Suit Uncertainty clouds SIC operations …as judgment day looms

Information available to the B&FT shows that as of June this year the interest and charges on the GH?14million credit facility had ballooned to about GH?232million since it was granted on April 10, 2013.

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SIC Insurance Company Limited will have to wait until next week Thursday to find out if it can continue in operation, as an Accra High Court (Commercial Division) has fixed July 16, 2015 to determine a case brought to it by the insurance company to stop Ivory Finance Company Limited from disposing of its assets.

On Thursday, attorneys of SIC hurriedly rushed to the court to file an application for suspension of the court’s judgment in a move that seeks to prevent Ivory Finance Company from taking over and selling off its properties -- following an earlier attempt by the finance company to seize the insurance firm’s properties.

Ivory Finance on Wednesday began attaching the properties of SIC for auctioning -- including its iconic head-office (Nyemetei House) on the Ring Road East in Accra and that of SIC Financial Services -- following the withdrawal of a similar application for suspension of the enforcement of judgment earlier on Wednesday.

SIC had earlier filed an application for suspension to prevent Ivory Finance from going into execution of the court’s consent judgment, following the dismissal of an alleged fraud suit filed by SIC against Ivory Finance; ITAL Construct; Doris Awo Nkani -- the former managing director of SIC; and Kwesi Baidoo and James Kwegyir Agrrey, two directors of ITAL Construct, in a case that relates to the credit guarantee bond gone bad issued by SIC to ITAL to secure a short-term loan from Ivory Finance.

Information available to the B&FT shows that as of June this year the interest and charges on the GH?14million credit facility had ballooned to about GH?232million since it was granted on April 10, 2013.

So far, SIC has paid a little over GH?19.3 million to Ivory Finance Company being the face value of the credit guarantee bond issued by SIC, and which has since become a legal tussle between the company, Ivory Finance, ITAL Construct and Doris Nkani.

However, SIC is contesting Ivory Finance’s demand of several millions of cedis in interest and charges that culminated in a fraud suit filed by SIC.

 The court has since dismissed the fraud suit, paving the way for Ivory Finance to go into execution of the earlier consent judgment. But SIC again brought an application for stay of execution, and that was also dismissed.

Following that development, SIC filed for stay of execution pending review of the ruling dismissing its application -- which it later withdrew and quickly filed an application for suspension of the judgment’s enforcement.

However, in a twist of events, SIC on Wednesday withdrew the application for suspension of the judgment’s enforcement, an action that empowered Ivory Finance to press for execution of the court’s judgment.

Realising that Ivory Finance has attached some of its landed properties and seizes the company’s vehicles in the possession of its directors, attorneys of SIC on Thursday morning went back to court to file another application for suspension of the judgment’s enforcement.

 The determination of the application next week is thus seen by many lawyers as a significant milestone that will determine the direction of SIC’s operations.

 When the B&FT visited SIC on Thursday there was an aura of uncertainty among the staff, even though business was going on smoothly.

 Some attorneys close to the case explained to B&FT that until the court decides on the latest application for suspension, SIC can remain in its buildings and do business, but cannot sell or develop them.

 “What it means is that the properties Ivory Finance was able to move on, on Wednesday, are now in the possession of the registrar of the commercial court.

 “If the application for suspension is dismissed on the scheduled date, all that Ivory Finance will be required to do is to get a valuer to value the landed properties and then the cars will be taken to STC for valuing; and then the company (Ivory Finance) will go to court for an order for reserve price for it to auction them,” said the lawyer, who didn’t want to be named because he is not allowed to publicly comment on the case.

Source: thebftonline.com

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