Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Is The Real Scandal Not The Fact That Bankswitch Was To Be Paid For A Service That Could Be Provided Free Of Charge By Other IT Companies?

Most patriotic Ghanaians would be horrified to learn a few facts about Bankswitch - the company to which the International Court of Permanent Arbitration at The Hague, awarded  the judgement debt in favour of, against Ghana,  which has generated such controversy here.

Incredibly, just before Bankswitch had its contract with Ghana abrogated by the regime of President Mills, the company that eventually replaced it, Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCnet), actually offered to provide a service  that Bankswitch had been contracted for, and was to recieve payment for, from the Kufuor regime,  for free. Imagine that.

Clearly, being informed that a service for which  Bankswitch was to recieve payment from the predecessor regime to theirs, was actually a service that GCnet was proposing to provide Ghana free of charge, must have provoked a sense of  outrage amongst many senior members of President Mills' government.

Consequently, many of them must have felt that  to protect Ghana from such fraud, it was their patriotic duty to do everything possible, to end the Bankswitch contract with Ghana - especially when the Kufuor regime ended a contract that Ghana had with GCnet when it came to power: and decided to replace it with one with Bankswitch instead.

Alas, it is that good intention that has now led to the hellish nightmare of our nation  having to find GHC197 million or thereabouts, to pay for what is so clearly an unjust judgement debt awarded against it, by the International Court of Permanent Arbitration at The Hague. That judgement was unfair and unjust - and is disgraceful.

Any fair-minded  Ghanaian, upon discovering that a service, which Bankswitch was contracted to perform for Ghana by the Kufuor regime, for handsome compensation, could actually have been performed free of charge,  by GCnet, would equally  feel outraged by such perfidy - especially when Bankswitch is now going to be paid so much  money as judgement debt for doing zilch for Ghana.

In a nation whose people have such short memories, we must point out the fact that GCnet was actually the rival company  that Bankswitch  replaced - after the Kufuor regime abrogated GCnet's  contract with Ghana on a technicality: in the halcyon days of the golden age of business for the greed-filled Kufuor & Co.

If Professor Mills had had the political nous that President Rawlings had, Bankswitch would never have had the gall to take Ghana to the International Court of Permanent Arbitration at The Hague - as the deal that Hon. Anthony Akoto Osei signed with Bankswitch would have been investigated, and he would have had to provide an answer to the simple question: "Why was Ghana to pay vast sums to Bankswitch for a service that some IT companies could have provided Ghana free of charge, during the tenure of President Kufuor?"

Rawlings would have had the hypocritical Anthony Akoto Osei prosecuted for conspiring to cause financial loss to Ghana.

President Mills did a great disservice to Ghana by allowing the crooks of the Kufuor-era who gang-raped Mother Ghana to get away with their many crimes. Now Ghana is paying a price for that misplaced kindness on Mills' part.

But to be fair, should we not also ask who the attorney general was at the time the Bankswitch contract with Ghana was abrogated by the Mills regime - and what  role  he or she played in  this sorry saga?

And who represented Ghana at the International Court of Permanent Arbitration at The Hague? Did he or she do a good job - and if so, why did Ghana end up having to pay the carpetbaggers Bankswitch was fronting for, a judgement debt awarded against our nation?

Naturally, what the super-clever Dr. Anthony Akoto Oseis will not divulge to Ghanaians, is who exactly were the powerful and well-connected individuals who profited from the abrogation of the contract with GCnet -  and probably  engineered its award to Bankswitch.

Those who profited from Bankswitch replacing GCnet, were probably the same crooks, who gave away Ghana's oil deposits - whiles dancing exuberantly to their favourite song: "1 percent of billions of dollars is better than 100 percent of peanuts".

That selfsame group of selfish and ruthless individuals,  once tried to sell Valco, to a nonexistent International Aluminium Partners (IAP) - and succeeded in having that fraud railroaded through Parliament: despite the loud protestations and denials by Norske Hydro and VALE, the purported joint-venture partners in IAP, said to be seeking to 'purchase' Valco. No doubt they will also be profiting from Bankswift's judgement-debt jackpot.

Another question that needs answering is:  why, in light of all the above, are members of the same ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) - who felt a sense of outrage that Bankswitch was proposing to charge Ghana for a service GCnet could provide free of charge - now seeking to award a contract for an electronic equivalent of a one-stop-shop for data on the import/export trade's shipping documentation, which is already in existence, and provided by GCnet  (the National Single Window And Risk Management System project),  to West Blue Ghana Limited to develop?

Far too many Ghanaian politicians fail to learn from past mistakes, alas - and in the long run it is our nation and its hard-pressed people who suffer from that particular failing of our leaders.

Why, for example, when Ghana desperately needs to increase its tax revenues, to finance development projects across the nation, are our ruling elites awarding single-sourced contracts to private entities for services that the Customs, Excise and Preventative Service of the Ghana Revenue Authority, can perform efficiently for Ghana, if given the opportunity - and end what amounts to foreigners siphoning off taxes earned from the ports of Ghana, with the blessing of our leaders?

And, it now emerges that GCnet too, is apparently subtly hinting that it will have to sue Ghana - if its contract is abrogated in favour of West Blue Ghana Limited. God give some of us patience in our old age.

For such ingratitude, Ghana must end its contract with GCnet,  whenever it is legally possible to do so, without any repercussions. The Customs, Excise and Preventative Service of the Ghana Revenue Authority ought to take over that service when that particular contract ends. It is time such milking-Mother-Ghana-dry revenue-siphoning-off sole-sourced contracts  ended.

Perhaps the lesson we must learn from this controversy, is that as things currently stand, vested interests actually control the destiny of our homeland Ghana, whenever the two largest political parties govern Ghana. That cannot be good for our nation and its people in the long-term. It is intolerable and totally unacceptable.

That is why Ghanaians must vote for the Nkrumahist alliance's presidential candidate for the 2016 presidential election - to take Ghana along a path of self-reliance, import-substitution-industrialisation and the promotion of Ghanaian businesses using the purchasing power of the state.

(Hopefully, Paa Kwesi Nduom will be selectd as the Nkrumahist alliance's presidential candidate, with Samia Yaaba Nkrumah as his running mate. But I digress.)

Finally, perhaps one needs to make the point that, if this scandal were to have occurred in China, it will not be the Hannah Tettehs and the Spio Garbrahs who would be executed after a quick trial for this particular Bankswitch judgement debt.

On the contrary, it will be the sly and wily Dr. Anthony Akoto Oseis - who signed that agreement in which Ghana was to pay for a service that could be provided free of charge by other IT companies.

Are we therefore not right in saying that the real scandal, is that Bankswitch was to be paid for a service that other IT companies, at one stage, offered to provide for free? Only asking - not making any accusations.  No nation-wrecking politics-of-equalisation here, thank you.
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