Prof. H Kwasi Prempeh was totally wrong; there was no default judgment

BY: Kofi Nsiah Bonsu, Esq.
Prof. H Kwasi Prempeh was totally wrong; there was no default judgment – Lawyer
Prof. H Kwasi Prempeh was totally wrong; there was no default judgment – Lawyer

“There is nothing more frightening than a bustling ignorance.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. And even more frightening is when the bustling ignorance is displayed by someone in a position to know better, who has the opportunity to influence many others.

A well-educated law professor and a leader of a notable think tank such as CDD-Ghana should speak from an informed position and not loosely. The piece by H Kwasi Prempeh on his Facebook wall is very unfortunate and betrays honest intelligence on every level.

Prof. Kwasi Prempeh is totally wrong when he says there was a default judgment. How can there be a default judgment in this matter? Where is the default judgment? Although this is something I believe the learned professor should know, let me be very basic here.

A default judgment is where judgment is entered against a party for defaulting to defend an action. In this case, the action was fully defended by the State.

All processes in defence to the arbitration instituted in 2018 were filed, culminating in a full trial which lasted for about a week in August 2020. The final award in the arbitration was delivered on 26 January 2021. So, how can one, let alone a whole law professor, say that there a default judgment? It is complete ignorance for anyone to allege that there was a default in defending the action.

Arbitration awards are in essence final. Indeed, clause 28 (f) (xvii) of the agreement with GPGC emphasized that the award was final and not subject to appeal. The Government only sought to resort to ingenious ways to have recourse to an appeal under the English Arbitration Act by trying its luck with an appeal, even when no right of appeal did exist.

Any lawyer worth his or her salt should know this. The appeal was bound to fail. However, it was pursued to strengthen the hands of the Government in negotiations after the award was made. Frankly, this is the first time that Ghana has tried to appeal an arbitral award because arbitral awards are always final.

Prof. H Kwasi Prempeh and his ilk should spare Ghanaians, who want to have an honest discourse on this subject matter, their ignorance and wrong misrepresentations of law and fact. If they wish to speak to such matters, they should read the documents in the public domain.