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Business News of Tuesday, 24 February 2004

Source: The Independent

Big Fight Over Wahome Steel Plant

Unknown to Ghanaians, a raging legal battle is underway in the courts over Wahome Steel Limited between some Ghanaians and Indians over a lease agreement on steel plant at Tema and business agreements between the two parties.

As the case rages in the court, the Indian investors have been locked out of the premises of Wahome Steel Limited though they have invested US$1million in the company?s operations. The lease agreement on the Wahome Steel Plant dated 14th December 2001 was signed between Wahome Steel Ltd. And Lessor and Intrinsic Resources Ghana Ltd., as Lessee and is for a term of three years from 14th December 2001 to 13th November, 2004. The parties to the case are Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, Ms. Genevieve Pitcher and Ashok Jain, all of 22 Banana Street, East Legon, Accra as Plaintiff-Respondents and Saber Chauddhary of APT, 47 Grosvenor Square, London, SW1 and Intrinsic Resource Resources LLC, 2021 Ventura Blvd, Suite 302, Woodlands, CA 91364, USA and Ralph Curtis as Defendant-Respondents.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie is also the Chairman of the Busia Foundation. Details of the case available to this paper show that the Indians have made several representations to the Chief of Staff, Inspector General of Police other high-ranking Government officials.

A statement of claim filed on behalf of Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto and the other Plaintiffs on August 14, 2003 at the High Court, Accra, said they invited Saber Chauddhary, who is domiciled in London to Accra in 2000, after which they visited various businesses on divestiture and had various meetings with executives and Ministers of state leading to an agreement to invest in Wahome Steel Ltd., a stressed joint venture company with substantial SSNIT holding, culminating in the incorporation of Intrinsic Resources Ltd. in Ghana.

It is the case of the plaintiffs that the understanding that existed between them and Saber Chauddhary was that they would become business partners and that they will form Intrinsic Resource Ghana Ltd. whose shares would be held by Intrinsic Resources LLC of the USA. They maintain that following the lease agreement Intrinsic Resources Ghana Ltd. entered into as asset lease agreement with Wahome Steel but when the operations of the plant started, all calls to the Saber Chauddhary to have the allotment of shares in Intrinsic Resources LLC and their interest settled were ignored.

They further maintain that as a result of the strained relationship between the two parties Saber Chauddhary fled the country after they discovered that he had made illegal transfers of funds and later received a fax from him to the effect that they have been suspended as directors of the company.