IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE
IN THE HIGH COURT(COMMERCIAL DIVISION)
ACCRA - A.D 2016
MARY BAAH & 36 ORS. - (Plaintiff)
JIM WALTER FORSTER, MRS. EMEFA G. FORSTER, SAFEWAY ESTATES AND SAFEWAY AGRO LTD - (Defendants)
DATE: : 5TH DECEMBER, 2016
SUIT NO: CM/0210/2016
JUDGES: SAMUEL K. A. ASIEDU, JUSTICE OF THE HIGH COURT
LAWYERS: MR. DOMETI KOFI SOKPOR FOR THE PLAITNIFFS
By an amended writ of summons issued on the 11th November, 2016, the plaintiffs claim against the defendants:
1. A declaration that Plaintiffs have invested in 3rd and 4th Defendants’ Company.
2. Recovery of GH¢1,384,850 by Plaintiffs.
3. Recovery of US$50,000 or its cedi equivalent.
4. Interest on the said amounts at the prevailing rates from 13th January, 2012 to date of final payment.
6. Perpetual injunction restraining Defendants their assigns, privies workmen from disposing, alienating and or interfering with all the known assets of the Defendants.
7. Legal fees and administrative expenses.
After the service of the writ, by substitution, on the defendants, they failed to file an appearance. The plaintiffs therefore applied and judgment in default of appearance was entered by the court against the defendants on the 23rd day of July, 2016 and the case fixed to a date for the assessment of damages. In the meantime, hearing notice was served on the defendants to attend court in order for damages to be assessed. However, the defendants failed to show up on the 20th day of July, 2016 the date fixed for the assessment. The plaintiffs, therefore, through their representative Samuel Dartey Junior, gave evidence to the court in proof of their claims. In particular, the court finds that Samuel Dartey gave evidence on his own behalf and on behalf of all the other plaintiffs except Edward Otu Larbi, Freda Gyasenir and Amey Stephen. Herman Asiakoley Tettey’s name was repeated on the list attached to the writ originally filed on the 3rd day of June 2016. His name appeared at number 11 and also number 19. This anomaly had been corrected on the amended writ of summons filed on the 11th November, 2016.
From the evidence on record, the court finds that the 1st and the 2nd defendants are directors of the 3rd and 4th defendants’ companies. The court also finds from the evidence that the 3rd defendant company is a registered company which is basically into real estate development and tilapia fish farming among other lines of businesses.
There is evidence on record to the effect that the defendants, under the guise of promoting investment in tilapia and shrimps farming, collected various sums of money from the plaintiffs. The court finds that the names of the plaintiffs from whom the defendants collected money are stated on exhibit ‘A’ tendered by the plaintiffs’ representative.
From the evidence on record the court finds that the defendants collected from the plaintiffs various sums of money and also issued certificates to them. This is clearly shown on exhibits ‘B’ and ‘B1’, ‘C’ and exhibit ‘D’ series. The court also finds that although the 35th plaintiff – Ebenezer Osei Sakyi never received his certificate of investment from the defendants, yet, his pay – in –slip exhibit ‘E’ herein shows that the defendants received an amount of GH₵1,000 from him.
The court finds that in all the defendants collected a total amount of GH₵877,450.00 and US$52,500.00 from the plaintiffs under the guise of investing same in the tilapia and shrimps farming business with a promise of various returns to the plaintiffs.
The court finds that not only have the defendants failed to deliver on their promise to the plaintiffs but the defendants have even failed to refund to the plaintiffs the principal amounts collected from them. The court holds that the actions and conduct of the defendants in reneging on their promise to the plaintiffs amount to a breach of their contract with the plaintiffs and therefore makes them liable in damages to the plaintiffs.
Judgment is therefore entered for the plaintiffs against the defendants herein. The defendants are ordered to pay to the plaintiffs the sums of money indicated against the name of each plaintiff as stated on exhibit A herein together with interest at the current bank rate. The defendants shall also pay to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 12th, and 13th plaintiffs damages of GH₵10, 000.00 each. The defendants are also ordered to pay as damages to each of the remaining plaintiffs the sum of GH₵5,000.00.
Costs of GH₵50,000.00 to the plaintiffs against the defendants.