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26.04.2007 General News

You are the thief

By myjoyonline

The two principal players in the telecoms wrangling between Kasapa Telecom and Kludjeson International, Messrs Robert Pallitz and Kofi Kludjeson, were at each other's throat Thursday morning as they hurled fraud charges at each other.

The two gentlemen featured on Joy FM's Super Morning Show to share light on the running legal dispute over the telecommunications investment that has already travelled three years, and they ended up painting a vividly worrying picture of a battle sure to endure more mileage.

“You are the thief”, “Fraudster”, “criminal” were words that freely shot out of the two gentlemen as show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah intervened intermittently to remind them to mind their language.

The Fast Track High Court in Accra on Wednesday gave judgement in favour of Kludjeson International in a case brought against Kasapa.

Among other decisions, the court upheld Kludjeson's shareholding status in Kasapa, which had evolved from Celltel, a company owned by Kludjeson and ordered that the name Kasapa be reverted to Celltel. The court also asked the Registrar-General to cancel the certificate of incorporation of Kasapa.

The trial judge Justice Victor Offoe, also ordered that Mr. Pallitz and other directors of Kasapa cease from holding themselves as directors for Kasapa.

Apart from awarding a 25 million cedi cost against the defendants, the court also restrained Trustee Services Limited, a law firm, from holding themselves as Secretaries of Kasapa.

The judge however asked that actions of the said directors should be allowed to stand since nullifying them would have far reaching implications.

Celltel founder, Prince Kofi Kludjeson had told the court that Mr Pallitz and his board failed to recognise him as a 20 percent shareholder.

The ruling however contradicts an earlier ruling by another High Court affirming Robert Palitz as Managing Director.

And Mr Palitz, who immediately after the judgement served notice he was going to appeal against the new decision, told Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah that Mr Kludjeson ceased to be a shareholder in Kasapa in January 2005 because he violated the shareholder agreement.

“Mr. Kludjeson lost his shares by breaching the shareholders agreement by allowing one of his many other creditors who sued him successfully to have a charge on our shares, to encumber the shares of the company and that is not permitted in the company. We wrote to him but he did not reply.”

Mr. Pallitz described the court's decision as a 'mysterious' one, and quoted a decision of the High Court of 27 of April 2005 which upheld him and his directors as the rightful directors of the company. He said the change of name of Celltel was legally done.

He said it was followed by another High court decision in their favour in a case brought once again by Kludjeson, which the court found to be only a repetition of the earlier case.

Pallitz said even in the instant case that gave judgement in favour of Kludjeson, he actually filed a processes to stop it which is still pending before the courts.

He quoted another decision by the High Court presided by Justice Baffoe-Banney which found Mr. Kludjeson guilty of fraudulent activities and among other decisions barred Mr. Kludjeson from holding himself out as “director or in any way, whether directly or indirectly, be concerned with or taking part in a management in any company or acting as auditor, receiver or liquidator of any company in Ghana incorporated under the code for a period of four years,” from the date of the judgement.

Pallitz said as far as that court ruling is concerned, the management of Kasapa cannot sit with Mr. Kludjeson to talk about the company.

Mr. Kludjeson denied the fraud charge and said even Justice Baffoe-Bonney put a stay of execution on his own ruling, a claim Pallitz counter denied and said the stay was only to allow an appeal hearing which was eventually thrown out.

Mr. Kludjeson however maintained that the Accra Fast Track High Court presided by Justice Offoe ruled on Wednesday that Pallitz and his group were fraudulently occupying their current position in the company because no proper processes appointed them to their post.

“Yesterday, let me say again, the Accra Fast Track High Court, the same court, found Bob Pallitz that he is not, you know … that he has never been appointed, by documents that he brought, …and the court ruled that he is not.”

The verbal exchange only subsided when a management consultant, Nana Ato Conduah interjected and said there is a lot to straighten out between the parties, but prior to that he was more disturbed by the seeming lack of desire to protect the partnership interest.

“When a partnership breaks down, it doesn't mean that the business has broken down, there is still an interest that needs to be protracted. I am not too sure at this particular point in time, whether the court ruling giving Mr Kludjeson some interest in the company will be pursued by him with the mudslinging I'm hearing here and there. I will first of all request the two parties, that since we have a major clause in articles of partnership on the resolution of disputes, at arbitration we use that channel.”

He said he was worried that the two men were destroying reputations and also the Kasapa brand which were at best, a very dangerous road to trek especially for competition.

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