All set for Cedi trial

Business News of Monday, 16 March 2015

Source: Daily Guide

Dr Kofi Wampah Central Bank

The Attorney-General (A-G) has filed her statement of case in respect of the suit brought against the Bank of Ghana (BoG) over the depreciation of the cedi.

The filing of the documents paves the way for the commencement of the hearing of the case, which had stalled for some time now.

Dr John Ephraim Baiden, a private legal practitioner who said he had lost a lot of wealth through foreign exchange rate losses, had dragged the central bank to the Supreme Court asking the court to order it (bank) to put in measures to provide a stable currency.

While accusing the BoG of overstepping its bounds and, as a result, hurting the cedi, the plaintiff prayed in his statement of case that the court should ensure that Ghanaians regained their “monetary sovereignty.”

According to Dr John Ephraim Baiden, the BoG was enjoined by the 1992 Constitution and the Bank of Ghana Act to maintain a stable currency for the benefit of Ghanaians and businesses.

He is urging the Supreme Court to issue an order of mandamus against the BoG or its governor and the board of directors to provide a stable currency and a change from a floating exchange regime to a fixed regime or a reasonable adjustable peg regime.

He is further urging the court to order the BoG to abrogate the present dual exchange rate or multiple exchange rate system to a single exchange rate system.

However, the A-G in the statement of case, said that assuming without admitting that the plaintiff has a valid case, she contended that “this honourable court is not the proper forum for the evaluation of economic factors which are responsible for inflation in the country.”

It stated that the claim that the BoG caused depreciation in the value of the Ghanaian currency was just an expression of a mere opinion by the plaintiff, adding that while admitting that the plaintiff reserves a right to express his opinion regarding economic matters in the country, however, distasteful or tasteful they seem, the BoG strongly rejects the plaintiff’s assertion on the basis that the Central Bank does not have absolute control over factors which cause inflation.

The statement among other things, added that the court should dismiss the plaintiff’s action because the action relates not to a lack of appreciation on the part of the BoG relative to its constitutional obligations or the neglect of it which requires the court’s intervention.

Dr. Baiden in a reply to the statement of case, contended that it is very erroneous for the AG to suggest that he had merely expressed an opinion on BoG’s performance relative to the stability of the Cedi, insisting that “plaintiff’s position is not a mere opinion but rather an “informed opinion” based upon empirical market data that has not been refuted or traversed by any of the defendants.

Hearing of the case is on March 17, 2015.

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