The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) says the Mahama administration must come clean on why it terminated a contract with IT solutions and services provider, Bankswitch Ghana, resulting in the award of more than GHC197 million judgment debt against the state.
The NPP says government’s reaction after the award of the judgment against the state also raises eyebrows.
The Trade Ministry’s appeal to Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) to help pay off the judgment debt in exchange for contracts is a curious move, the NPP said.
“Cancelling the Bankswitch contract was wrong. When private companies put their monies into paying public debt in exchange for contract, what are you saying? That people should come and pay money so you give them contract. So there is a major problem there, and every Ghanaian must take an interest in this matter”, NPP Communications Director, Nana Akomea, told Joy News.
According to him Bankswitch’s contract with the state was without fault and hence should never have been terminated.
“We have to hold the NDC government to account to explain to us how they cancelled a genuine contract that has plunged this country into paying…this debt”, he said.
The Trade Ministry however has said asking DICs to contribute 35 million dollars each to assist government pay the judgment debt in return for contracts is aimed at saving the state from paying over one billion Ghana cedis in debt.
The statement signed by Ag. Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Nana Akrasi Sarpong, explains that the Prof Mills administration terminated the contract awarded under the Kufuor administration because it was improperly done and that Bankswitch had not performed the services for which it was contracted to perform.
The statement says Bankswitch had sought to have Government pay the entire judgment debt over a 5-year period. In addition Government will award Bankswitch a 0.35% of the FOB values of all Ghana’s imports ove the period.
The ministry says Bankswitch would have been worth more than One billion cedis over the five-year period, if it had agreed to the plan, explaining further that it was for this reason it openly and transparently invited the destination inspection companies to express interest in pre-paying the 197 million Ghana Cedis to save the state in overpayments.
But the Ministry of Trade and Industry is also convinced the move to seek assistance from the DICs has been deliberately blown out of proportion to make the ministry look bad.
“Members of the NPP government who negotiated and signed the Bankswitch contract, some current NPP MPs, their associates in civil society and friends in the media, who wish Ghana harm can distort MOTI’s [Ministry of Trade and Industry] action and pretend it is some kind of bribe or scandal”, the statement said.
The statement released Saturday warned that “The Minister of Trade and Industry is consulting his lawyers and is prepared to take swift legal action against any media house or commentators who wish to toy with and damage the hard-earned global reputation for hard work, creative problem-solving, professionalism, competence and integrity of Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah [the minister]”.
Meanwhile, the DICs have submitted Expressions of Interest in the deal for the Trade Ministry’s consideration.
The DICs are Gateway Services Limited, Ghana Link, BIVAC, WEBB Fontaine and Inspection and Control Services.
Dr Spio-Garbrah told the Daily Graphic newspaper Sunday that the Expression of Interest offers by the five companies had been submitted to the Ministry of Finance for consideration and action.