Regional News of Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Source: Daily Guide
An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Bright Mensah has ordered a US couple to return seized properties belonging to a former Member of Parliament for Evalue-Gwira, Catherine Afeku in a ruling on March 5, this year to put on hold an earlier judgement granting the US couple the right to seize her property until the final determination of the case.
Justice Bright Mensah ruled that the properties be returned to the former MP because the earlier decision by the court was ‘tainted by fraud and deceit practised on the court.”
The defendants in the case, Patricia Gick, Bill Gick, David Thomas and Francis Kaku Nokoe are to return the Mitsubishi Diamante saloon car with registration number AS 7323 W, Nissan Navara Pick-up with registration number GC 3300-09 and a building at Lower Axim with house number LVC/73 belonging to the former MP and her husband.
The said properties had gone to the defendants in an earlier court judgment with suit number 245/06, which the Plaintiffs, Catherine Afeku, Seth Afeku and Polymath Enterprise Limited, had challenged to be tainted by fraud and deceit.
The court presided over by Justice Bright Mensah agreed that the earlier decision was “tainted by fraud and deceit practised on the court”.
The court also put on hold the earlier judgment pending the final determination of the substantive case.
“Pending the final determination of this suit, the judgment in question is stayed. The defendants, their agents, assigns or anyone claiming through them are restrained from enforcing the judgment in suit No. 245/06,” Justice Bright Mensah noted. Counsel for the applicants, Godfred Yeboah Dame, in arguing his clients’ case cited a case, Merchant Bank (GH) Ltd v Similar Ways Ltd (2012) SCGLR 440, to buttress his point for the stay of execution of the earlier judgment.
Counsel also referred to Poku v Poku (2007 – 2008) SCGLR 996 (Holding 2) and re-echoed the principle that fraud initiates everything including the solemn judgments of the court. Counsel further reiterated that in one case even where neither Counsel had specifically raise fraud, the Supreme Court had held that the court nevertheless had a duty to set aside the registration of a land procured by fraud.
In his respectful view, the instant suit was a proper case where the court ought to stay execution of the judgment and restrain the defendants from enforcing it.
He therefore, urged the court to grant the application which the court did.
In 2006, the Gick family dragged the Afekus to court for defaulting in a business enterprise which both families funded.
They had argued that since they were partners in an internet café set up in Ghana by the Afekus, they were entitled to a percentage of the proceeds from the said business.
But the Afekus strongly contested that proceeds from the said business were used to carter for their son, David Thomas, who was in their custody after the two parties had agreed for him to be catered for by the former.
The court presided over by Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, after listening to arguments and counter arguments of the Afekus and the Gick families, pronounced the former guilty of fraud and ordered them to pay the US couple an amount of $217,464 with interest.
In 2013, Francis Kaku Nokoe, whom the US couple had given power of attorney, filed another application to compel the court to auction the properties (both movable and immovable) of the Afekus to offset the cost after failing to pay the amount awarded by the court but the Afekus also took the case to court to overturn the decision because they thought they did not get proper justice.