West Blue Ghana sues GRA - Seeks GH¢289m compensation
A business and information technology (IT) consultancy service provider, West Blue Ghana Limited, has dragged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Attorney-General (A-G) to court, seeking to recover GH¢289.55 million from the state.
The amount, West Blue said, represented its share of the final invoice cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of import consignments entering into Ghana through the seaports, airports and land borders as part of the technical services and support activities it provided to the GRA through the Ministry of Finance between 2015 and 2020 under a contract which came into force on August 4, 2015.
Aside from seeking interest on the arrears at the prevailing commercial bank rates, the company is also seeking to recover $425,000, the value of an equipment procured by the company to perform its obligations under the contract and the additional services it rendered from January 1, 2019 to May 2020, or the equipment itself.
In a suit filed at the Commercial Division of the High Court in Accra yesterday, West Blue alleged that all attempts to recover the outstanding debts from the Finance Ministry and the GRA had been unsuccessful, adding that the defendants, without any lawful basis, had remained adamant on their position that all payment obligations owed the IT consultancy company had been discharged.
According to court documents sighted by the Daily Graphic, West Blue said it entered into a contract with the Ministry of Finance and the GRA for the provision of the National Single Window and Integrated Risk Management System, known as the NSW contract.
The company said the contract was signed to execute the government's policy of adopting a national electronic single window as a means to, among others, increase efficiency through time and cost savings for traders in their dealing with government authorities for complying with the commercial, financial, regulatory, transport and logistics requirements for moving cargoes across national or economic borders.
Under the agreement, the plaintiff said it was required to provide certain technical services and support activities to the GRA and related agencies in support of the government programme.
It stated in its writ that as consideration for providing the services under the NSW contract, the GRA was required to pay the IT company a contract price, a fee equivalent of 0.35 per cent of the final invoice CIF value of import consignments entering Ghana through the seaports, airports and land borders from time to time.
West Blue stated that per the agreement, the contract was required to remain in force for five years, and was subject to renewal not exceeding a further five-year term.
It added that in the course of delivering the services under the NSW contract, the Ministry of Finance and the GRA unilaterally terminated the contract on December 31, 2018.
The plaintiff averred that in a letter of termination dated January 25, 2018, the GRA indicated that it had retrospectively revised the contract price of 0.35 per cent of the final invoice CIF value of import consignments payable to West Blue over the period of October 2017 up to December 31, 2018, down to 0.28 per cent of the final invoice CIF value of import consignments entering Ghana through the seaports, airports and land borders.
The company said it did not object to the downward revision.
It added that the Ministry of Finance and the GRA engaged the company to render the same services under the previous contract but at an agreed fee of 0.28 per cent of the final invoice CIF value.
The plaintiff stated that it provided the required services to the Ministry of Finance and the GRA from January 1, 2019, until May 2020 when West Blue was instructed by the defendants to stop providing the services previously requested by the defendants.
West Blue stated that the defendants had failed to make full payment of the fees due it under the percentile clauses agreed on in both the original and renewed contract agreements.
“Defendants have also failed and/or refused to make full payment of the fees payable to plaintiff for the services of plaintiff, as engaged by the Ministry of Finance and GRA to provide from January 1, 2019, to May 2020,” it added.
The plaintiff further alleged that all previous requests and demands on the defendants to return the equipment or pay its value had also been blatantly disregarded.