Stanchart MD Convicted For Contempt

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An Accra High Court has ruled that it is holding the Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited J. Kweku Bedu-Addo for contempt.

The court, presided over by Justice Kweku T. Ackaah-Boafo, also cited Rosie Ebe-Arthur, Head of Human Resources for Ghana and West Africa of Standard Chartered for contempt before admitting the two top officers to GH¢20,000 self recognizance bail each.

J. Kweku Bedu-Addo

Ten employees, led by Mark Dennis Amoo, who are claiming that they are being affected by the bank’s redundancy programme, are currently in court fighting the bank over the right package to be paid to them.

Even before the case could be determined, the bank reportedly asked the plaintiffs to accept the disputed package or leave it.

The court, in its decision last Wednesday, ordered Mr. Bedu-Addo and Ms. Ebe-Arthur to purge themselves of contempt by June 6 when the court will determine their fate.

Notice Of Motion

By a notice of motion filed on March 1,2016 by Prince Frederick Nii Ashie Neequaye, representing Mark Dennis Amoo and the others seeking an order for committal of contempt for the two top bankers, the plaintiffs said the defendants were ‘frustrating the administration of justice.”

The hearing and determination of the injunction motion pending before was being usurped by the bankers.

According to the plaintiffs, they were being forced to drop their claim before the High Court through a letter the contemnors wrote to them on February 29, 2016 “forcing them to accept the terms of the fraudulent redundancy package being challenged in the High Court.”

Crux Of The Matter

The crux of the substantive matter is that the applicants, who are employees of the bank filed a writ against the bank and the Union of Industry Commerce and Finance Workers (UNICOF of TUC) seeking declaration that a Memorandum of Understanding dated January 22, 2016 signed between Mr. Bedu-Addo and Ms. Ebe-Arthur on behalf of the plaintiff’s is fraudulent and did not have the mandate of the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs sought an order for perpetual injunction to restrain the bank from going ahead with the deal.

They said that while the case and the motion for injunction was pending at the Labour Court for final determination, the contemnors wrote to a letter titled: ‘Letter of separation on account of redundancy’ asking the applicants to accept the terms of the letter as full and final settlement of all their claims against Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs were able to prove to the court that the said letter had been written by Ms. Ebe-Arthur on the instructions of Mr. Bedu-Addo and this had been done with the knowledge of the contemnors and their counsel in the substantive case.

Strong Defence

The contemnors, who were represented by Kwaku Bram-Larbi argued that they did no wrong by writing the February 29, 2016 letter to the plaintiffs.

The contemnors said the plaintiffs had filed interlocutory injunctions to restrain the bank from proceeding with the redundancy package contained in the MoU and a High Court had refused the applications of one of the group of plaintiffs challenging the redundancy package and that made the bank to proceed with the redundancy package initiative.

They said the High Court’s ruling, which refused an injunction for one of the group of plaintiffs, legitimized their decision to author and serve the letter on the applicants and said the court’s ruling vested the bank with a right which they acted upon.

Court’s Verdict

“Upon a deep introspection of the facts and careful consideration of the issue raised in this application I hold the respectful view that a case of contempt has been properly made against both respondents herein,” the judge held.

The court said “there is overwhelming evidence that the suit involving the bank and the applicants herein as defendants pending before the Labour Court was brought to their attention as senior officers of the bank, nevertheless they disregarded the court process and went ahead to author the letter to the applicants and in effect implement the Redundancy Package, the very act for which the application had been brought to prohibit.”

“Overall, I am satisfied that the guilt of the 1st and 2nd respondents/contemnors has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. It is important that the independence and authority of the courts within the Ghanaian democracy are asserted and safeguarded. Where the court’s authority is subverted, there is the need for correction in the plainest of terms,” Justice Ackaah-Boafo declared.

 

Source: Daily Guide

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