IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE
IN THE HIGH COURT
ACCRA - A.D 2019
AIRPORT CLINIC LIMITED - (Plaintiff)
PREMIER MUTUAL HEALTH - (Defendant)
DATE: 18TH MARCH, 2019
SUIT NO: GJ 899/19
JUDGES: ERIC K. BAFFOUR ESQ. J
The dispute between the parties arose out of a contract for the provision of medical services by the Plaintiff to the employees of the Defendant. Plaintiff came to court alleging non-payment of its bill to the tune of Gh¢65,759.31 together with interest. The parties reconciled accounts and eventually agreed that an amount of Gh¢51,698.95 was what was payable. Defendant has duly settled the principal amount arising out of the reconciliation exercise. Before me now is the claim by Plaintiff seeking for an interest to be paid on the amount of GH¢51,698.95.
With the principal amount agreed between the parties having been paid and the only issue outstanding being that of interest on the monies paid, I was guided by Order 33 Rules 3 and 5 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, C. I. 47 which states as follows:
“3. The Court may order any question or issue arising in any cause or matter whether of fact or law, or partly of fact and partly of law, and raised by the pleadings to be tried before, at or after the trial of the cause or matter and may give directions as to the manner in which the question or issue shall be stated”.
5. Where it appears to the Court that the decision of any question or issue arising in any cause or matter and tried separately from the main cause or matter substantially disposes of the cause or matter or renders trial of the main cause or matter unnecessary, it may dismiss the cause or matter or make such other order or give such judgment as may be just”.
Accordingly I posed for the consideration of the parties by way of legal arguments the issue as to whether interest on the principal amount paid is exigible, and if so, at what percentage.
Payment of interest may arise as result of agreement between or among parties, by statutory provisions, by trade usage and damages awarded by the court. Generally as a matter of law interest is payable when parties in an agreement express the intent that the transaction entered into shall attract interest. The law will enforce the mutually agreed transaction agreed between parties arrived at arm’s length and in the absence of any of the vitiating factors such as fraud, unconscionability, illegality and the like. For this is how Court (Award of Interest and Post Judgment Interest) Rules, C. I 52 states as Rule 1:
“If the court in a civil cause or matter decides to make an order for the payment of interest on a sum of money due to a party in the action, that interest shall be calculated
a. At the bank rate prevailing at the time the order is made, and
b. At simple interest
But where an enactment, instrument or agreement between the parties specifies a rate of interest which is to be calculated in a particular manner the court shall award that rate of interest calculated in that manner”
See DIAB v QUANSAH  1GLR 101; HELOO v TETTEY  2 GLR 112.
It is now trite that interest is payable by a person who has unjustifiably kept money beyond a period which he should not have kept and for unlawfully keeping money, interest is payable to the owner for the money which was unlawfully kept. And payment of interest in that circumstance becomes a compensation for the wrongful withholding of monies that should have been paid early enough. In the case of GHANA COMMERCIAL BANK v BINOO-OKAI [1982-83] GLR 74 the court noted as follows:
“The basis of an award of interest was that the defendant had kept the plaintiff out of the use of his money, and the defendant had had it, so he should compensate the plaintiff”.
And similar sentiments were expressed in the case of ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES (KLM) v FARMEX LTD that:
“It is reasonable to suppose that the Defendants kept the Plaintiff’s money … and used it to the advantage, to the detriment of the Plaintiffs. The Defendants cannot justly claim to be entitled to keep the profits they have thus made at the Plaintiff’s expense. The Plaintiffs are entitled to call upon the Defendants to account to them for the use of this money, which is another way of saying that the Plaintiffs are entitled to interest on the said money beyond the date of the judgment of the High Court to today. If the Defendants had been minded to escape this consequence, their course was clear, they should have either paid the money to the Plaintiffs or paid it into court …”
It is my view therefore that interest is exigible on the sum of Gh¢51,608,95 from the time it became due till date of payment of the said amount. As the principal has been paid, interest cannot be said to be payable as there will be no basis for further payment of interest with the principal having been paid. And with no agreement as to the specific rate of interest payable, I will hold that Defendant pay the interest at the Treasury bill rate.