A businessman, who invested in the failed Power Distribution Service (PDS) takeover of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has been sued for allegedly playing hide and seek with an estate developer he owes GH¢2.2m.
Mr Kwabena Boateng Aidoo’s company, Santa Baron Ventures Limited (Santa), which had the second-biggest local stake in PDS, has been “unlawfully and unjustly holding onto money that does not belong to it,” the suit filed at the Accra High Court on May 21, 2020 claims.
The money has been outstanding for more than seven years.
The plaintiff, Winfred Kumah Apawu, said in his statement of claim that he has been chasing the Santa Baron Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since 2012, to release to him the money after he deposited it in the businessman’s CAL Bank account.
The plaintiff, who is an estate developer, said he had been approached by a second plaintiff and businessman, Chris Hesse-Tetteh, who wanted to buy 2.73 acres of land at South Legon in Accra.
After the two reached an agreement, Mr Hesse-Tetteh asked if the first plaintiff, Mr Kumah Apawu, had a CAL Bank account to facilitate the transfer of the funds needed to complete the sale of the land.
Mr Apawu indicated he didn’t and since he was out of the country, he could not immediately open an account nor speak to his bankers.
And so, he sought out Kwabena Boateng Aidoo, whose company Santa Baron Ventures, operated an account with CAL bank.
After Mr Aidoo agreed to allow his company’s account to be used as a transit point for the money, Mr Apawu claimed he authorised the buyer of the land, Mr Hesse-Tetteh to transfer the agreed amount to Santa Baron’s bank account.
This was done in September 2012. But since then, the money has not been transferred to the first plaintiff, Kwabena Boateng Aidoo, whose company agreed to sell the land.
It is a case of a buyer, who has paid for a property, and a seller, yet to receive the payment because the money is locked up with a third party.
Mr Apawu said in his statement of claim, “anytime he visits the house or office of Mr Boateng Aidoo, with the hope of meeting and reasoning with him to allow him access his funds, he is told that Mr Boateng Aidoo is not around even though his car is always around and is obvious he is just avoiding,” him.
He alleged that Mr Boateng Aidoo has made “deliberate and calculated” steps to keep monies that did not belong to him.
The estate developer, Mr Apawu, said he was being harassed by the buyer, Mr. Hesse-Tetteh, to release the land to him because he had complied with their payment agreement.
Yet, the money is still with Santa Baron’s CEO, Mr Aidoo, he further claimed.
He said unless compelled by the court, Mr. Boateng Aidoo would hide behind his company to “unjustly enrich himself” to the plaintiff’s detriment.
The estate developer said “that the last time he spoke with Mr Boateng Aidoo, C.E.O of the defendant company, he only lamented that he had invested huge sums of money into the defunct ECG Private Concession company, PDS deal, which has been cancelled by the government. So, the defendant’s money was locked up and thus was he unable to “pay” him.
The PDS initial takeover of ECG was in 2019, some seven years after the estate developer used Santa Baron’s account to facilitate the payment for the land.
Santa Baron held a 13% stake in a local consortium, which had 51% shares in the PDS deal.
But boardroom in-fighting and failures to meet some contractual obligations led to the cancellation of the deal in October 2019.
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs have asked the court to compel the CEO of Santa Baron, Mr Aiddo, to pay GH¢2.2m transferred to the account.
They asked that it be paid with interest.