Supreme Court refers SIC and Ivory Finance back to High Court

The highest court of the land, Supreme Court on Wednesday February 21, 2017, upheld that SIC’s appeal against Ivory Finance Company Ltd regarding a credit guarantee case which has been in court over the last five years.

The unanimous decision of the apex court came with an order that, the parties return to the High Court for the court to sit over the merits of an allegation of fraud leveled against Ivory Finance by SIC.

On 28th March, 2013, following an application for a credit guarantee by ItalConstruct International Limited, and in consideration of a letter of intent dated 28th March, 2013 indicating terms for granting a GH¢14 million loan facility from Ivory Finance Company Limited, SIC Insurance issued a GH¢19,303,800.00 credit guarantee bond to ItalConstruct International Limited in favour of Ivory Finance for a 6-month period from 28th March, 2013 to 27th September, 2013.

The loan was for the construction of affordable houses.

On 10th April 2013, Ivory Finance and ITAL executed the loan agreement to be effective for a 6-month period commencing on 11th April, 2013 and expiring on 10th October 2013.

The two parties agreed that repayment of the loan would be by a one bullet payment (principal + interest) at end of tenor of loan (i.e. 10th October, 2013).

The company disclosed that on 1st October, 2013, Ivory Finance made a demand on Ital and SIC.

Its position was that (i) “the scheduled repayment of the loan facility was in default as at 30th September, 2013.” (ii) “That as at 30th September, 2013, ITAL’s total indebtedness stood at GH¢18,963,894.13.”

On 22nd November 2013, Ivory Finance filed a suit to recover the Guarantee Bond amount of GH¢19.3 million and named the defendants as follows: (a) ItalConstruct International Ltd (b) Kwesi Baidoo (Director of ItalConstruct), (c) James Kwegyir Aggrey (Director of ItalConstruct), and (d) SIC Insurance,” documents of the company revealed.

According to SIC Insurance, on 24th November, 2014 and under some strange circumstances, Managing Director of SIC, Ivory and Ital apparently agreed on and signed terms of settlement (drafted by Ivory Finance), which was filed at the Court the following day 25th November, 2014 and entered as Consent Judgement by the Court on 27th November 2014.

By those terms the defendants (as referenced above) agreed to pay Ivory an amount of GH¢91.90 million.

Ivory has been pushing for the execution of the Consent Judgement while SIC has been pushing for a stay of execution, pending full hearing into the case.

It is worth stating that earlier on 26th March 2015, and as ordered by the Court, SIC paid an amount of GH¢19.3 million (being the Bond value) to Ivory as a condition to stay execution of the Consent Judgment dated 27th November 2014 pending the decision on the application to set aside the said judgment.

Commenting after the Supreme Court ruling, the Management of SIC Insurance Company said,  they had always believed in their case and remained faithful in the rule of law and in the judiciary system of Ghana and thanked its numerous stakeholders for keeping faith through the trying times.

SIC says it is focused on delivering on its promise to serve the insuring public and to provide the needed leadership in the industry.