Monday, June 29, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday, June 27, 2015

The appointment of Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei by the President as the new boss of the Electoral Commission (EC) is receiving mixed reactions from the public.

While some have misgivings about Mrs. Osei’s latest appointment, others are of the opinion that President John Mahama made the right choice in replacing Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan who retired last month.

Dr Ransford Gyampo, a Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana said “It’s a plus for the Mahama administration in terms of appointment of women to key decision-making positions,” and added that “it is a good precedent that will foster national efforts to empower women.”

“It is also a clever way of (ending) controversy with respect to who takes the position of (Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan),” the political scientist told Joy FM yesterday.
Not Tainted

He said “I am not sure that Charlotte is much tainted politically even though she was appointed by the NDC to the NCCE. So in terms of people accepting her I don’t see that there will be a lot of problem.”

Dr Gyampo said “One of the fears of many parties was that ‘if you don’t take care someone who is so biased would be appointed’ but in this case, I don’t see that is the situation,” and added that even if new EC boss is seen as politically biased, that should not affect outcome of elections in the country.

“Elections are lost and won at the polling stations, period”, he said but expressed worry about the ability of the new EC boss to withstand pressures from the political parties.

“How tough is she? How assertive is she? This appointment is a test of the independence of the Electoral Commission because many have argued that the EC owed its independence to the firm character of Afari-Gyan. Now that he has retired, let’s see how the EC fares”, he said.

NCCE Platform
However, some critics of the President’s choice have said Mrs Osei may not be neutral after all.

Constitutional lawyer Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare doubted the neutrality of the newly appointed EC chair.

He claimed there was evidence that the outgoing NCCE boss used her platform to favour the late President John Mills and the then vice President John Mahama when they boycotted an IEA debate in 2012.

“There is evidence that she sought to use the NCCE, when she was chairperson, to provide then President Mills and then vice President John Mahama platforms to propagate their message when they opted to boycott the IEA debate,” Prof. Asare told Starr FM yesterday.

AFAG’s Aanger
Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) a political pressure group expressed amazement at the choice of Mrs. Osei as the new Electoral Commission boss.

AFAG challenged the Ms Osei to ensure that subsequent elections do not end up at the Supreme Court.

“Madam electoral commissioner, there is no other window of opportunity should the 2016 elections be grounded again in an electoral dispute”, AFAG said in a press statement adding “as you step to work in your new office, you have only 2 choices for a working principle. Either you consider serving your God & country in search of a peaceful and stable Ghana for your children and children’s children or you sacrifice this God given virtue to the whims and caprices of your appointing authority obviously to jeopardize the stability of this country.”

 “A few women in the past few years have brought their public office into disrepute. We urge you not to follow same. The role of IPAC as a consultative forum for stakeholders should not be over looked and undermined.”

The new EC boss is lawyer with experience in public service management and institutional reform. She also has deep knowledge in corporate law, banking, insurance, project financing and public-private partnerships.

Mrs Osei holds a Masters in Law (LLM) from Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada and a Master’s in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa, Pretoria. She obtained an LLB (Hons) from the University of Ghana in 1992.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Minerals Commission Dr. Tony Aubynn says the adoption of proper local content policy can improve the image of mining companies in the country.

“One thing is certain, local content framework is increasingly gaining a central place in policy development in Ghana’s extractives industries,” he said in Accra yesterday.

Dr. Aubynn was speaking at a dialogue on mining governance organized by the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), an economic policy institute supporting Africa's long-term growth through transformation with support from the government of Australia.

Of late, Australian government is supporting a series of public forums in Ghana that will bring key players together to discuss the future of mining, and its role in promoting transformative development for the nation.

ACET is the main partner facilitating the Public-Private Sector Dialogue on mining governance in Ghana.

The Minerals Commission CEO said although the Mineral and Mining Law (PNDC Law 153) 1986 and the MMA (Act 703) 2006 contained key provisions of local content requirements, the legal framework provided limited guidance on implementation but the passage of the Regulations (LI 2173), Minerals and Mining (General) Regulations, 2012 would become the ‘game changer.

He noted that Ghana’s desire to ensure that mining contributes to its economic and social development had “evolved rather slowly and without explicit policy in place.”

He said LI 2173 provided what he called “clear interpretation of the MMA 703” and focused on three key areas including the employment and promotion of local workforce, procurement of locally produced goods and services and additional licensing and reporting requirements.

“The winning formula for all stakeholders is to develop a concerted, collaborative strategy. What does that mean and how? It means developing an efficient and competitive local supplier networks for the goods and services that industry needs the most.”

Dr Aubynn further said “this takes time, consistent efforts and learning. It requires three levels of collaboration.”

The three levels include collaboration between industry and government, being an essential first step for a successful design and effective  implementation of local content measures, as well as  collaboration between the industry and local  suppliers, he said.

He said the government has a role to play, not least through its industrial policy to signal directions, outline incentives and support to build capacity and productivity, adding that grassroots collaboration between mining companies and citizens in communities where mining operations occur was also key.

"A successful strategy expands the depth of local outsourcing, opens up opportunities for more local suppliers, creates jobs, promotes technology transfer through learning by doing and offers opportunities for local management. For industry, it means reduced supply chain costs, shorten delivery times and contributing to inclusive growth. For government, it means a broader tax and a diversified growth base.”

Australian High Commission’s First Secretary Development Cooperation, Zabeta Moutafis, who opened the dialogue, said her government was determined to help in discussing and building consensus around what she called “complex issues in local content in Ghana.

“The extractives sector has a key role to play in transforming and developing Ghana into the future.”


By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, June 25, 2015

It has been confirmed that Ghana’s Presidential Jet was used to ferry $4 million cash to the Black Stars in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup, an act which subjected Ghana to international ridicule.

Additionally, it was revealed that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) released the $4 million cash on June 21, 2014 which was a Saturday, against the central bank’s own working rules.

When news broke about the mode in which the money was sent to the Brazilian capital, Brasilia where the Black Stars were due to face Christiano Ronaldo-led Portugal, the government insisted it was about $3 million they transported but the Justice Senyo Dzemefe Commission report has established it was indeed $4 million.

In the final report which had investigated what led to Ghana’s worst-ever performance at a World Cup, the three-member commission said it was President John Mahama who personally ordered the lifting of the cash following the players’ revolt over their appearance fees.

The report said the President felt it was becoming an ‘embarrassment’ to the country and had to make the order for the cash to be flown.

“On Saturday June 21, 2014 a total amount of $4m was paid by Bank of Ghana to the Ministry of Youth and Sports agent in the presence of the Chief Director, Alhaji Abdulai Yakubu, Chief Accountant, Mr. Prosper Apasu and an official of National Security.”

The report said the $4m was to be lifted upon withdrawal from the central bank but there were challenges with respect to flight arrangements and it persisted till Monday June 23, 2014 even though Ghana was scheduled to play Portugal on June 26, 2014.

“The President of the Republic had no choice but to release the Presidential Jet to lift $4 million cash so as to make sure the players received the money before the Portugal match,” the report said.

According to the report, documents tendered in-camera hearings by the Ministry of Youth and Sports showed that an amount of $3,877,500 was disbursed leaving an outstanding balance of $122,500 in the custody of the ministry.

The report said the ministry’s officials should be made to account for outstanding balance of $122,500.

All along the NDC government created the impression that the amount lifted to Brazil was less than $4 million and the jet used was never mentioned with speculation that it was a chartered flight.

President Mahama after the incident was quoted by Bloomberg, a reputable global business and finance news outlet, as saying that flying $3 million to the team was “necessary”.

According to Bloomberg, President Mahama, whose government relied on the central bank to pay its bills last quarter, had sent the jet with more than $3 million to Brasilia to prevent a possible boycott of the game against Portugal.

 “I believe valuable lessons were learned by all,” President Mahama said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News. “There was a problem with the initial mode of transportation for the payment and so we made other arrangements that, while unconventional, were necessary.”

The Black Stars’ behavior off the field overshadowed Ghana’s three games in Brazil.

Defender John Boye was seen kissing a stack of money in a hotel after it arrived by armed escort, according to Rio de Janeiro-based Globo TV.
Boye scored an own-goal in the game against Portugal as Ghana, went on to lose 2-1.

The Dzamefe Commission, glossed over a lot of issues and rather found space for Ghana’s technical formations focusing on the job of the GFA and technical brains and prescribed various tactical formations such as 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-2 as the recommended playing formations for the Black Stars and other National Teams.

In the Executive Summary of the Report, titled “The Establishment of Viable Technical Directorate for the GFA – Policy Recommendation” the Commission stated “Tactics must be flexible in application emanating from the principles of defensive and attacking play adhering to discipline which is the hallmark of modern football (system, formational play, tactics, etc.). 

This surely should run through the training programmes from the grassroots to the senior levels. Emphasis must be on the growth to excellence from the unknown. The formation within the brand was recommended as 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and 4-1-4-1”

The Commission also went to order the GFA to start graduating players from the Under 10 level through the Under 12s to Under 23s.

These recommendations and the large parts of the report focused more on the GFA including petty details of its operations and structure betraying the real purpose why the Commission was set up and what the large sections of the Public expected the Commission to do, with regards to the rot and incompetence that characterised the government’s handling of Ghana’s appearance in Brazil.

One of the two key issues which saw the setting up of the Commission was the delay of the appearance fees of the players and various broken promises on the fees, which eventually triggered chaos leading to the emergency flying of the money. All the core witnesses who were in Brazil and who testified at the Commission including then Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Ghana’s Coach at the tournament, Kwasi Appiah and the GFA President who was also the Management Committee Chairman, identified the delay of the money as the main issue that destabilized the Black Star camp and led to Ghana’s early elimination were glossed over.

Interestingly however, the Commission’s report pays insignificant attention to this issue and fails to answer the questions on why the money delayed, why the players were given so many failed promises until chaos set in the camp.

Even though the Commission indicates on Page 35 of its report that the Bank of Ghana transferred a total of $8,918,945.06 to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Account for the purpose of among others settling the Appearance Fees, on May 27, 2014, 16 days before the World Cup, the Commission failed to establish why the money delayed and reached the players on 25th June, 2014 a full month after it had been released.

The second main issue which led to the setting up of the Commission involved the mishandling of the supporters to Brazil and their accommodation and the decision by hundreds of the Supporters to stay in Brazil for asylum.

Interestingly, despite all the rot including the alleged fishy deals involved in their travel and the arrangements with tour operators, the poor conditions the supporters had to endure and the failure of the Ministry to even get them to the stadiums, leaving them to watch the matches on their television screens, the Commission did not make any adverse findings against a single official on these matters.

No official was recommended for sanction or investigation for this rot.
The Dzamefe Commission virtually whitewashed everyone who had hands in this scheme from the then Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani through Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah to the Project Committee Members.

The Commission only recommended that Elvis Afriyie Ankrah be surcharged for not providing documents on the stay of the 4Syte TV Crew and to be surcharged $5,603 for failure to provide supporting documents for feeding stranded supporters at Fortaleza.


SSNIT blows workers money on Black Stars
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) spent a whopping GH¢1million (¢10 billion) of workers contributions on the supporters of the senior national team, Black Stars during Ghana’s participation at World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

SSNIT, which struggles to pay workers pension was the highest contributor in terms of amount donated to support the football fans for the mundial.

The Sports Ministry under Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, then Minister solicited over GH¢4.5million from corporate bodies to send football fans mostly NDC foot-soldiers to watch the football tournament in Brazil.

The Justice Senyo Dzemefe Commission which investigated Ghana’s participation in Brazil 2014 World Cup, recorded SSNIT as making its contribution on May 2, 2014 and the highest on the list of corporate sponsors for the football fans ferried to the tournament.

Interestingly, in recent time SSNIT reportedly resorted to deducting salaries of its staff in order to present to the victims of the June 3, floods and fire as part of efforts to fulfill its corporate social responsibility.

It is reported that after bad investments of workers’ contributions over the years, the state-owned company is allegedly struggling with cash and that has compelled them to resort to deducting staff salaries to meet some of its social responsibility commitments.

Reports say some large chunk of staff are poorly paid and many have been on the same grade for about six years with management not knowing what to do.

The latest revelation in the Dzamafe report is said to be causing anger among staff of the Trust who described management action as misplaced priority.

The recent biometric exercise initiated by the Trust is in limbo because poor management.

Struggling Institutions
Interestingly almost all the state institutions that are struggling with cash to make an impact on national development paid huge amounts to support the football fans.

For instance, Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) who are all struggling to solve the protracted power crisis known as dumsor due to lack of funds as well as the Ghana Aids Commission which does not have money to even buy anti-retroviral drugs for HIV-AIDS patients managed to find money to give to the Black Stars.

The VRA paid a total of GH¢53,500 on two separate dates while GRIDCo and ECG donated GH¢50,000 each and AIDS Commission also paid GH¢3,500.

Agricultural Development Bank (adb) which has been rocked by recent union agitation and the Bank of Ghana which is struggling to tame the rise of the cedi against major currencies donated GH¢250,000 each while Metro Mass Transit whose performance has been limited due to lack of cash paid GH¢1,235.

The Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) donated GH¢300,000 while SIC Life donated GH¢100,000 according to the report.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Justice Senyo Dzemefe Commission has recommended that E-volution International introduced to the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) by Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, former Minister of Youth and Sports where GH¢1 million was parted to the private company, should be investigated.

This and other damning revelations were contained in the Dzamefe commission report submitted to President John Mahama for action.

However the government white paper released after the report had virtually whitewashed Afriyie-Ankrah of any complicity in scandal laden Ghana’s participation in the Brazil World Cup tournament.

The Commission noted that people close to the former minister of Sports, Afriyie-Ankrah including his brother Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah were paid money for no role in Black Stars or the Ministry’s set up.

The report indicated that an audit of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, stated that various sums of money were given out to several people captured as “support staff” but these people were not issued with contracts that underlined their roles.

According to the report a total of $129, 473 was paid without documentation or contracts.

The beneficiaries were an extra doctor and physiotherapist who were paid $12,632.00 each totaling $25,264.

Five persons made up two National Security Officers, two caterers and a drummer taking $5,263 each totaling $ 26, 315 and four scouts and a therapist taking $10,526.00 each totaling $52, 630.

Two backroom staff also took $12, 632 each totaling $25, 264.
The audit also stated that some officials accompanied Afriyie Ankrah to see Ghana’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Sudan in Khartoum and Egypt in Cairo were paid per diems even though they had no roles.

A total of $11,300 was paid in per diems to 19 people who were on the trips to Sudan and Egypt.

Notable among them was the Minister’s brother, Yaw Ampofo Ankrah who was paid $1,400 for the trip to Khartoum and $ 400 for the trip to Cairo to cover a 4-day stay in Cairo.

David Adegoke was paid $1,400 for the trip to Khartoum.

Seventeen other people were paid $400 each for the trip to Cairo.

According to the World Cup Commission, E-volution bossed by Fred Darko who has close ties with the embattled minister, was paid a whopping GH¢1million to set up mega fan parks in Accra and viewing centres in Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale for the 2014 football fiesta in Brazil but that did not happen in the northern regional capital.

The three-member commission said the E-volution boss Fred Darko undertook the production and management of the fan parks as a private business instead of undertaking it on behalf of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

“The funds from GNPC was paid to E-volution based on the recommendation of the former Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah,” it said, adding “GNPC was under the impression that they were dealing with the Ministry of Youth and Sports.”

The commission said the funding from GNPC was supposed to be paid to the ministry directly and not to E-volution as was done.

“One fan park in Accra and viewing centres were successfully executed   in Kumasi and Takoradi and added that “Even though the fan parks were supposed to have been undertaken under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, they were in fact undertaken by E-volution as a private business.”

The report said there was conflict of interest with regards to the conduct and performance of Fred Darko as a project coordinator and owner of E-volution and added that his evidence that sponsors were not prepared to deal with the ministry was untenable since it was the ministry that introduced E-volution to GNPC.

“The activities of the fan parks as produced and managed by E-volution International should be further investigated and any net income accruing from the execution of the fan parks should be paid to the state with interest at the prevailing banking rate.”

“Any misappropriation/misapplication of the fund given by GNPC to E-volution International on behalf of the Ministry of Youth and Sports should be refunded by E-volution International to the former Minister.”

The commission said the issue as to why the business of the fan parks became a private job of E-volution should be investigated further by the Attorney General and those found culpable should face the full rigours under the law.

It is interesting to note that the government’s white paper on the 2014 World Cup Committee appeared to shield leading NDC party officials who were deeply involved in the organization of the Black Stars trip to Brazil.
The report on the other hand seemed to shepherd Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kwasi Nyantakyi to the gallows.

It appeared silent on most of the roles played by Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, then Minister of Youth and Sport, and Minister of State at the Presidency whose evidence before the three-member Commission generated public uproar.

Interestingly, almost all the recommendations of Dzemefe Commission that directly indicted Afriyie Ankrah who was President Mahama’s campaign manager during the controversial 2012 election was vetoed by the President in the white paper.

The audit recommended that there should be “steps to retrieve the wrongful payment made to the officers as a result of the absence of a contract or memorandum of understanding between the Ministry and the individuals concerned.”


By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trade and Industry Minister Ekow Spio-Garbrah’s comment that some “evil politicians” are trying to “rape the country's treasury” in wake of the Bankswitch judgement debt saga is raising eyebrows.

The cancelation of the IT firm Bankswitch contract that brought about GH¢197 million judgement debt continues to generate heated but unending political debate about how some government official take unilateral decisions.

Matters came to a head when Mr Spio-Garbrah on Wednesday June 3, 2015 wrote five Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) with the capacity to contribute $35 million each towards repaying the Bankswitch judgement debt for contracts.

$175m versus GH¢ 197m
It means that the government will receive $175 million from the five DICs should they be able to afford the amount to settle GH¢ 197 million.

With current exchange rate of cedi to dollar at interbank rate as at Friday pegged at GH¢4.27, the NDC government will be raking in GH¢841million far in excess of the GH¢ 197 million judgement debt to Bankswitch.

The ministry in an attempt to parry its critics issued a statement and said members of the NPP government who negotiated and signed the Bankswitch contract, some current NPP MPs, their associates in civil society and friends in the media, “who wish Ghana harm can distort MOTI's action and pretend it is some kind of bribe or scandal.”

The statement said “however, when it is understood that MOTI is rather trying to help save the people of Ghana from an evil plot by some businessmen and politicians to rape the country's Treasury, then right-thinking men and women should sit up.”

Mills Impressed 
DAILY GUIDE learnt that upon assumption of office, powerful NDC personalities wanted the Bankswitch contract canceled but after heads of the various revenue agencies demonstrated to President J.E.A Mills that it was the right step to take, the late Professor agreed.

Reports say even Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, then deputy Minister of Finance in charge of revenue mobilization was impressed with the capabilities of Bankswitch helping to rake in more revenue from the ports.

President Mills is reported to have then ordered Bankswitch to continue working for at least three months for the government to assess their performance but then new Trade Minister Hannah Tetteh allegedly went ahead to call for cancelation a few days later, to the shocking disbelief of President Mills.

Bankswitch Shortchanged
Feeling shortchanged after setting up its monitoring centre, Bankswitch in 2014 filed before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in The Hague, The Netherlands after the cancellation of a contract signed in 2007 to help government mobilize revenue at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Bankswitch demanded the payment of GH¢853 million in damages for the cancellation and according to the rules of court, each party to the case was to appoint an arbiter.

The two arbiters then appointed a third person as president of the Court to hear the case and sources said that Ghana refused to appoint its arbiter forcing the hand of the court to chose one for the country.

When a teleconference was set up in 2014 at the Kofi Annan Center to enable Ghana call its witnesses, no government official showed up to question witnesses.
However, before the judgment was delivered, government filed papers explaining the contract was cancelled because it did not have parliamentary approval.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected the explanation, ruling that a local law cannot be used to relieve Ghana of its international obligation and Ghana was subsequently asked to pay in excess of 197million in judgment debt.

Details Of The Deal
Dr Spio-Garbrah confirmed on Oman FM yesterday, that the contract was awarded by the Kufuor government on 2007 and abrogated by the Mills administration and that brought the debt.

He said details of how the deal with the DICs would work was before the Ministry of Finance and the Attorney General and insisted that he was not acting alone.

“On details of how many years or how much money the DICs are going to make; we are not there yet. We have not signed any contract yet. At this stage it is only an expression of interest.”

He said that the government had started paying the debt to Bankswitch but when the IT firm wanted to renegotiate the deal that could make them receive  a whooping GH¢1 billion spread in five years from the state, his ministry decided to intervene.

When asked whether the DICs move was not in contravention of the procurement laws, the minister said he had not broken any law, saying “it is for the avoidance of paying GH¢1 billion that we are engaging the DICs.”

“I have done my part. I have forwarded everything to the Ministry of Finance and the AG to determine whether we should proceed with the deal.

Dr Spio-Garbrah said he did not want to make public backroom discussions on the deal when the host, Fiifi Boafo asked him if he was not jumping the gun in inviting the five DICs to pay $35 million each in exchange for contracts.

Controversial Letter
Interestingly, Dr Spio-Garbrah wrote to the five DICs at the same time that the government was terminating their contracts at the ports to pave way for the implementation of the National Single Window by September, 2015.

“To pay this debt, government of Ghana is informing all destination inspection companies that any of them who can advance government of Ghana an amount of 35 million dollars would be awarded a contract of 0.35 per cent of free on board values on all Ghana’s imports for at least a period of five years to enable that company recover its investments,” the letter read.

“For the 0.35 per cent FOB payment, any of the companies which make the $35 million contribution will do relevant trade facilitation within the context of the National Single Window and work with West Blue Consulting - which has been identified to implement the single window programme - on aspects of that exercise and said however, that West Blue will be paid separately.

Strange Promise
However, Nana Akomea, Communications Director of the NPP said it was strange for Dr Spio-Garbrah to promise the five DICs contracts since the Chief of Staff had already ordered that only one company called West Blue should be given contract to implement the National Single Window from September 2015.

“It is a non-starter. These are procurement laws they are trying to abuse,” he said.

“Spio continues to talk about the debt but he forgets to talk about how the debt has come to hit us in the face. Who canceled the contract? People have to be punished for some of these things.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trade and Industry Minister, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah is mounting spirited defence over a letter he wrote asking Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) to contribute a total of $175 million to defray GH¢197 million judgement debt to Bankswitch, a private IT firm in exchange for contracts.

The minister is adamant over his demand to five DICs to contribute $35 million each in spite of criticisms that the move was pure blackmail and feeds into the widely-held perception of widespread corruption in the current NDC government.

He told a pro-NDC government Radio Gold in Accra yesterday that he did not break any law in asking the DICs for support to settle the Bankswitch debt.

"Which law has been broken here? Cite the law which I have offended.  Have I stolen something or paid illegal money? I am working in broad day light with as much transparency and as open as possible."

Rather, Mr Spio-Garbrah said his action was in the best interest of the country and to protect the public purse.

He repeated a statement released by the ministry at the weekend describing critics of the move as evil and said the debt had been caused by ‘evil politicians.’

But former Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei said Spio-Garbrah doesn’t get it that he has erred.

According to the former minister and minority spokesperson for Finance, Spio has broken the procurement law by promising contracts to DICs if they help raise $35million each to help pay a judgment debt.

Dr. Akoto Osei told Joy Fm, that it was the responsibility of the Finance minister not the Trade minister to go around looking for money to fulfil a government obligation.

 “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”, Dr Akoto Osei told the Trade minister. 

GH¢200m Payment
Mr Spio-Gabrah claimed Bankswitch had already been paid GH¢200 million but claimed certain people were still plotting to run the country by demanding an extra GH¢1billion, an amount that could easily be used to fund the building of schools, roads among others.

“This is totally unconscionable," he said, adding that the ministry devised means to stop this GH¢1 billion payment and said it was the reason the ministry decided to ask the DICs to help the government.

It means that the government will receive $175 million from the five DICs should they be able to afford the amount to settle GH¢ 197 million.

With current exchange rate of cedi to dollar at interbank rate as at Friday pegged at GH¢4.27, the NDC government will be raking in GH¢841million far in excess of the GH¢ 197 million judgement debt to Bankswitch.

Cancelation of Contract
Bankswitch’s contract with Ghana government was abrogated by the NDC administration under President John Evans Atta Mills with current President John Dramani Mahama sitting as a Vice President at Cabinet.

Bankswitch then dragged Ghana government to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands for unlawful termination of their contract and the court awarded damage in excess of GH¢197 million to the company.

 Bankswitch in 2014 filed before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in The Hague, the Netherlands after the cancellation of a contract signed in 2007 to help government mobilize revenue at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Bankswitch demanded the payment of GH¢853 million in damages for the cancellation.

According to the rules of court, each party to the case was to appoint an arbiter.

 The two arbiters then appoint a third person as president of the Court to hear the case.

Sources said that Ghana refused to appoint its arbiter forcing the hand of the court to chose one for Ghana.

When a teleconference was set up at the Kofi Annan Center to enable Ghana call its witnesses, no government official showed up to question witnesses.

Before a judgment was delivered, government filed papers explaining the contract was cancelled because it did not have parliamentary approval.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected the explanation, ruling that a local law cannot be used to relieve Ghana of its international obligation.
Ghana was asked to pay in excess of 197million in judgment debt.