The Court of Appeal on Monday, June 22, 2020 dismissed an application from the Bank of Ghana (BoG), which was challenging the jurisdiction of the High Court over the revocation of GN Savings operating license.
The Central Bank had argued that the High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the complaint which is challenging the revocation of GN Saving’s license, insisting that the only lawful forum for resolving such a case is the Ghana Arbitration Centre.
However, the High Court dismissed its application in December 2019, compelling the BoG to seek for redress at the Court of Appeal.
At a hearing today, the Appeals Court presided over by Justice Ackah Yensu with Justices L. L. Mensah and Anthony Oppong, unanimously dismissed the Central Bank’s application, directing it to go back to the High Court and justify why it revoked the operating license of GN Savings.
Counsel for GN Savings, Justice Srem-Sai, said he was worried about the legal gymnastics employed by the BoG which is aimed at stalling the case and in the process distorting the course of justice.
In October 2019, BoG and the Attorney-General raised a preliminary legal objection to the case brought by Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom and two other shareholders of GN Savings and Loans Limited.
In the objection, the BoG and the Attorney-General argued that the High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the complaint which is challenging the revocation of GN Saving’ license. According to the Attorney-General and the Bank of Ghana’s lawyers the only lawful forum for resolving the Applicants’ concerns is the Ghana Arbitration Centre.
This argument was opposed by Mr. Srem-Sai.
In December 2019, the presiding High Court judge, Justice Gifty Adjei-Addo, dismissed the legal objection as frivolous and without merit.
She then ordered the BoG, the Attorney-General and the Receiver of GN Savings to file their defenses by January 17, 2020.
The BoG and the Attorney-General failed to file their defense on January 17, 2020 as directed by the court.
Rather, BoG appealed the High Court’s decision. It also filed an application at the High Court for a stay of the High Court’s proceedings pending the determination of the appeal.
Lawyers for Dr Nduom, again, opposed the application for stay of proceedings, arguing that it was a mere ploy to delay the proceedings as the BoG has not demonstrated that some exceptional circumstances exist to justify a stay.
The application for stay of proceedings was accordingly dismissed as without merit.
By this time the case had reached mid-March 2020.
The trial judge, then, ordered all the parties to file their defenses and closing address by April 13, 2020 but the BoG and Attorney-General failed to do so.
While still yet to file a defense to the substantive case in the High Court, the lawyers for the BoG rather appealed to the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s ruling which dismissed their application for stay of proceedings.
While all this was going on, the lawyers of the Bank of Ghana had not taken any steps to prosecute their first appeal. For example, they failed to attend the High Court Registrar’s summons to settle the records of appeal. They also failed to satisfy the conditions of appeal which was served on them way back in February 2020.
Fed up with the delays and evasiveness of the Bank of Ghana’s lawyers, the High Court Registrar wrote to the Court of Appeal Registrar and recommended that the Court of Appeal should strike out the entire appeal for abuse of the court process.