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Avoid payment of $50m judgment debt - Minority to govt

BY: Samuel Duodu
Governs Kwame Agbodza — Minority Spokesperson on Roads and Transport
Governs Kwame Agbodza — Minority Spokesperson on Roads and Transport

The Minority in Parliament has called on the government to do everything possible to avoid payment of about $50 million judgment debt to Beijing Everyway Company for wrongful termination of contract.

Government in 2020 terminated the $100 million Accra Intelligence Traffic Management Project with the company and awarded it to Huawei.

Currently, Management of the Beijing Everyway is in arbitration with the government in London demanding $50 million payment in damages.

Addressing the media, the Minority Spokesperson on Roads and Transport , Governs Kwame Agbodza, urged the government to immediately settle with the company to avoid such payment.

Mr Agbodza, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Adaklu, however, warned officials involved that any future NDC government would make them to answer for the decision to abrogate the valid contract without basis.

Background

He said somewhere in 2012 the government entered into a China Development Bank agreement with the Chinese Government to improve traffic management in Accra.

Mr Agbodza said subsequently, Parliament approved a commercial agreement for Beijing Everyway Company to be the contractors of that component of the project, which cost about $100million, and when there was a change in government the project was still ongoing.

"We are told that the developers have been working together with the Ministry of Roads and Highways and a control centre was built and duly inaugurated", he said.

He stated that from 2019, it appeared that there were some challenges which led the government to take the unilateral decision in 2020 to change the contractor from Beijing Everyway to Huawei.

"The interesting thing was that when they came to Parliament, it was the Ministry of National Security that brought a new bill. We were surprised because initially it was the Ministry of Roads and Highways that introduced the bill and we passed it for the implementation to start. The results was that despite all the arguments that were made by civil society, the media and MPs, the Majority in Parliament insisted that it was the right thing to do", he said.

Mr Agbodza said the Minority insisted in finding out what the Attorney-General's opinion was and were told that the Attorney-General okayed the abrogation .

"It turned out that as we speak, Huawei has taken over the project but nothing is happening. Secondly, Beijing Everyway Company has sued the Government of Ghana and as we speak, they are in arbitration in London and from what I know, they are demanding something close to $50million in damages, loss of revenue and legal cost, among other things", he stated.

The MP for Adaklu questioned the reasons why the government unilaterally terminated the contract knowing very well that the consequences would lead to the government losing revenue, which it badly needed currently.

Judgment debt

"I am just taking the opportunity to just caution the government to tread cautiously with what it has done with this. My information is that you are heading towards a judgement debt of almost $50 million and a further $25million wiaver that we have granted Huawei so government needs to be cautions with this," he reiterated.

The project

He said the project was basically to synchronise 257 traffic lights in Accra to be able to coordinate where there are traffic bottlenecks and from a central location that could be directed to give better flow of traffic at anytime.

"It would have been a very wonderful thing, if we did and I am told they have installed one at Kanda and around Castle as a way of showing what they are capable of doing.