justice Dodoo for a stay of proceedings, but the application was refused.

Counsel again repeated the application before the Court of Appeal.

The case was initiated in July 2015 by writ of summons in which Mr. Tsikata is claiming orders of injunction, as well as damages for inducement of contract and for conspiracy and tortuous interference with contractual and business relations, among other reliefs.

In the statement of claim, it is alleged that the defendants in July 2010, made fraudulent representations to the Jubilee partners concerning an agreement with Strategic Oil and Gas Resources, a company in which plaintiff was shareholder and chief executive, representations which were libelous of the plaintiff and caused damage to himself and the company.

 

By Malik Sullemana     

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