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28.03.2006 General News

Businessmen urged to embrace ADR system


Kumasi, March 28, GNA - Mr. S. Kwami Tetteh, President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has asked members of the business community to embrace the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism in order to resolve disputes expeditiously and promote business growth in the country. He said if economic progress of the nation could be achieved, there was the need for a speedy resolution of economic and industrial disputes.

Mr Tetteh made the call at a sensitisation seminar on arbitration and alternative dispute resolution mechanism in Ghana for some selected members of the business community in Kumasi on Tuesday. It was organised by the Private Enterprises Foundation (PEF) in collaboration with the Ghana Arbitration Centre (GAC) and sponsored by the Konrad Adeneaur Foundation. Mr Tetteh, who is also the Vice President of the GAC, said the traditional courts were currently overloaded and there was the need for business partners to identify and agree on how to resolve their disputes, adding that, law suits should be the last resort. He observed that, the courts were supportive of arbitration and other dispute resolution mechanisms and hinted that, business disputes were currently moving away from the courts in the developed world.

Mr Emmanuel Amofa, the administrative manager of GAC said the Centre had over the past nine years be at the forefront of using alternative disputes resolution to resolve commercial, investment and constructional disputes in the country. He said investors preferred destinations where disputes could be adjudicated expeditiously. Mr Amofa said the GAC was not established as a substitute or competitor to the existing judicial system but to find an expeditious settlement of commercial disputes.

Mr Thomas Wabi Bello, Ashanti Regional chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), said the long time spent in courts affected business growth in Ghana. He said alternative dispute resolution was an important pillar in the growth of the economy. Mr Anthony Osei Poku, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the GBA denied that lawyers were against the ADR system and said lawyers were even interested in the speedy settlement of disputes to enable them take their fees.

Mr Justice Yaw Appau, Supervising Judge of Kumasi, who chaired the function, said judges were not always appreciated with litigation, especially in business. He said ADR was a Ghanaian traditional system of resolving disputes, which had been abandoned over the years and urged Ghanaians, especially those in the business community to embrace to help ensure speedy resolution of disputes.