Yenyeya floors Shaanxi at court of appeal; two courts slap Gh¢11,000 on company

Yenyeya Managing Director, Charles Taleog Ndanbon, and Shaanxi CEO, Wei Xing.

When Justice Charles Wilson Adjei delivered a ruling on Wednesday, 20 September 2023, at a high court in Bolgatanga against Earl International Group (Ghana) Gold Limited, the lawyers for the Chinese firm formerly known as Shaanxi Mining Company Limited reacted quickly with a decision to appeal.

On Thursday, 11 November 2023, the lawyers filed a notice of appeal on behalf of the mining company, seeking to overturn the ruling at the appellate court in Tamale.

The notice of appeal filed by Shaanxi’s lawyers.

But the action suffered a double blow when three justices of the court sitting virtually in Kumasi— Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, Justice Eric Baah and Justice Patrick Kwamina Baiden— unanimously struck out the appeal on Tuesday, 21 May 2024, and awarded punitive costs of Gh¢5,000 against them.

And Charles Taleog Ndanbon, the respondent, smiled again together with his lawyer, Juliet Dele Agboh, as the parties left the courtroom.

The appellate court in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi.

The appeal was struck out because the appellant did not comply with Rule 20 of CI 19. The lawyers did not follow due process in filing the statement of their case.

Case background

Ndanbon had travelled to China in 2008 and brought Shaanxi Mining Company to Ghana to offer technical support services to his mining firm, Yenyeya Small-Scale Mining Group in Talensi, a district in the Upper East region.

Yenyeya and Shaanxi got along well for years until the Chinese suddenly decided to dance alone into a controversial large-scale mining operation in the same district without their original host, Ndanbon, contrary to an agreement the two parties had signed.

Charles Taleog Ndanbon (left) sits next to Wei Xing.

The Chinese company also captured Ndanbon’s 25-acre mining concession alongside several other goldfields owned by some licensed small-scale miners within a 16.02sqkm it acquired for the large-scale mining business. A 16.02sqkm tract of land is about the size of 4,000 standard football fields combined.

After acquiring the land, the foreign company also changed its name to Earl International Group (Ghana) Gold Limited.

Such was the growing row that Ndanbon revealed that Shaanxi boss, Wei Xing, who had worked together with him since 2008, instructed Shaanxi security officers to no longer allow Ndanbon to enter the yard.

Shaanxi’s yard in Talensi.

On Friday, 12 May 2023, Ndanbon filed a case at High Court ‘1’ in Bolgatanga against the Chinese company over the agreement breach.

On Monday, 19 June 2023, the lawyers for the foreign company responded to the suit, arguing that Ndanbon had no capacity to sue the company because his firm (Yenyeya Small-Scale Mining Group) entered into an agreement with Shaanxi Mining Company Limited and not Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited.

The lawyers requested that the court dismiss the case brought by Ndanbon on the basis of the point they stated.

Shaanxi slapped with a fresh of Gh¢6,000 fine

But in his ruling, Justice Wilson explained that when the company changed from a technical support service provider to a large-scale miner, the change did not affect the agreement.

He pointed out that the liabilities the company bore as Shaanxi in the past, which included its agreement with Yenyeya, were liabilities it still bore as Earl in the present.

Justice Charles Adjei Wilson.

The judge described the company’s application as “an academic exercise” and dismissed it. Then, he awarded a cost of Gh¢5,000 against the company.

Justice Wilson also ordered the company to file its defence in ten days. But in response, the company’s lawyers filed an appeal against the ruling and applied for stay of execution so that the order the court gave the company to file its defence in ten days would not take effect.

On Tuesday, 11 June 2024, the parties returned to the high court in Bolgatanga, following the verdict by the court of appeal.

Outer premises of the high court in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region.

Justice Charles Gyemfi, a new judge who had taken over the high court from Justice Wilson, presided over the resumed proceedings.

The business of the day was more about the court’s determination of the motion for stay of execution, which Shaanxi had filed to avoid filing the defence demanded by the high court while pursuing an appeal against the high court ruling.

Because Shaanxi’s appeal case was struck out in Kumasi by the court of appeal, its motion for stay of execution, in effect, was of ‘no use’ or consequence at the high court in Bolgatanga.

The verdict of the court of appeal against Shaanxi.

As a result, the high court struck out Shaanxi’s motion for stay of execution. The court also slapped a cost of Gh¢6,000 on the Chinese company because its application for stay of execution, which had delayed the filing of its defence, only ended up wasting the court’s time.

At the end of the day, the parties went back home with a clear understanding that Justice Wilson’s ruling “still stands” and, by this, Yenyeya would need to file a notice of hearing for the case to continue and the Chinese company must file a statement of defence according to schedule to avoid getting on the wrong side of the court.

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/   


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