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Tony Lithur Takes On Awuni   
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An Accra Commercial Court will today, hear an application brought before it by Mr. Tony Lithur, counsel for Fortiz Equity Fund, against the action taken by Andrew Awuni to revert the sale of Merchant Bank.

Mr. Lithur is praying the court to dismiss Mr. Awuni’s suit, which he has described as too weak and does not have enough grounds to halt further transactions on the deal.

His application states that Mr. Awuni, who is the Executive Director of the Center for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA), does not have the capacity to challenge the sale in court though he was a contributor to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

It further states that Mr. Awuni was not a party to the deal and, therefore, did not have the right to challenge it.

Counsel for Mr. Awuni, Mr. Hassan Tampuli of Faibille and Faibille, told The Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday that his team of lawyers had filed an affidavit in opposition to Mr. Lithur’s application.
The hearing of Mr. Lithur’s application sequel to a suit filed by Mr. Awuni against 13 institutions and persons at the same court on the sale of the bank.

Mr. Awuni, on November 15, filed a writ at an Accra High Court to revert the deal which he has described on several platforms as fraudulent and did not show value for money.

He, therefore, filed an interlocutory injunction on November 22 to halt further transactions on the sale, pending the determination of the court but has decided to discontinue the matter and rather pursue it in the Commercial Court.

He, then, filed a fresh suit at the commercial court against 13 institutions and persons who are at the center of the sale.

However, the commercial court is yet to hear the writ as he has not yet succeeded in withdrawing the matter from the high court.

Mr. Awuni has prayed the commercial court to restrain the parties from consummating further transactions.

The defendants in the new writ include the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Fortiz the Bank of Ghana (BoG), KPMG all the board members of Merchant Bank as the initial stage of the sale and three other persons.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) approved the deal for Fortiz Private Equities Fund Ghana Limited to pay GH90 million for a 90 percent stake in Merchant Bank.

D r. Kofi Awuni Wampah, Governor of BoG told journalists at a news conference in Accra recently that BoG had done nothing wrong in the approval of the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz but played its role effectively as regulatory to ensure a clean deal.

The SSNIT, who is at the center of the deal and has 90 percent stake in the bank, has also issued a statement which indicated that the sale was strategic and would boost returns on its investments.

It further stated that Fortiz was the best bidder and, therefore won the bid ahead of South Africa’s second largest bank, First-Rand Bank.

Meanwhile, a statements issued by the directors of the firm said Fortiz had fulfilled all the necessary stipulated conditions required in the transactions.

The private equity firm, Fortiz, maintained that its purchase of Merchant Bank was transparent and it was determined to turn around the fortunes of the ailing bank.

However, Mr. Andrew Awuni has criticized the sale of the bank describing it as a “bad deal.”
Source: The Ghanaian Times

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