The Nsawam Branch of the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) has been reopened after it was locked up Thursday on the orders of a Koforidua High Court for defying Judgement to release Ghc2,922,891.27 million account of Global Coin Community Help(GCCH), a collapsed cryptocurrency firm.
The bank was unlocked after GCB Bank finally complied with the Court Order by releasing the said amount into the account of the Koforidua High Court to be disbursed to the 831 victims who sued over the lock-up.
Hundreds of customers at the Nsawam branch of GCB were stranded after the banking hall was locked up with a call for urgent intervention.
After unlocking the GCB bank, a Senior bailiff and the auctioneers subsequently went ahead to auction Valuated properties of GCCH to defray the Judgement debt awarded by the Court.
The properties are made up of 3-storey office Complex with an open market value of Ghc3,307,200.00 however with a forced sale value of Ghc2,315,000.
Again a 3-storey Block with an open market value of Ghc651,4000.00 has been auctioned at Ghc455,9000.
A Two Office space facility is also being auctioned for Ghc32,7000 instead of its market value of Ghc46,7000.
Some properties of the company have been put up for sale
The auction of Perfect Love Montessori School located at Nsawam-Gyankrom being auctioned for Ghc 488,5000 as against the open market value of Ghc697,800 has been put on hold following an application filed challenging the ownership.
Chronology of events and EOCO legal drama
In September 2018 Global Coin Community Help (GCCH) abruptly closed down its offices in Accra, Koforidua and Nsawam without any notice to its over hundred -thousand customers.
A panic action which was taken after the Bank of Ghana issued a strong warning to unlicensed deposit-taking institutions to stop operating. Customers of the cryptocurrency firm sensing danger of their lost investments, dashed in groups to petition EOCO to assist them to retrieve they are locked up investments.
The 831 victims were advised by EOCO to take legal action against the company upon which separate civil suits were filed at the Koforidua High Court against the GCCH company and its CEO, Kweku Damete Kumi on the 20th and 23rd November 2018.
On December 2018 and January 2019 the plaintiffs secured two separate judgements in absentia as defendant failed to make an appearance in court.
Before the judgement, the Court granted the victims an Interlocutory Injunction order on the account of the company at GCB Bank on the 10th of December, 2018.
Ten days to the expiration of the freezing order, the court granted an additional freezing order which preserved the account till the determination of the matter.
On 19th January 2019, EOCO also went to secure a freezing order on the same account at the Accra High Court.
The Koforidua High Court on 21st January 2019 ordered GCB Bank to release to the customers an amount of 2.9 million in the garnisheed account the company which the bank accepted to comply.
However, on February 4, 2019, GCB Bank returned to court through a motion to inform the court about their challenge in complying with the payment order and asked for further directions from the court due to the fact that the Bank had also received another injunction from Accra High Court by EOCO to keep the same account frozen.
After the court heard both counsels for plaintiff and the GCB Bank, the final ruling from the Koforidua High Court Judge was an order to GCB Bank to release the funds within seven days.
In addition, the judge concluded that, due to the indolent conduct of EOCO, they were not to benefit from the said account.
“The Plaintiffs, I find, have been proactive and brought their complaint before the court as advised by EOCO. EOCO, on the other hand, has been very indolent and should not benefit from their indolence at the expense of the diligent plaintiffs in the instant case,” an excerpt of the ruling stated.
Despite this ruling, GCB Bank refused to release the money.
After a month of follow-ups by the plaintiffs on GCB Bank to pay which proved futile, a contempt application was filed against GCB Bank on 11th of March, 2019.
Just before the commencement of the hearing of the contempt application against GCB Bank, EOCO rushed to the court to file for joinder to be part of the contempt hearing.
EOCO was thrown out of court for their refusal to appear to move the motion they have filed.
But EOCO returned to the court to get their motion relisted a week later and filed another motion for joinder. For the second time, EOCO was thrown out of court again for their absence in court to move the motion which a cost of GH¢1,000 was slapped on EOCO.
On April 23, 2019, EOCO returned to court again to file for the re-enlistment of their motion for joinder for the third time just when the judge has asked Counsel of the plaintiffs to file her hearing application for the contempt.
The Koforidua Circuit Court “B” had already issued a bench warrant on the 10th April 2019 for the arrest of the Directors of the Company – Kwaku Damete Kumi and two others but EOCO on the 29th April 2019 reportedly blocked Police Personnel from the Eastern Regional Police Headquarters from arresting them.
On May 8, 2019, EOCO failed to appear in Court to move its own motion filed as Joinder to the contempt against GCB Bank.
The judge ordered that EOCO be served with the hearing notice for them to appear on May 20, 2019. The court again awarded a cost of GH¢500 against EOCO.
EOCO moves Joinder Motion.
On Monday, May 20, 2019, Counsel for EOCO pleaded with the court to allow the Office relist their JOINDER motion which was initially struck out of court which was granted by the Judge since the Counsel for the Plaintiffs-Abigail Ofori Appiah Esquire did not raise any objection.
The Presiding Judge, therefore, asked EOCO to move the motion. In the submission of Counsel for EOCO, he said GCB bank has not committed any crime for them to be punished for contempt rather, they acted upon the freezing order granted to EOCO by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction.
After minutes of oral submissions by the counsel of EOCO, Counsel for the plaintiffs argued in a rebuttal that, there is no provision in C.I. 47 order 50 for a third party or an interested party to be joined to contempt case. Therefore, EOCO’s plea to join in the Contempt case against GCB should not be granted.
On May 13, 2019 the Commercial Division of the Koforidua High Court struck out a motion by GCB praying the Court to make the plaintiffs stay of execution pending an Appeal which it has filed challenging an early ruling of the court ordering GCB the release of GH¢2.9 million from the account of GCCH at GCB Bank in seven days.
The Commercial Division of the Koforidua High Court had again struck out Joinder application filed by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).
GCB, however, refused to release the amount citing that EOCO has also secured freezing order on the same account on 18th January 2019 at the Accra High Court a month after the customers already froze the account.
Story By PrinceBaffour