Bankswitch saga: Ministries of Trade, Finance in turf war- Baako

Editor-in-chief of the Crusading Guide newspaper is pointing to a simmering turf war between the Ministries of Trade and Industries as well as Finance over how to deal with the Bankswitch judgment scandal.

Malik Kweku Jnr said he has sufficient documentation to prove this turf war and when challenged he would make them available.

“They won’t admit it; they will come and deny it. There is enough documentation over this matter and when they talk plenty we will produce the letters,” Baako indicated on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile.

Government is saddled with a judgment debt of 197 million cedis when it illegally abrogated a contract signed with Bankswitch to provide appropriate classification and evaluation of imported products.

The IT company proceeded to the International Court and sought damages for a wrongful termination of contract.

The court ruled in the company’s favour and asked Ghana to either pay the 197million cedis in full or in installments of five years with interest on the principal sum.

Strategies by government to pay up the debt have created pretty much the same controversy as was the controversy that surrounded the abrogation of the contract.

The Trade Minister Dr Spio-Gabrah has written to five Destination Inspection Companies with a proposal for them to raise $35 million each to pay up the Bankswitch debt in exchange for contracts.

The proposal has raised many eyebrows with the opposition New Patriotic Party accusing him of the possibility of breaching the procurement law.

But the Minister remains adamant in his quest to raise the monies and has dared critics to name which law in the country he has broken.

In defence of his action Spio-Gabrah suggested he had the full support of the Finance Ministry to carry out the proposal.

On the contrary however, the Finance Ministry released a statement which stated that no decision had been taken yet on how to fund the debt.

Discussing the issue on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile, Kweku Baako Jnr said the issue of the Bankswitch debt is a potential “minefield” and the government must tread cautiously.

He disagreed with the Trade Minister’s assertion that he had executed the DIC proposal in a transparent manner having written all his letters officially on the letter heads of the Ministry.

Kweku Baako Jnr said writing letters on the letter heads of the Ministry is no substitute in fulfilling the dictates of the procurement law, adding almost all of the issues dealt with in court, including the judgment debt cases had letters written on official letter heads.

According to him, there are different interest groups fighting over a gold mine at the Ports and urged government to suspend all activities at the ports at least for now.

A private legal practitioner Yaw Oppong who was also on the show said Customs would have to be empowered to do the jobs that the DICs have been given.

He does not understand why such a lucrative business be handed to private hands when the Customs can be given the right training to do same.


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