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Court Awards Groupe Ndoum GHC 174 Million As Judgement Debt

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One of the Groupe Nduom companies, Gold Securities Company Ltd now BlackShield and Ghana Growth Fund Company Limited, members of Groupe Nduom, an indigenous Ghanaian business conglomerate, have won a ¢174 million judgment against Health Network Company Limited.

The ruling was given by the Commercial Division of an Accra High Court on Thursday, July 15th, 2021.

The ruling, according to Groupe Nduom owners and other stakeholders, “proves regulators acted hastily in revoking licenses of the Groupe’s banking and investment companies”. The Groupe Nduom companies that have suffered regulator closure are Gold Coast Securities/Blackshield and GN Bank/GN Savings & Loans.

The actions of the regulators have also caused huge collateral damage to related companies as they have been starved of deposits they placed with their sister companies. The judgement, the Groupe owners contend, absolves them of wrongdoing and confirm their long-held position that “customers’ funds were invested in Ghana with private and government institutions and government projects”.

It was based on the prudent investments that till today, Groupe Nduom still stands by its claim that government agencies and the contractors they gave legitimate contracts to owe Groupe, more than ¢3 billion that is continuing to attract interest. Interestingly enough, a lawyer who claimed to represent a “Receiver” waited until judgement was rendered then got up to ask to be allowed to join the case. She was promptly shut down by the judge.

The ruling further proves the point that if those who had taken money placed with them had paid even 15 % of what was due GN Bank/GoldCoast/Blackshield, the companies would still have been in operation.

The suit was commenced by Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim issued at the Registry of High Court, Accra, Commercial Division dated 11th October 2019. Justice Shiela Minta was the presiding judge in the matter brought before the court.

After failed attempts to get all the four (4) Defendants to be served in the ordinary manner prescribed by the Court Rules, an application was brought before the court for substituted service to enable the plaintiff to serve the defendants by substitution which application was granted.

All efforts through service of hearing notices to the defendants to attend pre-trial conference also proved futile until the matter was referred to a trial court. At the trial court, a motion on notice for judgment in default of appearance was first brought against the defendants. It was this application that forced the defendants to enter an appearance through their solicitors.

Subsequent to this, the defendants with their lawyers engaged Plaintiff’s lawyers with Plaintiffs’ representatives also in meetings in an attempt to reach some settlement.

However, after the said meetings in which the defendants’ state of indebtedness was clearly established to satisfaction, the defendants failed to demonstrate any good faith and also to propose a payment plan as the Plaintiffs were made to believe they would.

This compelled a subsequent application for judgment in default of defence as they did not have any defence to the suit. In the morning on 27th May, 2021, before the motion for judgment in default of defence was to be moved, Counsel for Defendants handed over a cheque of ¢2,000,000.00 to Counsel for Plaintiff.

This paltry sum of GHc 2,000,000.00 relative to Defendants’ debt of ¢174,100,037.40 could not be used to influence Plaintiff’s lawyers’ resolve to move the court to enter judgment in default of defence at all cost.

After vain efforts by counsel for defendants to persuade Plaintiff’s lawyers to oblige their last adjournment, the court by itself formed the opinion that in the light of the fact before it and the defendants’ gesture that had come to its attention, it would exercise discretion to oblige the defendants the last adjournment to enable them to respond more favourably to Plaintiff’s claim before the court.

Accordingly, the court granted a short adjournment beyond the maturity date of the cheque(4/06/21) to 14th June 2021 to first ensure that the cheque would clear and also for defendants to show cause why the pending application for judgment in default of defence should not be granted on the next adjourned date.

To the disbelief of the Plaintiffs and their lawyers, even the small GHc2 million cheque failed to clear. The Defendants had allegedly tricked the court and disrespected the office of Justice Shiela Minta. On the strength of the overwhelming evidential facts, Justice Minta on Thursday 15th July awarded judgement for ¢174 million-plus ¢50,000 in costs in favour of the Plaintiffs.

According to a spokesperson for Groupe Nduom, this is the first of a number of court cases pending before the law courts. They involve private sector companies, government agencies and regulators. The belief is that when all is said and done, the wild allegations made against specific Groupe Nduom companies and shareholders will be put to rest.

It will be recalled that one senior official of the Securities and Exchange Commission when BlackShield appealed to the regulator for assistance to retrieve customer funds invested to support government infrastructure projects, retorted in a public interview that “…the Commission is not a debt collector”.

The Commission turned around to revoke the license of BlackShield. That action emboldened private and state organizations to refuse to pay back what was legitimately owed. BlackShield until its license was revoked had paid over GHS600 million to some of its customers and still stands by its commitment to return funds invested as it is able to collect receivables.

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‘I Want To Learn From Xavi At Al Sadd’ : Andre Ayew

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Andre Ayew, Ghana captain  has heaped praise on Al Sadd boss Xavi Hernandes and says he expects to learn a lot from the Barcelona legend during his time at the club.

Ayew joined Al Sadd on a free transfer last week, where Xavi has been head coach since 2019.

2010 world cup winner, Xavi, led the team to win the Qatari League last season, and Ayew says he’s been left impressed with the work he has done since taking charge of the team three years ago.

“Xavi, the coach of the team, was a great player and played for a long time with the biggest and best club in the world – Barcelona, and he is now a coach for the best club in the Gulf after playing with the team for five years”.

“I follow the Al Sadd team and watched the development that took place in the team’s performance in terms of entertaining football, the positioning of the players and the great tactics with which the team plays.

“I expect to learn a lot from him during my time with him. My goal is to win titles, to make the fans happy, and to strive hard to win the AFC Champions League.”

Ayew expressed his happiness in joining the Qatari league champions

“I am very happy and proud to play at Al Sadd. It’s an important moment for me and my family, because of what Al Sadd provided to my family in the past, and therefore when the club offered me a contract, I agreed immediately and I am sure that we will win more championships together.”

Ayew played for six clubs, including his two loan spells at Lorient and AC Arlésien, in Europe and recorded 131 goals and 55 assists in over 400 appearances.

Ayew is expected to bring his wealth of experience on board to help the club achieve thier goal of conquering Asia having dominated domestic competitions in recent years.

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Manchester United Agree Fee With Real Madrid For Varane

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Manchester United have agreed a fee of £41m with Real Madrid for defender Raphael Varane.

The price for the France international is believed to be £41m including add-ons and the deal is set to go through, subject to a medical.

Having already signed England international Jadon Sancho for £73m from Borussia Dortmund, the acquisition of Varane would be a further statement of intent from United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team were second in the Premier League last season but finished 12 points behind Manchester City.

Varane is well established as one of the world’s top defenders, having joined Real from French side Lens in the summer of 2011.

He has gone on to make over 350 appearances for the club, and be capped 79 times by France, helping them to World Cup glory in 2018.

He started all four of France’s matches at Euro 2020 before they were knocked out on penalties by Switzerland.

If the deal goes through as expected, Varane’s first competitive action for United could come when they start their Premier League campaign on August 14 against Leeds United at Old Trafford.

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Twitter Tests Upvote And Downvote Buttons

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Some iOS Twitter users will see up and down votes on comments as parts of research “to understand the types of replies you find relevant”, the social network says.

The voting buttons will be thumbs or arrows according to a graphic shared by Twitter.

Twitter said downvotes will not be visible to other users and will not change the order of replies.

Commentators have drawn parallels with Reddit’s use of up and down voting.

Twitter’s interest in methods for users to downvote or dislike had already been trailed last year by product lead Kayvon Beykpour who tweeted it was something “we’re exploring”.

But in today’s announcement the company was clear this was not a “dislike” button.

Reddit responded to the announcement on its twitter account with a gif that simply said “interesting”.

Upvoting and downvoting are features of many sites, but users were uncertain as to whether this would improve the quality of interaction on twitter.

One writer wryly observed in a popular tweet: “I for one am glad that twitter is introducing a dislike button as the one thing this platform doesn’t have enough of is unnecessary negativity.”

Cody Elam, a user researcher at Twitter, tweeted that the change “gives people the power to privately voice their opinion on the quality of replies without publicly shaming others while also giving us more nuanced feedback.”

Presently twitter allows users to hide individual replies to their tweets so that other users need to click if they wish to read them.

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