Asana Hot Over ‘Stinking’ Deal
… Fingers Benonita, Threatens To Sue
Deputy Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Sylvia Asana Owu, has threatened to sue THE PUBLISHER newspaper if she does not get an apology over a recent publication that she signed a contentious fumigation contract for and on behalf of the Authority without the consent, permission of even foreknowledge of her boss, the substantive Chief Executive Officer, Benonita Bismarck.
THE PUBLISHER insists the publication was in the public interest and was factually accurate in stating that the current Chief Executive of the GSA was not in the known her deputy had signed such a contract.
Indeed, all checks and rechecking done shows that Benonita Bismarck expressed utter shock when it was brought to her attention that her deputy, Asana, had signed the said fumigation contract on June 23, 2017 when she, (Benonita Bismarck), was at post after she was appointed by President Akufo-Addo to head the GSA but was never informed about the contract.
The said contentious contract, awarded through sole-sourcing, was for a company by name LCB Worldwide (LCB) to fumigate all cargoes, vehicles and containers that would pass through the ports of Ghana. A fumigation levy was to be passed on to owners of the said cargo.
The contract stated among other interesting requirements that this fumigation would be exclusively done by LCB for a period of 25 years after which it could be renewed for another 10 years.
Interestingly, stakeholders in the import and export business, after getting wind of the fumigation contract raised a huge objection and series of protests until government announced the exercise had been suspended indefinitely.
The stakeholders, including the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) argued that cargoes are fumigated at the port of origin therefore an additional fumigation upon arrival in Ghana would increase cost and duplicate activities leading to possible delay in clearing goods.
“Before signing the contract, our client had a discussion with the Chief Executive Officers, past and present of the Authority who instructed her (our client) to sign the contract on behalf of the Authority and that our client’s signature was witnessed by the Authority’s Acting Head of Legal”, an official letter addressed to THE PUBLISHER from lawyers of Asana Owu noted.
The letter, from one of the most reputable legal firms in the country noted further: “…our client has instructed us to demand from you and we hereby so do that you retract that part of your publication which said that our client signed the contract unilaterally “without the consent, permission” and foreknowledge of her boss, the substantive Chief Executive Officer”. The question as to whether or not the contract stinks or is contentious being your opinion…
“Our client further demands that the retraction which must be accompanied by an apology, be made with the same prominence as the offending publication. And please take notice that should you fail to heed to our client’s demand within seven (7) days from the date of this letter, we have our client’s instructions to take appropriate action against you, without further notice to you.”
After the initial publication in THE PUBLISHER, the paper received several calls from very highly respected persons who called for a cease fire and suggested that whatever anomaly that had occurred could be handled out of media circles.
The paper’s editorial team yielded to the suggestion and allowed sleeping dogs to lie until the surprise letter from Asana’s lawyers demanding an apology and retraction of published truth that has living witnesses willing to testify to it.
On that note, THE PUBLISHER’s editorial team decided to reactivate a news desk that was exclusively set for the Ghana Shippers Authority and the jaw dropping happenings there.
By: Halifax Ansah-Addo