Freddie Blay buses for NPP hit with suit

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Kelliot Royal Motors, a company registered under the laws of Ghana, has dragged the Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) to an Accra High Court in a bid to block the distribution of 100 buses to Constituency Executives of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The buses are part of some 275 buses the governing NPP Chairman, Freddie Blay, promised to distribute to constituencies prior to his election.

Kelliot Royal Motors avers in his writ that he secured a loan facility in excess of $3 million to procure the buses for onward sale to the party on May 13, 2018.

According to the writ, the terms of agreement demanded that Kelliot Royal Motors will apply the loan facility to purchase the 100 Toyota HiAce vehicles for onward sale to the New Patriotic Party as part importation for a total contract sum of $11,412,500 for 275 buses.

The Plaintiff said repayment of the facility was to be made out of proceeds from off-taker of the buses.

Kelliot Royal Motors further avers that in pursuance of the agreement its, Managing Director, Chris Azawodie, had to personally travel to Dubai on many occasions with the attendant costs to actualise the objective of the supply of the said buses into Ghana

Kelliot Royal Motors also stated that when the buses arrived in Ghana in June 2018 UMB caused the vehicles to be kept in a custom bonded warehouse, adding that the bank subsequently refused to deliver the buses to the Kelliot Motors regardless of many demands on the bank and contrary to the express terms of the agreement.

“It is believed from reliable information that the Defendant is in the process vigorously and aggressively to offload the said buses to a third party who is alien to the agreement and in consequence denying the Plaintiff his right to receive the buses as contemplated by and contained in the said agreement,” Kelliot Royal Motors said in its Statement of Claim.

The Plaintiff states that unless compelled by a court of competent jurisdiction, UMB intends to continue the breach of the agreement “which breach will deny the Plaintiff the benefits envisaged in the said agreement,” Kelliot Royal Motors stressed.

The Plaintiff wants the court to declare that the 100 buses are the property of Kelliot Royal Motors.

Kelliot Royal Motors also wants the court to restrain UMB, its agencies, servants and assigns and all those at its direction dealing with a third party in respect of the buses.

‘Corruption’

Coalition for Social Justice petitioned the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) stating that the purchase of the buses amounted to vote buying and a case of corruption which must be probed by the Commission.

CHRAJ in investigating the matter wrote to Mr Blay two months ago requesting his response to the petition.

Photo: Mr Blay has dared the anti-graft body to cause his arrest

The Commission also asked him to produce the custom declaration forms and other forms covering duties paid for the vehicles.

This information, according to CHRAJ, was needed so they could proceed with the probe.

CHRAJ later filed a motion at the court to charge the NPP Chairman for contempt after they claimed he had failed to respond to several requests from the Commission to provide the information on the buses.

CHRAJ produced documents alleging that the NPP Chairman had received the motion but “failed”, “refused” and/or “neglected” to oblige the Commission and subsequently urged the court to hold Mr Blay in contempt.

However, the court presided over by Justice George Koomson, urged the lawyers for CHRAJ for serving Mr Blay in his home, when it came to his notice that they had only tried serving him with the summons to appear before them at his various offices.

Although CHRAJ could not serve Mr Blay as directed by the court, the NPP Chairman went ahead to obtain a copy of the application and subsequently filed an affidavit in opposition.

However, this did not go down well with lawyers for CHRAJ who made abjection to it when the case was called yesterday.

CHRAJ objection

Appearing before the court yesterday, Bede Tuuku, who represented the commission, told the court that he had two preliminary objections to the affidavit in opposition filed by lawyers for Mr Blay led by Nana Obiri Boahen.

The first objection was why Mr. Blay had filed an affidavit in opposition when he had not been served, and the second being Mr Blay’s averment that it was his lawyers who applied for photocopies of the court, as his application for copies has still not been met.

Judge’s Intervention

The presiding judge, however, wondered how that could be a ground for a preliminary objection when they had earlier claimed that they were finding it difficult to serve him in person and creating the impression that the NPP Chairman was evading service.

Justice Koomson told the lawyer to “thank God” that Mr Blay has done his (lawyer’s) work for him by filing an opposing affidavit although he had not been served.

Blay Affidavit

In his affidavit in opposition, Mr Blay averred that he had not been served by any processes emanating from the court of CHRAJ but “ironically, the impression has been wrongly created in the minds of the whole world that I am running away from justice.”

He averred that the application is “incurably flawed” and “procedurally incompetent” as there is no proper evidence “directly or remotely that I have been personally served with any processes from the applicant’s office.”

The NPP Chairman added that he had not looked down on CHRAJ, neither had he disobeyed any directives, orders or instructions of the commission.

Final Judgment

Meanwhile, the court has ordered both parties to simultaneously file their written submission in 14 days.

The court will give its judgment on July 24 to determine whether or not Mr Blay should be held for contempt.

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