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Tribunal dismisses case against COCOBOD by 3 fertiliser firms

BY: Maxwell Akalaare Adombila
 Mr Joseph Boahe Aidoo, CEO, COCOBOD
Mr Joseph Boahe Aidoo, CEO, COCOBOD

A three-member arbitration tribunal has dismissed a case by three agricultural input supply companies that were seeking more than $46 million in reliefs from the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) over the cancellation of their fertiliser and insecticide supply contracts.

At the end of the dispute at the Ghana Arbitration Centre (GAC), the tribunal, presided over by Dr S.K.B Asante, held that COCOBOD did not err when it cancelled three supply contracts between it and the three private entities.

As a result, the tribunal held that the entities – Agricult Ghana Limited, Sarago Limited and Alive Industries Limited – all owned by Mr Seidu Agongo, a businessman and philanthropist, were not entitled to a combined amount of $46.46 million, being the total contract sum.

Tribunal’s reasons

According to the tribunal, the fertilisers did not meet the testing protocol which amounted to a fundamental breach of the terms of the contracts.

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It, however, dismissed claims by COCOBOD that the contracts were tainted with fraud, ruling that COCOBOD failed to “adduce compelling evidence to sustain that allegation”.

Other members of the tribunal were Mr Kizito Beyuo, a lawyer, and Mr Francis Emile Short, a retired Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

The three private companies chose Mr Beyuo as their arbiter, while COCOBOD selected Mr Short.

The two then agreed on Dr Asante to be the chairman of the tribunal.

Reliefs

The three companies had averred in their case that they entered into separate contracts with COCOBOD to supply one million litres of Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser at a cost of $26.5 million, 400,000 bags of Duaper Fertiliser valued at $$14 million and 200,000 litres of Acati Power Insecticide valued at $5.96 million.

They added that although the companies duly met all relevant conditions and subsequently supplied the products, COCOBOD, in February 2017, requested that they suspend the execution of the contract, which was originally signed in 2014.

“It also declined to take the products that were imported, in spite of being notified by the claimants,” the three companies said.

As a result, they averred that the action of the board on the three separate but identical contracts constituted a breach.

They then wanted, among other reliefs, a declaration that the moves by COCOBOD amounted to a breach of contract and, therefore, they were entitled to the payment of the contract sum.