General News of 2014-04-15

News of judgement debts are “painful” – GII

Executive Secretary of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Vitus Adaboo Azeem, has lamented over the unlawful frequent termination of contracts by government which is resulting in a series of preventable judgement debts.

“It’s so difficult to understand how you can enter into a contract, terminate the contract without going through the necessary procedures laid down in the agreement…” he said.

Permanent Court of Arbitration, in The Hague has given an award of damages amounting to GH¢197,491,874.00 in a case brought against the state by Bankswitch Ghana.

This was as a result of the cancellation of a contract signed with the government of Ghana in 2007 for the management of a platform for the revenue mobilization programme of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Speaking on Eyewitness News on Monday, Mr. Azeem stressed that no matter the nature of the contract, whether bad or good, it is unlawful to terminate such contracts without following due process.

“On what basis will you be terminating the contract that will give rise to a judgement debt?” he asked.

According to him, government could have resorted to negotiations, adding that constant failure to follow due processes in terminating contracts seems to suggest that “some people stand to gain or some people are irresponsible.”

He wondered if the Attorney General (AG) was informed about the implications of the contract termination because the AG is the lawyer for the state.

“These things keep coming and you cannot understand why people that we’ve hired and elected to manage the affairs of this country just allow us; it’s like throwing away money. It’s so painful,” he fumed.

Mr. Azeem consequently admonished government officials to at all times, consult the Attorney General on contract matters adding that Ghana needs “a radical government who will identify and punish whoever is involved in incurring the judgement debt.”