Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI) has filed arbitration processes at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) challenging an order directed at it to refund 25 million euros to Ghana.
In effect, Waterville Holdings is praying the ICC, which is based in London, to overturn a Supreme Court order directed at it to refund the amount.
But the Attorney-General’s Department has opposed the application and has since filed a counter-claim.
The state is telling the ICC that Waterville was not entitled to the claim and must, therefore, not be entertained.
“We are currently in the process of constituting the tribunal,” the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, told the Daily Graphic in an interview in Hamburg, Germany, where she is leading a legal and technical team to battle Cote d’Ivoire over its maritime boundary claims.
“One of the main things we are saying is that the ICC lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the arbitral proceedings instituted by Waterville Holdings. This is because the Supreme Court has already dealt with the issues raised in the arbitration,” she said.
Supreme Court order
On June 14, 2013, the Supreme Court directed the international construction firm, Waterville Holdings, to refund all the money paid to it by the Ghana government on the premise that it had no valid and constitutional contractual agreement with the government.
Waterville is expected to refund 25 million euros it received from the government following the court’s judgement that the said contract it entered into with the government for stadia construction for CAN 2008 was unconstitutional.
The Attorney-General’s Department has filed the necessary processes to retrieve the amount but the construction company has resorted to the court of arbitration for redress.
The June 14, 2013 order was premised on the ground that the contract which led to the payment to Waterville had contravened Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, which required such contracts to go to Parliament for approval.
A former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Martin Alamisi Amidu, had, in the original suit, prayed the court to order Waterville Holdings and businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome to refund the money.
Woyome was paid GH¢51.2 million which arose out of the said contract.
The Supreme Court had originally declined to order Woyome to refund the money, with the explanation that the High Court was hearing that matter.
But on July 29, 2014, it departed from its earlier position after Mr Amidu had filed for a review.
On February 11, 2015, the Supreme Court adjourned the application for enforcement sine die because lawyers for Woyome and Waterville were absent in court.
But the Attorney-General’s Department was represented by Mrs Helen Awo Ziwu, the acting Solicitor-General, and Mrs Stella Badu, a Chief State Attorney.
Contract null and void
In the Waterville judgement, the court declared as null and void and of no operative effect a contract titled: “Contract for the Rehabilitation (Design, Construction, Fixtures, Fittings and Equipment) of a 40,000 Seating Capacity Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana” entered into between the Republic of Ghana and Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI), of P.O. Box 3444, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands on April 26, 200