US Judge dismisses case against Ghana

Ghana judgesA US District Court Judge of Columbia; Mr Beryl A. Howell, on December 31, 2013 dismissed a case against Ghana and ContiGroup that won the bid to dredge the Korle Lagoon field by TJGEM.

TJGEM, a construction firm was contesting a bridge contract.

Mrs Marieta Brew-Appiah Oppong, Minister of Justice and Attorney General made this known at a news conference in Accra, where she read the court’s ruling.

Upon an application for the dismissal of the case made by Lawyers for the Republic of Ghana, Judge Howell held that the court has no subject matter jurisdiction over the claims filed by the petitioners, TJGEM construction firm against the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Ghana and Conti Group.

The court held that even if it had jurisdiction, TJGEM likely had destroyed its own misappropriation claim by filling un-redacted, complete versions of the documents it alleges to be trade secrets, on the public docket in the matter.

“It is a well-established principle that the release of information in open court is a publication of information and, if no effort is made to limit its disclosure, operates as a waiver of any rights, a party has to restrict its further use,” the statement said.

It said TJGEM made no effort to secure the document containing the purported trade secrets, thereby calling into question whether they established the requisite reasonable efforts to safeguard their secret especially in the light of the multiple parties to which it disclosed the allegedly secret information.

“ The Ghana Defendants made it plain that the basis for selection of Conti to dredge the Korle Lagoon instead of TJGEM was that, TJGEM was created solely to attempt to pursue the subject project whereas Conti is an established company with extensive experience infrastructure recommended by the US Embassy in Accra”, Judge Howell stated.

The court held that TJGEM’s claims are at base those of a disappointed bidder that failed to win a contract with a foreign government.

TJGEM LLC field a case on March 22, 2013 of breach of contract against the Republic of Ghana, AMA, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, then Minister of Finance, Alfred Vanderpuiye, Metropolitan Chief Executive, Conti Group and six other Defendants claiming compensatory and punitive damages of 425 million dollars at the US court alleging that Ghana and its government officials Misappropriation of and conversion of Trade Secrets, Common Law Fraud, Conspiracy to Defraud, Racketeering and Economic Espionage. GNA

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