Court orders Energy Ministry’s PRO Nana Damoah to pay his Electricity Bills or face arrest

Nana Kofi Oppong-Damoah, the PRO for Ministry of Energy and Power has been ordered by the Madina District Magistrate Court presided over by Her Lordship Afua Tordimah to pay the electricity bills he owed. The order was giving on Friday June 21, 2019.

The presiding Judge further indicated that by Thursday July 18, 2019 if Nana Damoah fails to come over to the Court and deposit the amount involved in the bills, punitive action will be taken against him. can confirm.

The order came on the heels of an earlier agreement reached between him and his immediate past landlords Dr. and Mrs. Afari – Sefa at the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which had been presented to the Court by a presiding arbitrator of the ADR for adoption..

Brief Background to the Case Nana Oppong-Damoah rented a residential facility located at Salem Estates on the Accra-Dodowa Road for two years. He vacated the facility on 14th April 2019 but refused to pay for both electricity and water bills which had built up for 18 months. And for that reason both utility services were disconnected barely two weeks after exiting the house.

The couple prior to the Court had reported Nana Oppong-Damoah to the Adenta Rent Control Office on March 29, 2019.

Shockingly, Nana Oppong-Damoah failed to honour all invitations from the Rent Control Office. As a result of his recalcitrant conduct, the Adenta Rent Control Office referred the matter to the Madina District Magistrate Court on May 3, 2019 for adjudication.

The case was filed at the Court on May 23, 2019 by Mrs. Sylvia Afari–Sefa, wife of Dr. Afari–Sefa. It was first heard in the Court on May 30, 2019. This time, Nana Damoah, who had beforehand botched to appear before the Rent Control officer at Adenta in Accra, reported in Court for fear of being cited for contempt. Mrs. Sylvia Afari–Sefa was also present.

After briefly listening to both parties, the presiding Judge referred the case to the Arbitration Section of the Court, which is the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for settlement based on mutual agreement. She further directed that any terms of agreement reached and signed by both parties should be brought back to the same Court for adoption.

The Judge indicated to them in plain words,”Please note that whatever, you agreed upon at the ADR has the same strength of authority as the Court and has its own legal implications if flouted”

Proceedings In Court.

When the case was called to adopt the terms of the agreement the plaintiff Dr. Afari – Sefa was present but the defendant, Nana Damoah was absent. He however, sent one Godwin Cofie to come and represent him.

When proceedings commenced, the presiding Judge asked, “Dr. Victor Afari – Sefa, do you agree to the terms of what is written before me. Do you agree that that Nana Damoah pays the money on July 18, 2019”. “Yes, My Lord I agree”. The plaintiff, Dr. Sefa answered.

Turning to the defendant she asked, “Nana Damoah do you also agree to pay? Then quickly, his representative raised his hand and said, “My Lord, I am not Nana Damoah. I came to represent him. Momentarily, the presiding Judge, showed her displeasure for Nana Damoah failing to appear in Court to personally consent to what he had agreed on at the ADR.

“Why then didn’t you tell me right away that you are not Nana Damoah but you first answered as if you are the one. What then is your name? She quizzed. “My Lord, I am Godwin Cofie, representing Nana Damoah and I am his personal aide” he said.

Her Lordship, Afua Tordina further asked him whether he clearly understood the implications of what he was standin in for Nana Damoah. Godwin Cofie responded that he knew understood the implications because he was briefed before coming to the Court.

“Nana Damoah should have been in Court to adopt what he had originally signed at the ADR. Do you know the implications after it has been adopted in this Court? It becomes binding on him to honour the payment of the bills on the date agreed by both parties. I want to remind you that I referred the case to the ADR for settlement and it has the same powers as that of the Court” The Judge told Nana Damoah’s representative.

In response, Gowin Cofie also said, “My Lord, I know the implications. I was fully briefed before coming to Court”
However, the Judge gave a warning to be delivered to Nana Damoah, saying, “Go and tell him that if he fails come to the court and settle the bills on July 18, 2019, punitive action will be taken against him” She said with an incensed look.
“Yes, My Lord, I will inform him”. Godwin Cofie responded.

Proceedings At The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Before appearing at the seat of Her Lordship Afua Tordimah for final determination of the issue both parties involved had earlier appeared at the ADR for an agreement to be reached. Below was transpired there:

In narrating his side of the matter to the presiding arbitrator, Dr. Afari-Sefa revealed, that the matter was referred to Madina District Magistrate Court in Accra by the Rent Control Office at Madina, when several attempts to get Nana Damoah pay for the electricity bills he owed PDS while staying in their property had failed.

According to him, Nana Oppong-Damoah rented his house located at Salem Estates on the Accra-Dodowa Road for two years. He moved into the facility on the 15th of April 2017 and vacated it on 14th April 2019 without paying the utility bills over the periods in question. The accumulated bills had amounted to GHC 19,219.98 for electricity and GHC2,800 for water. For that reason both utility facilities had been disconnected from the house.

Nana Damoah on his part admitted he had not fully settled all the utility bills though he was no longer staying in the house and that he still have GHC14,219.98 to pay to the Power Distribution Service (PDS).

The arbitrator of the ADR on this score scripted an agreement stating the amount left to be paid by Nana Oppong-Damoah with other binding clauses and made both parties – Dr. Afari – Sefa Nana Damoah signed to indicate their total commitment to the content of the document.

The document in conclusion ordered the Ministry of Energy’s PRO to come back to the Court and pay the utility bill of GHC14,219.98 in addition to the reconnection fee by the 18th of July 2019
This agreement was thereafter referred back to Her Lordship Afua Tordimah for adoption before the Court as stated in the beginning of the story.

Source: Francis Atta Antwi-Siaw ||

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