• May 22, 2020

    THE DIGITAL AGENDA: LEGAL REFORMS TO ACCOMMODATE FINTECH IN GHANA

    PART 1: DEVELOPMENT OF FINTECH INTRODUCTION On 21st March 2019, Ghana passed the Payment Systems and Services Act 2019 (Act 987), as part of her initiatives to digitise her economy. The 2024 Cash-lite Agenda by the Bank of Ghana is to Foster efficient payments;[1] Improve financial inclusion; and Enhance financial innovations. In an address[2] by Dr. Ernest Addison[3] at the Inauguration of Payment Systems Advisory Committee, Dr. Addison stated that due to the increasing digitisation of payment systems, in the country and globally, it was incumbent on Ghana to develop a strong regulatory framework to oversee the emerging financial digital environment. It is against this sentiment that the Payment Systems and Services Act 2019 (Act 987) was passed. In this Article, the author seeks not only to discuss the inclusion of Fintech companies in the economic framework of Ghana but also discuss the new Payment Systems and Services Act 2019 (Act 987) which is aimed at ensuring a stronger legal framework within the Fintech industry. WHAT IS FINTECH? As the world continues to push for a cashless society, many economies have seen a rise in Fintech (financial technology). Fintech broadly refers to computer programs and other technology used to support or facilitate banking and financial services. Popular examples of Fintech used in everyday life in include, crowdfunding platforms, blockchains and cryptocurrencies, mobile payments and budgeting applications. Crowdfunding Platforms Popular crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe and Patreon allow internet users transfer money to each other. Often used as a means to create a money pool, more people are inching away from the traditional way of seeking sponsorships through letter writing and loan applications; and are instead soliciting funds from fellow internet users worldwide.   Blockchain and Cryptocurrency With the advent of bitcoin, cryptocurrency sparked global interest. Cryptocurrency, i.e. virtual or digital money which often takes the form of tokens or coins, uses cryptography to secure financial transactions, and verify digital transfer of assets. This form of Fintech uses blockchain technology, which is an electronic ledger dependent on peer to peer systems, to reduce the incidence of cyber fraud and governmental control and interreference. This ledger is openly shared among a myriad of users to create an unchangeable record of transactions; each transaction is time-stamped and linked to the previous one making it impossible for one user to gain a monopoly or commit fraud. Every time a set of transactions is added, that data becomes another block in the chain thus the name “blockchain”.   Mobile Payments Per data from Statista[4], revenue from mobile payments increased worldwide from $450 billion in 2015 to $930 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $1trillion in 2019. With the spread of smartphones, mobile payments through applications and platforms like “Apple Pay”, “Paypal”, “Cashapp” and “Venmo” are fast gaining popularity. In some countries, basic mobile phones suffice to transact these mobile payments. For instance, telecommunication companies such as MTN and Vodafone have created an electronic wallet service called mobile money, which allows mobile phone users to receive, store and spend money using their devices.   Budgeting Applications Increasingly, individuals are beginning to rely on their […]

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  • May 9, 2020

    NAVIGATING THE MAZE OF STRIKING OUT PLEADINGS – A HANDS-ON APPROACH TO INVOKING THE HIGH COURTS JURISDICTION

    By Kwabena Frimpong Mensah Esq.* INTRODUCTION Disputes and in effect litigation, are aspects of life that have been in existence since the days of old. The earliest form of a dispute is seen in the Bible in Genesis Chapter 13 versus 5-8 where a dispute arose between Abram and Lot over who should occupy the land which they found themselves on. As is common within the practice, there are instances where the pleadings in a suit do not disclose a cause of action against a party. There would also be instances where the whole action was instituted with the aim of litigating a dispute, the merits of which had previously been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.   What then can a litigant in that situation do? Are there any remedies available to a party who is being vexed twice? And if there are any remedies, how does the litigant access these remedies? Does litigation does truly come to an end? The purpose of this article would be to give a step by step account of what legal practitioners can do when their clients are faced with such challenges. This article will take into account the respective provisions of the High Court Civil Procedure Rules, C.I 47 and decided cases of the Ghanaian Courts. THE COURTS JURISDICTION STRIKE OUT PLEADINGS The power granted the courts to strike out a pleading for not disclosing a cause of action is exercised in two main ways, either under the provisions of the rules of the High Court (C.I. 47) or under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.Though both means give the same results, the two employ different methods at reaching the desired result. The inherent jurisdiction is a doctrine of the English common law under which a superior court has the jurisdiction to hear any matter that comes before it, unless a statute or rule limits that authority or grants exclusive jurisdiction to some other court or tribunal. In the case of Bremer Vulkan Schiffbau und Maschinenfabrik v. South India Shipping Corporation Ltd[1], Lord Diplock described the court’s inherent jurisdiction as a general power to control its own procedure to prevent the court from being used to achieve injustice. In like manner, the case of Standard Chartered Bank (Gh) Ltd v. Western Hardwood Ltd,[2] held that aside its general jurisdiction, a superior court has an inherent jurisdiction to correct its own errors in order to prevent abuse of processes and to ensure convenience and fairness when such errors are brought to its attention, irrespective of who presides over the court. The jurisdiction which is inherent in a superior court of law is that which enables it to fulfil itself as a court of law. The juridical basis of this jurisdiction is therefore the authority of the judiciary to uphold, to protect and to fulfil the judicial function of administering justice according to law in a regular, orderly and effective manner The High Court is empowered under the rules of Court by Order 11 Rule 18(1) to strike out pleadings in certain situations. The order reads as follows “The Court may at any […]

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  • April 28, 2020

    LABOUR RELATIONS IN THE WAKE OF COVID-19: IMPLICATIONS OF THE CORONA VIRUS ON LABOUR CONTRACTS

    Kwabena Frimpong Mensah Esq. and Enyimnyam Paintsil Esq. 1. INTRODUCTION With the onset of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic[1] across the world, life as we know it has come to a virtual standstill.  Every sector of the global economy has been hit, international trade has been stalled and industries crashed; across the world, there is a genuine sense of despair. The most affected by this are the employers who for the next couple of weeks will have to decide the best way to save their businesses and the livelihoods of their employees. In the capitalist world we find ourselves in, saving the business seems to be the alternative the greater majority will take. In doing so, workers will either be put on unpaid leave or be laid off and for those who are lucky, said workers would receive their monthly salaries with or without salary reductions for the period. As at Friday 17th April, 2020, 22 million Americans had filed for unemployment relief after being laid off due to the continued spread of COVID-19.[2] Ghana, like most countries, is also suffering from the pandemic, with casual and permanent workers sitting on tenterhooks over their employment situation during and post COVID-19. The purpose of this article will be to spell out the legal framework in place for employer and employees in such a situation, the protection the law provides each party and also the doctrines of frustration of contracts, Force Majeure, redundancy and leave without pay.   2. EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS IN GHANA In Ghana, employment relations are governed by the provisions of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651)[3]; the Contracts Act 1960 (Act 25), the principles of common law[4] and the various judicial decisions on employment issues delivered by the courts. The employment relationship, like all other legal relationships is created by a contract between the employer[5] and the employee. In Ghana, employment contracts are to be in writing except where the tenure of the employment does not exceed a period of six months.[6]  Section 12 of the Labour Act[7], which is headed “Contract of Employment” states, “(1) The employment of a worker by an employer for a period of six months or more or for a number of working days equivalent to six months or more within a year shall be secured by a written contract of employment. (2) A contract of employment shall express in clear terms the rights and obligations of the parties.” However, the absence of a written contract does not invalidate an employment contract. Per Section 11 of the Contracts Act[8], a contract shall not be made void or unenforceable simply because it is not in writing. In a similar vein, Section 175 of the Labour Act[9], defines the term “contract of employment” as a contract of service whether express or implied, and if express whether oral or in writing. The common terms of an employment contracts are; The rights[10] and duties[11] of the employer and the employee; The employee’s leave entitlements (sick leave, annual leave, unpaid leave, maternity leave)[12] Maximum hours of work[13] Remuneration payable to the employee[14] Termination of the employment contract[15]   3. […]

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