Client yells at counsel: You have Duped me, Payback My Filing Fee! Counsel hits back: you are extortionist, blackmailer
A Tema-based businessman is on the heels of Ellis Kwame Quashigah, a lawyer, to compensate him and take care of his current condition as result of the lawyer’s exhibition of bad faith.
McCarthy Mensah, Proprietor of DS Group Engineering and Consultancy Services, told The Chronicle that on May 24, last year, he paid GH¢5,000 to Ellis Kwame Quashigah of Quashigah and Co (Dzidedi Chambers), Accra, with receipt number 0001273 as filing fee for a debt recovery case between him, the businessman, and STE Kassoum Zombre Sarl-V of the Republic of Togo.
Having paid the money to the lawyer, Mr Mensah said the former later produced a photocopy of a writ of summons and statement of claim respectively.
“He called to inform me that he had done the filing, and so I could go to his Chambers for it from his Secretary. He told me that I had to pay GH¢2,000 for a courier, as the defendant company is based in Lomé. He also demanded the contact number of the defendant company, which I gave him,” McCarthy Mensah recounted.
Later, he said his lawyer, Mr Quashigah, demanded that he pay more money to be given to a bailiff to travel to Lomé to serve the same Writ of Summons again on the defendant company.
“After all that, I demanded the receipt issued to him by the DHL courier, but my lawyer failed to produce it. I consulted another lawyer who advised me to conduct a search and investigate my lawyer, and lo and behold, we (McCarthy and new lawyer) found that the Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim Quashigah claimed he had served the defendant company were fake.
“I had a shock to the extent that I abruptly bit my tongue,” Mr Mensah said.
McCarthy Mensah said he contacted Ellis Quashigah, who allegedly admitted his inactions and promised to pay his client all that he had spent.
“As he started paying the money in piecemeal, I one day woke up to realise that my left limbs were partially being paralysed. I was dashed to the Margaret Marquart Catholic Hospital at Kpando, where I was diagnosed of mild stroke, with a BP of 218/146.
“I’ve been discharged home, but I’m still battling with sickness, as I sank all my money into pursuing the case between my company and STE Kassoum Zombre Sarl-V of Lome, Togo. For months now, I’ve been battling with BP, and I need Ellis Kwame Quashigah to compensate me and also take care of my current conditions for putting me into this,” he said.
He requested the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council to take up his case for justice to be served him.
In his explanations, Ellis Quashigah told the General Legal Council that the complainant made it clear to his Chambers that he was engaged by the Togo-based company to hire trucks for the hauling of chippings from Accra to Aflao under terms and conditions, and as a result of same, his (complainant’s) company sub-let the said contract to DT Adjonyor, which is into plant hiring.
But, the sub-contractor failed to deliver the specified trucks, thus, the principal company abrogated the contract with McCarthy’s company.
“According to the complainant, and per the calculations that were made before me, if not for the abrogation of the contract, the complainant would have earned over GH¢10 million,” he explained.
“The complainant added that he had earlier consulted a couple of lawyers, but due to the quantum of claim he was demanding, and the fact that he had no money to file the claim, he was turned down by the lawyers. According to him, the lawyers demanded GH¢15,000 to file his claim. I promised him of mobilising GH¢10,000 so that he mobilise GH¢5,000 to file the claim, which took him a while to raise.
“I am a boxing promoter, so as he was delaying in raising the GH¢5,000, I drafted a claim and left an amount of GH¢15,000-GH¢10,000 from me, and GH¢5,000 from the complainant to my clerk. Then I left for the States for a boxing promotion. While in the States, the complainant and I communicated via WhatsApp,” Lawyer Quashigah told the General Legal Council; a copy of his document to the Council is in possessing of The Chronicle.
But realising a couple of developments he considered demeaning to his profession, Lawyer Quashigah said he met the complainant and one Dr Agumenu at the Alisa Hotel, where they resolved that he refund the complainant’s filing fee of GH¢5,000, and compensate him fully for the waste of time.
“I even offered to that once I was now going to be stable in the country, I or my managing partner could re-file his case, but the complainant said he was only interested in recovery of the filing fee plus the compensation. After negotiation, we agreed on GH¢18,000 compensation. On that said day, I refunded the complainant’s GH¢5,000, plus a token of GH¢2,000 to Dr Agumenu,” he said.
He said after a couple of weeks, he sent some portions of the compensation to the complainant and the rest to his wife’s mobile phone per instructions from the complainant that his wife’s mobile phone money account had a bigger capacity to absorb the quantum of mobile money he would transfer.
“The last GH¢5,000 payment was transferred by Dr Donald Agumenu himself, the mediator in the matter. That transfer became necessary because the complainant had threatened me that if he did not receive the said compensation by close of that said day, he would report me to the Legal Counsel for my practicing licence revoked. So, this matter, I believe, has been put to rest,” Ellis Quashigah noted.
He noted that McCarthy Mensah’s claim that he, Ellis Quashigah, was responsible for his unfortunate development of mild stroke was an afterthought, saying: “The complainant cannot, after receiving full compensation from me, turn around concocting stories through blackmail for another round of compensation. This is a clear case of extortion.”
But, McCarthy Mensah said it was not true that Ellis Kwame Quashigah had paid him compensation.