General News of Tuesday, 23 June 2015
The Trade Committee of Parliament is set to probe the basis of the Trade Ministry’s letter asking Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) to help pay off a Bankswitch judgment debt in exchange for contracts.
Minority Spokesperson on Finance and former Minister of state under the Kufuor administration, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei says talks are already underway in parliament to get to the bottom of the issue.
“The Ranking Member for the Trade and Industry [Committee] was telling me they may do something about it…We may discuss it at the Finance Committee and see what further steps we will take. I think we should get to the bottom of this”, he said.
The sector Minister, Dr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah, has come under fierce criticism for asking the DICs to contribute 35 million dollars towards the payment of the 197 million cedi debt in exchange for preferential government contracts.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah maintains he has breached no law. He says the move was aimed at saving the state from paying an even bigger debt.
The judgement debt was awarded against the state by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague for terminating a contract with Bankswitch Ghana Ltd, an IT services and solutions provider.
Dr. Akoto Osei insists the Minister’s letter to the DICs was a bad call.
“The government having admitted that it went wrong in abrogating the contract in the first place and now a Minister is trying to, as it were, auction the judgement debt…that is not good for the nation”, he adds.
Meanwhile, the six DICs operating in the country have expressed interest in the Trade Ministry’s proposal.
They, however, say they will first interrogate the legality of the Ministry’s approach once detailed negotiations begin on the proposed preferential contracts.