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Court dismisses Receiver’s case against uniBank, orders parties back to arbitration

A High Court in Accra has dismissed a case brought before it against the shareholders of uniBank by the Receiver, Nii Amanor Dodoo.

The presiding judge, Justice Jenifer Dadzie, ruled that Mr. Amanor Dodoo did not have the capacity to issue a writ in his own name in the manner that it was done.

The judge also dismissed an injunction which had stalled the arbitration process, being presided over by former Supreme Court judge, Dr. Justice Dateh- Baah.

Justice Abena Dadzie, who is presiding over the case in which the Directors of uniBank are contesting the revocation of the bank’s license earlier appointed Justice Dateh Baah as the sole arbiter to determine whether the decision to place the bank into receivership breached the law.

She has since directed all parties to continue with the arbitration process.

The Directors of uniBank, which was one of five banks merged by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), into the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited, are contesting the revocation of the bank’s license, which they have described as unlawful.

This decision by the judge is the latest in a series of crucial decisions for the bank’s directors after an order was secured from the court to join the Attorney General to the original suit.

The Receiver had earlier filed an application asking the court to dismiss the counterclaim from the lawyer of the bank’s directors, Yaw Oppong, for the restoration of the license, arguing that it was “frivolous” and “lacked merit”

He also argued that the proper forum to address matters relating to revocation of licenses under Act 930 is an arbitration forum and not regular litigation.

The lawyer for the bank’s Directors, however, opposed this, stating that even if an Arbitration was the right forum to address their concerns, it does not warrant the dismissal of the case.
The Judge sustained this argument by the lawyer, agreeing that arbitration does not oust the jurisdiction of the commercial court in the matter.

“Where the law admits a preference for arbitration proceedings, any proceedings before the court should be stayed pending the determination of arbitration proceedings upon an application…,” she said.

The judge observed that the matters for arbitration fall within section 141 of Act 930 and includes the matter of revocation of uniBank’s license mentioned in the counterclaim.

The ruling added that “ in such matters, the authorities are clear; the court is to stay proceedings in respect of the issues that fall under the ambit of the provisions of Act 930 while the parties attempt to resolve those particular issues through arbitration.”

The judge stayed proceedings on the matter at the commercial court pending the determination by the arbiter.

Revocation of license

Announcing the consolidation of uniBank along with the other banks on August 1, 2018, the Governor of the BoG, Dr. Ernest Addison said reports from the official administrator, KPMG stated that uniBank was balance sheet insolvent.

“Among other things, the bank’s interest income and other sources of income are insufficient to cover the associated cost of funds of underlying borrowings and liabilities, as well as overheads of about GH¢0.31 billion per annum.”

These claims have, however, been challenged by the bank’s directors.

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