Bankswitch Award Shoots To $110m
Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, Attorney General
A month after winning a whopping GH¢197,401,872 million ($88m) judgment debt from the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in a case of wrongful abrogation of contract, Bankswitch Ghana (BG) is pushing for some additional payments which are expected to increase government’s overall liability to the company.
The supplementary payments or add-ons, which are said to be part of the terms of the judgment delivered by The Hague-based court on April 11, 2014, would add GH¢34,545,327.95 to the original award thus, bringing government’s total indebtedness to GH¢231,947,201 ($110m), the Centre for Investigative Reporting Ghana (CIRGHA) has revealed.
The additional GH¢34,545,327.95 being sought by the company is meant to cover VAT and NHIL payments which, per the directives of the court, are to be calculated on the award and paid to Bankswitch by the government of Ghana, CIRGHA has further revealed.
In a letter filed to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice by its lawyers – Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah – BG is also insisting that interests be calculated on the award from ’12 th April, 2014 until the date of final payment, as well as VAT and NHIL on any interest accrued…,’ a situation which would see a further spike in government’s liability to the company.
‘Furthermore, interest calculated at the annual average interest rate of all Ghanaian commercial banks (see paragraph 11.207 of the Award) is payable on the Award from the 12 th April, 2014 until date of final payment, as well as VAT and NHIL on any interest accrued.’
The letter, which was sighted by CIRGHA, was copied to the Chief of Staff, Office of the President; the Minister, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; the Accountant-General, Accountant-General’s Department; the Executive Secretary, Revenue Agencies and Governing Board and the Commissioner-General, Ghana Revenue Authority.
In its ruling earlier this month, the PCA upheld claims by Bankswitch Ghana that its contract to manage the GCSDMS was wrongfully abrogated by the government of Ghana and subsequently awarded Bankswitch Ghana one of the largest settlements in the history of the court, to compensate for their loss.
Until 2012, Bankswitch Ghana was the lead agency in the implementation of Ghana’s first fully integrated electronic platform employed in the processing of imports at the ports.
However, the issue of the legality of the contract awarded to Bankswitch Ghana is currently before the Supreme Court of Ghana.
In a suit brought against a consortium of companies led by Bankswitch Ghana, Dr. Clement Apaak, who is adamant that Bankswitch is entitled to any such claim, is praying the Supreme Court of Ghana to declare the purported contract null and void on the basis that it (contract) lacked parliamentary approval pursuant to Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution.
We produce a copy of the letter for your perusal.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
Re: Bankswitch Ghana Limited V. The Republic of Ghana (PCA CASE NO. 2011-10)
The above-titled matter refers.
As you are aware, on 11 th April, the Arbitral Tribunal issued their Award in the matter to the tune of GH¢197,401,874.00 in favour of Bankswitch Ghana Limited and against the Government of Ghana. (Please find enclosed a copy of the Arbitration Award).
Kindly note that Value Added Tax (VAT) and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) in the amount of GH¢34,545,327.95 is payable on the Award. (Please find attached an invoice for the total sum of GH¢231,947,201.95).
Furthermore, interest, calculated at the annual average interest rate of all Ghanaian commercial banks (paragraph 11.207 of the Award), is payable on the Award from 12 th April, 2014 until date of final payment, as well as VAT and NHIL on any interest accrued.
We are instructed by our client to demand, and we hereby demand, the immediate payment of a total sum of GH¢231,947,201.95, as well as interest accrued on the GH¢197,401,874 at the annual average interest rate of all Ghanaian commercial banks, from 12 th April, 2014 to date of final payment, and VAT and NHIL on the interest amount.
Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah
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