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NLA to pay $45m as Judgment Debt

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Business News of Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Source: Citifmonline.com

National Lottery Authority NLA

The National Lottery Authority (NLA) may have to cough up about $45 million to settle another judgment debt to SIMNET, an IT infrastructure company.

This comes after paying a debt of Ghc30 million for delayed payment of invoices with interest to SIMNET from an earlier court order.

NLA has been ordered again by an Accra High court to pay another judgment debt.

The court ordered NLA to pay the money in a second lawsuit filed by SIMNET as damages caused by the NLA for engaging the services of a French company to render the same services it contracted SIMNET to deliver.

Citi News gathered that the NLA has opted for an out of court settlement.

But speaking on the Citi Eyewitness News, a former Board Chair of the NLA, Dr. Sali Agbozo, insisted that the SIMNET contract was not terminated.

He explained that when he took over in 2009, they were supposed to complete an automation of the lottery system with the aim of halting the lapses in the system.

He said, “before we got there, there has been various correspondence between NLA and SIMNET to bring more portable point of sale terminals for the lotto business,” adding that “NLA before our tenure had already gone to PPA to secure approval for the purchase of 2,000 point of sale terminals for the lotto business.”

He said they later increased the number of terminals to 10,000 “because we need to cover the whole country. We actually corresponded with them [SIMNET] on several occasions to bring in more terminals, and we informed them that we were ready to go and purchase terminals…we didn’t hear from them so we acted as such.”

He said even after securing the terminals, they wrote a letter to SIMNET informing them of the move “and for that matter, we assured them that we will run our business whereby they will operate their equipment and the NLA too will handle their own business, so we never terminated any contract with them.”

“What happened was that they were unhappy, so they were using various means to frustrate us,” he said; adding that because they owed SIMNET, they issued post-dated cheques, which SIMNET was cashing.

He said his outfit later told SIMNET to submit an IT audit report, but the situation ended up in court, adding that, “when we requested the audit, they refused to comply and before we realized they took us to court,” he lamented adding, “we told the court that if they do the audit we will pay them.”

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