The Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, has entreated auctioneers to be mindful that they do not have “an implied authority” to conclude a sale through private negotiation (private treaty) without recourse to the courts.
He explained that per the Auction Sales Law, auctioneers could undertake such private sales only in cases where the vendor accepted a purchaser introduced by the auctioneer, subject to the leave of the court.
“In that case, the auctioneer has the right to claim remuneration from the vendor,” Justice Anin Yeboah said in a speech read on his behalf by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Yonny Kulendi, at the inauguration of the newly formed Professional Auctioneers Society Ghana (PAS-G) in Accra yesterday.
The Chief Justice cautioned auctioneers that “any untoward breach” of the law could lead to a revocation of their licence and in some cases be subjected to civil and criminal prosecution.
The Chief Justice mentioned sale through private treaty without recourse to the courts, selective bidding, and failure to give adequate notice of a sale as among the complaints that were often associated with the work of auctioneers.
Justice Anin Yeboah said he found the issue of inadequate notice “very unacceptable and avoidable” as the law had provided the requirements of undertaking an auction, the content of the notice, the period, and where it should be displayed.
He charged auctioneers to let the principles of the profession “be at your fingertips” to ensure professionalism in the discharge of their duties.
File your proceeds
Justice Anin Yeboah further noted that under the law, all proceeds of the purchase must be filed with the courts.
“Always ensure that the address of the subject matter in the order of reserved price must be consistent with the address on the notice of auction and Auction Sales Report so as to avoid confusion, fraud and misrepresentation,” he said.
Justice Anin Yeboah told members of the PAS-G to be mindful that their profession was a noble one and exercise high professional standards and integrity to engender public trust and eliminate negative perceptions about the work of auctioneers.
He urged them to always ensure that their conduct was within the remit of the law.
“In as much as your work comes with privileges, it also carries responsibilities. Be guided by the law. Avoid any unnecessary underhand dealings and shortcuts,” he said.
Outlining the mission of the association, the Chairman of the PAS-G, Mr Calvis Okine, said the organisation would work to modernise auctioneering in Ghana as well as serve as a vital force to champion the concerns of players in the industry.
He said the association would assume full responsibilities for the coordination of all aspects of research and learning to ensure adherence to ethical and professional standards.
“We are ready to represent auctioneers in any government activity in the country. We shall contribute to vigorous legal discussions and reforms in a new governing law to help develop digital marketing in this era of globalisation and electronic commerce,” he assured