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27.03.2009 General News

Row over mining concessionTwo lawyers sued.... over alleged fraudulent practices

By Ivy Benson - Ghanaian Chronicle

An Accra Fast Track Court (FTC) yesterday granted a stay of proceedings pending appeal on a case involving a Tarkoradi-based Mining company, Sametro Company Limited and two legal practitioners over the former's mining concession in the Western Region. The decision of the court followed an appeal by the defendants against its decision to determine the suite brought against them.

The defendants have asked for a stay of proceedings on the substantive matter at the High court, on the grounds that it must await the final determination of the interlocutory action before the Court of Appeal.

The court, presided over by Justice Novisi Aryene on March 4, 2009, dismissed an application sought by the two legal practitioners, Mr. J.K. Owusu Asamani and Mr. Ekow Amua Sekyi to dismiss the suit filed by the mining company.

Sametro Company Limited raised fraudulent practices on the part of the two legal practitioners in acquiring a judgment made in their favour against the mining company and a result requested the court to set aside the said judgment.

The court, therefore, ordered the defendants to file their defence as it awarded a cost of GH¢1,000.00 against the latter. Plaintiffs further filed an application to join one Kwame Opoku of Tema, who was allegedly used in an earlier suit against it, of which they had a summary judgment over its mining concession in the Western region as a co-defendant.

According to the mining company, the application for joinder will enable the Court to effectively and permanently resolve all issues in controversy, particularly matters being raised, involving the role of KWAME OPOKU in the appointment and

instruction of Counsel or otherwise, in the said High Court case.

The Plaintiff held the view that the 1st and 2nd Defendants, who practice as lawyers in Accra and Tarkoradi respectively, acted as the solicitors of record in an earlier suit before the High Court in 2006, entitled “Kwame Opoku (trading under the name and style K. O. Consortium) Vrs. Sametro Company Ltd.”

Plaintiff pointed out that 1st defendant, J.K. Owusu Asamani did not get the instructions of Kwame Opoku to initiate any legal action on its behalf against Sametro Company Limited, while it also never received any legal suit nor instruct 2nd defendant, Ekow Amua Sekyi, who until November 2008, was a director of Plaintiff company to defend it in any court or case.

The defendants, after the ruling of the High court filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the decision of the High court and further demanded that the High court stays proceedings on the substantive matter until the appeal was completely determined.

In the substantive case initiated by Sametro Co. Ltd. against the two lawyers, the plaintiff is requesting the court to set aside an earlier judgment made against it indicating that the said judgment was obtained by the defendants on the basis of fraud. It is further demanding the court to grant a perpetual injunction restricting the defendants from having access to its gold mine concession site; in addition to a cost and damages.

It is the contention of the Plaintiff that the defendants acted in concert to perpetrate a grand scheme of fraud on the Plaintiff with the sole objective of unlawfully transferring its gold mining concession situated at Esaase Bontefufuo in the Western Region to 3rd parties for a fee.

Sametro Company Limited noted that the 2nd defendant acted unlawfully to facilitate the grant of the application for summary judgment filed by the 1st defendant in his unlawful role as Plaintiff counsel by admitting all the claims in suit.

The Plaintiff indicated that it acquired a gold mining concession at Esaase Bontefufuo in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region as a result of a Deed of Agreement dated July 4, 2005 between the Official Liquidator of Bonte Mines Ltd. and the Sametro Company Limited.

According to the Plaintiff, the defendants have acted in concert to forge other documents which led to an unlawful payment of thousands of United States dollars to the 1st Defendant in consideration for the unlawful transfer of the Plaintiff's mining concession at Esaase in the Western Region to 3rd parties.

The Plaintiff further held that the actions of the defendants were a gross abuse of professional ethics and a breach of their professional standards for legal practitioners in Ghana and has therefore petitioned the General Legal Council on the “professional misconduct” exhibited by the defendants.