In a move which seems to be a last resort to collect its unpaid arrears for work done for the Government of Ghana, reputable ICT consulting firm, West Blue Ghana, has decided to test the laws of the country by dragging the Ghana Revenue Authority(GRA) and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to court.
West Blue, yesterday Wednesday November 14, filled a writ at an Accra High Court against the two, praying the courts to order for the immediate payment of its overdue arrears which amounts to GHC28 million.
The company, apart from demanding payment of its arrears, is further seeking the counts to grant an order that it should recover its installed equipment at the ports or “…or in alternative recovery of an amount of Four Hundred and Twenty-Five Thousand United States Dollars (US$425,000.00) being the value of the equipment it procured to perform its obligations under the NSW Contract and the additional services it rendered from 1st January 2019 to May 2020, which the Defendants have retained”.
The ICT firm has explained that when it was given a Government of Ghana contract to implement the National Single Window (NSW) facility at the country’s seaports, airports, and land borders in 2015, it was stated in the contract that it would be paid an amount valued at 0.35% of the final invoice value of import consignments entering into country but after this contract was signed and agreed and the work done, the company was paid a reduced amount of 0.28% instead of the agreed and signed amount of 0.35 %.
Meanwhile the contract stated categorically that the payment to West Blue was to be calculated on 0.35 percent of the final invoice CIF of all imports.
In letters signed on behalf of the Minister dated June 11, and July 17, 2020, respectively by Mangowa Ghanney, Director, Legal at the Ministry of Finance, who in 2015 drafted and oversaw the execution of the Government of Ghana contract with West Blue, confirmed that West Blue’s payment was a fixed percentage of the final invoice CIF of all imports.
Despite the letter from the Director, Legal at the Finance Ministry, West Blue was still paid the 0.28 instead of the agreed and approved 0.35.
The former deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng in a letter dated Jan 25, 2018, February4, 2019,and March 14, 2019, respectively alluded to West Blue’s contract price of 0.35% and subsequently reduced to 0.28% of the final invoice CIF value of all imports.
West Blue, in its writ, gave breakdown of the GHC28 million as follows: “Recovery of the sum of One Hundred and Forty-Nine Million, Three Hundred and Fifty-Seven Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety-Two Ghana Cedis, Seventy-One Pesewas (GHS149,357,692.71),being the outstanding fees payable to the Plaintiff (West Blue) for services rendered to the Ministry of Finance and the 2nd Defendant (GRA) under the contract dated 4th August 2015 for the provision of the National Single Window and Integrated Risk Management System (“NSW Contract”) from September 2015 to September 2017, at an applicable rate of 0.35% of the final invoice CIF value of import consignments entering into Ghana through the seaports, airports and land borders.
“Recovery of the sum of Seventy-Six Million, Ninety-Seven Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventeen Ghana Cedis, Fifty-Eight Pesewas (GHS76,097,917.58), being the outstanding fees payable to the Plaintiff for services rendered to the Ministry of Finance and the 2nd Defendant under the NSW Contract from October 2017 to 31st December 2018, at an applicable rate of 0.28% of the final invoice CIF value of import consignments entering into Ghana through the seaports, airports and land borders.
“Recovery of the sum of Sixty-Four Million, Ninety-Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifteen Ghana Cedis, Seven Pesewas (GHS64,092,215.07),being the outstanding fees payable to the Plaintiff for services rendered to the Ministry of Finance and the 2nd Defendant from 1st January 2019 to May 2020 at an applicable rate of 0.28% of the final invoice CIF value of import consignments entering into Ghana through the seaports, airports and land borders”.
West Blue, has over the years relied on its lawyers, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah and Africa Legal Associates to the Ministry of Finance and the GRA for an amicable settlement on the matter and get the proper payments done but all the attempts have not been successful.