Court throws out case against gov’t over digital migration contract

Business News of Monday, 9 March 2015

Source: Starrfmonline.com

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A Commercial Court has thrown out an interlocutory injunction application filed by StarTimes against the Communication Ministry over what it has described as unlawful termination of its contract.

The firm was tasked to supply and install the Digital Terrestrial Television network platform for Ghana. But according to the communications ministry, the firm failed to secure the necessary funding from the China Exim Bank to execute the project.

The Chinese firm then filed a suit in court seeking an injunction on government’s move to abrogate their contract.

However, Justice George K. Koomson, dismissed the suit on Monday.

According to Starr News’ court correspondent, Wilberforce Asare, the judge has fixed March 16 to give reasons for his decision.

“It basically means that the process which was stalled because of the court case can now resume,” deputy communications minister Ato Sarpong told Starr News. “We are going back to proceed with our plans of getting a new vendor and ensure that our digital migration plans come back on track.”

He said Ghana is still on track to meet the 17th June deadline.

According to him, the ministry will start a review and shortlist for a new vendor out of the 17 on the waiting list.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has set a June 2015 deadline for all countries to migrate from analog to digital television broadcasting.

In view of this, government entered into a contract with the Chinese company to supply the infrastructure for the migration.

In October 2013, some local industry players raised questions about the capacity of StarTimes to execute the contract and meet the deadline.

They pointed to the cancellation of a similar contract by the Tanzanian government as a basis for their doubt.

They said they were waiting with bated breath for the development in Tanzania because, according to them, the decision to award Ghana’s contract to the company was without proper due diligence.

Sources at the Communications Ministry at the time remained confident that the migration would be done and on time by StarTimes.

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