1. True as IMANI predicted, Government of Ghana is on its way to pay up a whopping judgement debt of US$55 million having cancelled an ongoing international contract intended to develop an intelligent traffic management system for Accra. See original publication – “IMANI Alert: The Accra Intelligent Traffic Management Project (AITMS); How to use Legal Plunder to Terminate an ongoing Project, in spite of glaring Court Judgement Debts” @ https://imaniafrica.org/2020/11/23/imani-alert/
2. Under the economic strain of covid-19, this is hard money the State does not have, but we may well have to cough it up anyway.
3. With a service of a notice of arbitration on the government of Ghana on 10 February, an ad hoc arbitration procedure under the China-Ghana bilateral investment treaty has been initiated. See publication @ https://globalarbitrationreview.com/chinese-company-brings-claim-against-ghana
4. This will be going on record as one of the first claims against an African state by a mainland Chinese investor. It will no doubt attract the attention of the international community and investors.
5. But how did we get here? Beijing Everyway Traffic & Lighting. Co, Limited was implementing a USD 100 million project and then in a rather dramatic manner, few weeks to election, the project was re-awarded to another Chinese contractor.
6. Mind you, the Beijing Everyway Traffic & Lighting. Co, Limited, had its ongoing works approved by Parliament and commissioned by the President himself as early as the year before.
7. Even more, the same project received a special commencement ceremony conducted by the Minister of Roads and Highways, Hon. Kwesi Amoako-Atta and along with a good press coverage.
8. It is puzzling then that against the expert advice of the Vice President and the Project Technical Team, the Presidency directed the project to be cancelled for re-awarding and the Ministry of National Security to replace Ministry of Roads and Highways as the owner or implementing agency of the Traffic project.
9. Fortunately, IMANI’s petition to the President on this matter has been responded to with a promise that the matter is receiving the required attention. But that was last year.
10. As it whittles down to sector Ministers; Finance, Roads and Highway, may we hear favorably from them too. Interesting already, the National Security Minister Designate, Hon. Kan Dapaah at his vetting in Parliament this week claimed that Ghana owes no company for crudely abrogating the USD 100 million project.
11. We place our faith in this strange hope of his. It will not be surprising if his colleague Ministers take similar positions on hope. But hope, no matter its firmness, cannot be our national strategy to face a looming judgement debt, for now however, we can only pray that this hope saves us.
12. In future contracts, may good governance principles of accountability and value for money rather triumph.