A leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Local Representative of ISOFOTON SA, a Spanish company based principally in Madrid, Mr Forson Anane-Agyei, says the company would have been $4million richer because of a judgement debt, but following negotiations with the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, they settled on an amount of $1.3 million.
The judgement debt arose from the erstwhile NPP government’s abrogation of a contract with ISOFOTON.
Records indicate that an Accra High Court, in a garnishee order issued on May 2, this year, froze the Agriculture Ministry’s Engineering Department’s Accounts for the default in the payment of the outstanding 1.3 million dollar judgment debt owed ISOFOTON S.A, the Spanish firm.
The Kufuor-led NPP administration, through the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, and Energy, and ISOFOTON entered into a formal agreement on September 22, 2005 for the supply and installation of solar powered water pumping irrigation systems and solar electrification project in remote areas of the country under the second Ghana-Spanish Financial Protocol.
But for some unknown reasons, the then Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, allegedly abrogated the irrigation and solar electrification contracts in March 2006, and awarded them to other Spanish firms, Incatema Indema and Elecnor respectively.
Not enthused by the turn of events, ISOFOTON consequently sued the government in January 2007, and won judgment for 1.3million dollars.
Although initial amount of about $400,000 was paid by the government in 2010, the company is pursuing a contempt suit against the government for delayed payment of the remaining, after securing a garnishee order to have the accounts of the Agric Engineering Department attached.
Speaking on Peace FM’s morning show, ‘Kokrokoo’, Mr Anane-Agyei, who is the former NPP Constituency Chairman for Biakoye in the Volta Region, explained why the initial demand for some $4million was trimmed down to $1.3million.
“We went to court in 2008 and secured judgment in the same year…so the Attorney General set-up negotiation talks…what they said was that we should grant them the permission to set aside the judgment so that we can all come to a level field to negotiate in 2008. When the new administration assumed power, we laid our cards on the table…Initially, we demanded $4million but after the negotiations, we settled on 1.3 million dollars…what we decided to do was to adopt that settlement of $1.3m in court as the final judgment and that was what we did. Thereafter, Mr Martin Amidu was made the A-G and he, suspecting there was no parliamentary approval for the contract, went to court to set aside everything; our initial writ, the judgment, the settlement, but he lost because we provided all the evidence…ISOFOTON later secured an absolute judgment…but the Bank of Ghana was not willing to do pay us our monies…We are saying it is neither here nor there because the signatories of the account is the ministry; we cited the Bank of Ghana and Government for contempt….We were hoping for the arrest of the Governor unless he settled the debt…We will go to court and if we go to court and they decide to give it to us, that’s okay, otherwise, the law will take its course,” he said.
The Local Rep for ISOFOTON also had issues with the manner in which the contract with the then NPP government was abrogated, stressing that the decision to award it to another Spanish company under the directive of former Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, was improper and unfair.
“I don’t want us to look at the issue with our political lenses. Kwadwo Mpiani acted improperly, he is my boss so I will not say anything to debase him, but I want you to analyze the issue…If a particular company has signed a contract, what will motivate someone to abrogate the contract and award it to another company? I once went to his (Mpiani’s) house to inquire if it was indeed true that he gave the directive to award the contract to another company because it was not fair to do that. He (Mpiani) explained to me that there had been a change in government in Spain and that the Spanish Government had given them a list of companies to transact business with. So I personally wrote to the Spanish authorities in Ghana and they replied that it was not true. I felt that it was bad and as a result of that we (ISOFOTON) went to court. It was not preceded by anything…he (Mpiani) is my party member so I will not say anything (negative against him) on air…” Anane-Agyei said.