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07.03.2013 Social News

Supreme Court freezes payment to Isofoton

By GNA
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Accra, March 7, GNA - The Supreme Court, sitting in Accra on Thursday, granted an application filed by Mr Martin Amidu, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, praying the court for an order for preservation of the status quo in respect of judgment debt payment to the Spanish firm, Isofoton.

The court also ordered that the balance of payment to Isofoton as well as the garnishee order obtained by the Spanish firm from the High Court be stayed till the determination of the case.

The court further granted the Attorney General (AG) the leave to withdraw the application for stay of execution.

Mr Martin Amidu has filed an application at the Supreme Court asking the court for an order for preservation of the status quo before the determination of the substantive case which relates to the constitutionality of judgment debt payment.

Mr Martin Amidu, in moving his application with supporting affidavits, prayed the court to maintain the status quo on the judgment debt payment to Isofoton till the determination of the case.

He said there were efforts by the state and the company to reach an out-of-court settlement with the company to be paid an amount of 1.3 dollars million.

He argued that Mr Anane Forson, a defendant in the suit, could not use his claim of a power of attorney from the company to raise an objection to his suit.  

However, Mr Owusu-Yeboah, Counsel for Mr  Forson, in moving his application, argued that they had a fundamental problem with the plaintiff's motion and what he was seeking to do based on rule five of the Supreme Court.

He said the Supreme Court, if anything at all, was seized with the power to give directions on the matter rather than what the plaintiff sought to do.

He said the Attorney General's Office, as the judgment debtor, was the proper organization to order the court to prevent the payment and not the complainant.

Mr Kizito Beyuo, Counsel for Isofoton SA, said the argument by the complainant that the payment to the Spanish firm was unconstitutional and illegal could not be sustained.

He said the amount that was agreed to be paid to Isofoton did not arise from the court  process but from a compromise for the expenses incurred.

He said the plaintiff still agreed that the action was not put before Parliament.

Mrs Sylvia Adorsu, a Principal State Attorney, in moving her application, said the office was not totally opposed to the plaintiff's motion for the preservation of the money pending the determination of the suit.

She prayed the court to give directions on the matter since it was not right for the judgment to be executed while the suit was still pending at the court. 

The facts are that Isofoton SA brought an action in 2008 against the state and secured a default judgment with no specific amount.

The state went to court in 2009 and filed processes in an attempt to set aside that default judgment.

The state, however, did not continue with that process but instead reached an out-of-court settlement with the company to pay an amount of .3 million.

On the September 28, 2010, the settlement agreement was filed and adopted by the court on September 29, 2010.

The state paid 400,000 dollars and indicated the mode of payment of the remainder.

It, however, defaulted, prompting Isofoton to garnishee the Agriculture Ministry's Accounts on November 21, 2011.

On April 20, 2012, the AG tried to set aside the garnishee process but failed and on June 5, 2012 applied for a stay of execution which the court threw out.

GNA

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