Rawlings in court; backs taxi driver in breach of contract case

rawA Fast-Track High Court in Accra has asked former President Jerry John Rawlings to seek an out of court settlement in a case in which he is backing a taxi driver.

The taxi driver, Fio Yohannes, brought the suit against Melbond Microfinance Company, accusing the company of breach of contract, and has the backing of the former president.

Mr. Rawlings, who was in court Wednesday, had tried to have the matter settled but a letter he wrote to the company following an appeal to him by the driver was ignored.

Through Kwabena Andoh, his secretary, Mr. Rawlings in a letter dated February 2, 2015 said, “Our office will be grateful if you can urgently look into the matter and review your stance as the economic circumstances of Mr. Yohanes have been negatively affected by your failure to heed his calls for a replacement of vehicle. He is only but a poor, vulnerable young man seeking to work hard to sustain his family.”

But Melbond Microfinance ignored the letter.

Yohannes’ case is that, on May 10, 2013, he entered into a hire purchase agreement with Melbond Microfinance for a Nissan Almera at the cost of GH¢15,172 and an interest of GH¢15,172.

The plaintiff, according the statement of claim, “paid a contribution of GH¢2,400 towards the purchase of the said vehicle and made a weekly installment payment of GH¢236.2 for 12 months totaling about GH¢9,140.” The contract was for a period of 30 months.

He further averred that “Clause 5 of the other terms and conditions of the said agreement stated that the Defendant as lender would provide financial assistance to the Plaintiff as borrower in the event that the vehicle experiences any breakdown in body works, engine or gear box and such assistance will be added to the Plaintiff’s obligations towards the Defendant.”

Twelve months into the contract, the vehicle was involved in an accident on May 31, 2014.

Yohannes contends that even though he “paid the insurance premiums for comprehensive insurance cover for the said vehicle and incurred expenses after the accident, he was informed that the Defendant was the loss payee on the insurance policy and as such Defendant was paid the full amount recoverable from the insurance policy for the said vehicle on or about 17th October, 2014.”

All attempts to get Melbond Microfinance to replace the vehicle proved futile forcing him to bring the suit.

Yohannes is demanding an immediate purchase of a new vehicle for the hire purchase agreement to continue or in the alternative “refund the total amounts of money he expended on the said vehicle as follows: GH¢2400 contribution he made towards the hire purchase agreement; GH¢9140 being the total of the weekly installment payments he made to Defendant without ever defaulting; GH¢850 as expenses on the vehicle after the accident consisting of police report and vehicle test; the insurance premiums he paid on the said vehicle and damages for breach of contract and loss of income of GH¢20,000.”

When the case was called, presiding judge, Justice Robin Batu, asked Mr. Rawlings to mediate the dispute outside the court.

The former president later told Joy News’ Elton Brobbey there is too much impunity going on.

Even though he didn’t sound too confident in the willingness and ability of the parties to reach a settlement, Mr. Rawlings promised to try his best.

The parties expected in court on July 23, 2015, to inform the corut on whether an agreement has been reached. The terms of settlement will be filed in and adopted by the court, if they reach a settlement

source: myjoyonline.com