General News of Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Former Minister of State at the Finance Ministry says the Trade Minister Dr. Spio Garbrah has broken the procurement law by promising contracts to Destination Inspection Companies if they help raise $35million each to help defray a judgment debt.
Dr. Akoto Osei stated on Joy News, it is the responsibility of the Finance minister not the Trade minister to go around looking for money to fulfill a government obligation.
The Trade Minister Dr. Ekow Spio Garbrah has been patting himself on the back after asking five Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) to pay $35million to help defray the judgment debt government incurred when it abrogated a contract with Bankswitch, an IT solutions provider.
The five companies will be considered for contracts at favourable terms that would make them recoup the $35 million.
The Ministry believes it is a creative solution to pay off a debt which could escalate to nearly 1billion cedis if government continues to default.
Trade Minister has rejected claims by some Minority members that his actions constitute bribery. He also challenged NPP Abuakwa MP Atta Akyea who made the claim, to quote which law has been broken by his actions.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah says the letter to the DICs was distributed on government letterhead to demonstrate transparency in the deal.
The minister went ahead to accuse some ‘evil’ politicians and businesses of trying to “rape the national treasury” by causing the taxpayer to pay for their actions.
But Dr. Akoto Osei who was the minister in the Kufuor-led government and who signed the Bankswitch contract in 2007 said the contract was to help in revenue mobilisation at the ports.
He was surprised the contract was cancelled in 2010 after the NDC took office.
Reacting to Spio’s claims, Dr. Akoto Osei said the Trade minister has gone “way beyond his limits” in entering into deals with the DICs.
“When did he become the loan officer for Ghana? When did he become a loan officer? So if he doesn’t know the laws he should check the laws that no minister, not even the president can sign a contract worth that amount. That is why we have rules”, Akoto Osei dismissed the Trade minister.
He stated the Dr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah should be ready for further revelations on government’s handling of a GHC197million judgment debt.
He said the minister should tread cautiously because the same Bankswitch scandal led to the death of president John Mills.