The Attorney-General (A-G) has resorted to substituted service in a bid to legally prevail on Spanish firm, Isofoton S.A., to refund the cedi equivalent of $325, 472 it received from the government in March 2011.
On June 21, 2013, the Supreme Court directed the company to refund all moneys it had so far received from the government on the grounds that the agreements resulting in the payments were unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.
Following from the court’s judgment, the Attorney-General, on August 22, 2013, filed a writ of summons and statement of claim in a bid to retrieve all moneys wrongly paid to the company.
However, three months after the A-G had filed the suit, court bailiffs have been unsuccessful in serving court documents on Isofoton, thereby prompting the Attorney-General to serve the firm through substituted service.
Granting the A-G’s request, the Fast Track High Court, presided over by Mr Justice K. A. Ofori-Atta, ordered that the writ of summons and statement of claim filed on August 22, 2013 together with the court’s order should be served on Isofoton per its lawyer.
The court had in its unanimous decision on June 21, 2013 directed that the refunds be made with interest until the date of final judgment.
Its decision followed an application by a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Martin Amidu, who said the company had no basis to make the claims against the government because it had no contract with the government of Ghana the breach of which should result in the payment of any judgment debt.
Isofoton – which is involved in designing, manufacturing and supplying Solar Energy products – was expected to engage on a project for agricultural irrigation and rural electrification based on solar technologies in 2006 but the then government abrogated the contract and re-awarded it to another Spanish firm.
The company was demanding judgment debt of $1.3 million for which the government had started paying in instalment but the Supreme Court on February 8, 2013 put a hold on further payment of money to Isofoton S. A., until the final determination of the suit brought against it by Mr Amidu.
In its judgment, the Supreme Court held that the lower court hearing an action instituted against the government by Isofoton S.A. on the abrogation of the contract had no locus to continue hearing the case because the court was of the view it (lower court) did not have jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court’s June 21, 2013 decision on Isofoton rendered Isofoton’s action against the government at the lower court mute.