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14.05.2006 Business & Finance

GIA Case To Be Settled By Mediation

By Times

THE case between Ghana International Airline (GIA) and its minority shareholder, GIA-United States Limited, is to be settled out-of-court through mediation.

The Commercial Court hearing the case has therefore stayed proceedings to enable the mediation to take place.

The court, presided over by Mr. Justice Samuel Marful Sau, took the decision at the request of the Attorney-General who is a party to the suit, in accordance with clause 19 of the shareholders agreement.

The court also struck out the name of Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, the Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, from the suit following a motion by the Solicitor-General that the Minister acted in his official capacity.

This was not challenged by the plaintiff's counsel.

With this development, the two parties, the Attorney General and GIA on one hand, and GIA-USA Limited, on the other have up to six weeks to go for mediation or if unsuccessful, go for arbitration in Holland as the shareholders agreement states.

Mr. Kwame Acheampong Boateng, representing GIA-USA Limited said he wished the court would “tie us to a time frame”, because “there is the possibility that some of us will go to sleep from here leaving the matter in abeyance”.

But Joe Ghartey, the Attorney-General designate, who represented himself and the Chief of Staff, told the court that once clause 19 of the agreement sets out the time frame within which to complete the mediation process, “counsel has nothing to fear.

“I wish to assure the court that we will ensure that the tenets of the shareholders agreement are strictly adhered to”, he said.

Mr. Ghartey disputed counsel's claim that the two parties had previously failed in their bid to mediate and said, “in all those attempts, the mediators did not act in their official capacities”.

In the main suit, GIA-USA Limited sought an injunction to restrain the GIA Board of Directors from acting contrary to the company's regulations and shareholders' agreement.

Plaintiffs said the purported termination of the appointment of the management team by the Chief of Staff and a section of the GIA board was null and void and contravened the shareholders' agreement.

The Attorney General's affidavit in support of the motion to stay proceedings in the matter had said among other things that the plaintiffs failed to exhaust clause 19 of the shareholders' agreement before going to court.

The affidavit said that the entire shareholders' agreement stipulates that the parties resolve disputes by the alternative dispute resolution mechanism and that the suit offended the letter and spirit of the agreement.

Early last month the Chief of Staff and a section pf the GIA board purportedly terminated the appointment of the management team for non-performance, sparking the legal tussle between the two shareholders.