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Court to rule on motion by BoG on February 16

Posted : February 06, 2015

The Industrial and Labour Court hearing the case involving Government and the 12 labour unions on Monday adjourned the case for ruling on the motion filed by the second defendant to February 16.

The adjournment was after counsel for the defendants reacted in opposition to the motion filed by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the second defendant, to set aside the counter claim filed against them by the 12 defendants.

Mr Anthony Akoto-Ampaw, Counsel for the defendants, said they were opposed to the application by the BoG, saying, the application was ill-conceived and does not take into account that the second defendant to the counter claim holds the temporary occupational funds accounts that vested to members of the defendants.

He said this was the fundamental weak link in their application, and it was clear that the defendants had brought their complaint due to the National Pension’s Act 2008.

He argued that in so far as the BoG was in temporary custody of the trust fund belonging to members of the defendants, they could not escape the duties of a trustee that the law generally imposed on it, saying this was the basic reason why they had been joined as second defendants to the counter-claim.

Mr Akoto-Ampaw said the law enjoined the BoG as the custodians of the said fund to disclose to the beneficiary workers funds it held to their benefits.

He told the court that all the provisions in the Pensions Act in respect of the occupational pensions scheme placed the BoG in a position where it was expected not only to hold the trust funds but also to invest them in any ordinarily prudent manner or business.

According to the counsel, this duty arose not only on the basis of general duties of a trustee and the position of the application by the BoG would defeat the whole essence of the Pension’s Fund.

He said the second defendant to the counter claim misconstrued its duties as a temporary trustee under the act and as such must be joined as parties to the suit.

“Strike out is a clean case when it is manifestly apparent, even when the facts are proved the plaintiff would not be entitled to the relief it seeks. An application of this nature ought not to be entered in cases involving serious issues of law. Application is not suitable where issues of law and facts would emerge for the determination of trial”.

Mr Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for the Bank of Ghana, said the submission by the counsel for the defendants was a clear case of an abuse of the court process.

He said the funds in the Trust Fund, vested in the member only where they had been transferred by the board to the approved trustees.

He said the BoG had no access to the account by way of withdrawal because it had not been licensed by the board, and therefore there could not be any course of action by any member against the BoG in relation to the funds.

“It is inappropriate to have sued the BoG, which is not owner of an account, cannot touch the account, and has no legal basis to invest the money”.

Mr Codjoe argued that the interpretation put before the court by the counsel for the defendants, on Act 218 section 14 relating to the duties of the pensions fund managers, did not in any way state or require the BoG to invest the money.

“It is only a person who has access to an account in a bank that can go into the account or have power to invest the money and not the bank. The money is just a temporal account by the employer with the BoG”.

He reiterated that the BoG had no interest whatsoever, and prayed the court to allow their application.

The case was later adjourned to February 16 for ruling.

At the last sitting the Counsel for the Bank of Ghana, Samuel Codjoe, moved the motion for the court to strike out a writ against them by the 12 labour unions.

Mr Codjoe said the counter claim did not disclose any course of action against the Bank of Ghana and also was an abuse of the legal process.

He prayed that the counter claim should be dismissed and also the matter to the circumstances be set aside as against the application before the court.

He told the court that the BoG served only as a depository temporary receiver of the funds for the employer, saying under the law BoG, as a depository of the fund set up under section 218, deals with the one who deposited the funds, thus the employer.

He argued that the BoG could not transfer the funds and, therefore, the position the defence counsel was setting was false.

He said if the paragraphs referring to the BoG were struck out, BoG ceased to be a party.

“The relief itself shows that the defence counsel themselves are aware that it is the Government of Ghana (GoG) which is expected to pay monthly remittance in respect of members of the defence into designated bank accounts and not the BoG and, therefore, cannot be held responsible for any purported peculiar losses associated to members of the defence”.

Mr Codjoe said following the alleged failure of the GoG to do its duties, to proceed against the BoG in the circumstance would amount to an abuse of the court process.

The case was later adjourned to February 2 for the defence counsel to react to the motion. GNA

$25,000 For SADA Is Insult – Bawumia
DR. Mahamudu Bawumia, running mate to Nana Akufo– Addo for the 2016 presidential election, has described the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government’s allocation of GH¢400,000 to the five Sahara Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) regions – or an average of GH¢80,000 ($25,000) per region – as an insult to Ghanaians and the people of the SADA areas.

Dr. Bawumia made this point while speaking to students of the Tamale Polytechnic at a forum organized by the Tertiary Education Confederacy (TESCON) – tertiary wing of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – in Tamale yesterday.

Commenting on the authority, Dr. Bawumia said, “The case of SADA is= especially sad with the misapplication of resources meant for northern development by northerners who should have been more empathetic towards their own.

“The stealing of these monies has a direct impact on the suffering of our people.

Imagine the number of boreholes that could have been constructed, clinics, schools, etc.”

Dr. Bawumia then proceeded to comment on the government’s allocation to SADA for 2015 as contained in the 2015 budget presented to parliament.

“To add insult to injury, the 2015 budget allocation is GH¢400,000. i.e. an average of GH¢80,000 per region or $25,000 for each of the five SADA regions for 2014. GH¢80,000 or US$25,000 is just about the amount the government spends on building one 3- classroom block. It cannot even build a 6-classroom block per the government’s own figures. This is against a promise of GH¢100 million per year for 20 years for SADA! In fact, the 2014 budget allocation of GH¢400,000 for SADA is an insult to all of us. How will this amount impact on the development in the north?” he queried.

Touching on the current sorry state of the Ghanaian economy, Dr. Bawumia explained to the students and other residents of Tamale who had taken time to go to the campus to hear him, that the current malaise is the result of the mismanagement of the economy since 2009 and the “unprecedented levels of corruption.”

Using concrete data to support his comments, Dr. Bawumia pointed out that since 2009, the NDC administration had accrued unprecedented resources from taxes, gold, cocoa, loans and oil.

“In the area of taxation, the NDC government has collected a total of some GH¢62 billion in the last six years (2009-2014). In the eight years of the NPP government, the total tax revenue collected was GH¢15.2 billion.

“The NDC government has borrowed the equivalent of some $27 billion (i.e. the US dollar value of the debt at the time of borrowing) between 2009 and 2014. During the eight-year government of the NPP (2001-2008) the government borrowed the equivalent of some $5 billion,” he noted.

Continuing, he recalled, “Ghana’s gold exports over the last six years under the NDC government amounted to $25 billion. In the eight years of the NPP government, total gold exports amounted to some $9 billion.

“Ghana’s cocoa exports over the last six years under the NDC government amounted to some $14.5 billion. In the eight years of the NPP government, total gold export amounted to some $7.4 billion.

Indeed, cocoa and gold prices were some 50% higher in the period 2009- 2014 than the 2001-2008 period,” the renowned economist pointed out.

Adding the oil factor, he said, “Ghana has also become an oil exporter during the period of the NDC government. Ghana has exported some $13.7 billion of oil in the last four years.

There were no oil revenues accruing from oil exports during the 2001-2008 period of the NPP government.”

Dr. Bawumia noted that despite these resources, if the country is broke and cannot afford to fulfil basic statutory demands and payments and had had to seek refuge in the IMF, then it could not be an issue of resources but one of mismanagement and corruption, likening the government to an individual who is blessed with so much resources but ends up broke because of mismanagement.

He also informed the audience that the NDC’s recent claims of undertaking so many projects could not be sustained because the data showed that despite all these resources and the added oil revenue, Ghana is now spending a lesser proportion of its income on capital expenditure/ infrastructure than it did before the production of oil.

“The increase in oil revenues notwithstanding, capital expenditure as a % of GDP has actually been on the decline from 7.1% of GDP in 2009 to 5.2% by 2015. It is in fact, a travesty that Ghana, before the discovery of oil, was spending a higher proportion of its income on infrastructure investment than after the discovery of oil.

He charged, “So next time you here an NDC official try to convince you that they have done a lot of projects, remind them that in fact, they have not.”



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