An international law expert and Executive Director of Africa Centre for International Law & Accountability, Mr. William Nyarko is asking the Bank of Ghana if the action it has taken against its agent [staff], Gilbert Addy in Sibton Switch Systems Limited saga will help them in the pending case at London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).
“The substantive matter of the abrogated contract between the BoG and Sibton Switch Systems Limited is before the London Court of International Arbitration. Is the BoG calculating that the alleged corrupt acts of its agent (sacked staff) and the action it has taken will help its case?” – Mr. Nyarko said in a Facebook post sighted by Awake News
The veteran investigative journalist in series of questions said “Could the alleged perpetrator (we have not heard from him for his side of the story) have acted alone, if the facts alleged by the BoG are true?” and “What does this matter tell us about the internal and external controls/oversight systems at the BoG?”
For him, “There’s more” to the matter and wondered if “Our own investigative agency, EOCO, could not figure out the alleged corrupt acts?”
This is his full questions on the matter:
The Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) statement to the press about the sacking of its staff for allegedly taking bribes….Are we reading between the lines or hailing the BoG?
What does this matter tell us about the internal and external controls/oversight systems at the BoG?
Could the alleged perpetrator (we have not heard from him for his side of the story) have acted alone, if the facts alleged by the BoG are true?
The contract reportedly went through the Public Procurement Authority and it was approved. Saaa?
Context: The contract was awarded by the previous administration of the BoG….
Our own investigative agency, EOCO, could not figure out the alleged corrupt acts?
The substantive matter of the abrogated contract between the BoG and Sibton Switch Systems Limited is before the London Court of International Arbitration. Is the BoG calculating that the alleged corrupt acts of its agent (sacked staff) and the action it has taken will help its case?
There’s more, let me leave mine here for now….Add yours; critical thinking and analytical reasoning are required.
Senior staff at the Bank of Ghana, Gilbert Addy, has been sacked by his employer “for gross misconduct in relation to corrupt transactions and for accepting bribes”.
According to the Central Bank in a press statement on September 13, 2019, their employee, Mr Addy was found complicit in the award of the Ghana Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure contract to Sibton Switch Systems Limited in 2016.
Mr. Addy is said to have received GH¢410,000 from Sibton Switch Systems Limited and its parent company, Sibton Communications Limited, via his company, GIB JUST Systems Limited.
This came to light after investigations by the Central Bank’s international legal counsel after Sibton had dragged the Bank to the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) over breach of contract.
Hogan Lovells was preparing the Central Bank’s defence but uncovered the “corrupt payments and bribes” in respect of the contract, which was terminated in 2018.
Mr Addy is said to have deleted email records and concealed from the Bank payments received to hide his deeds.
“The misconduct by Mr Gilbert Addy was of the most serious nature and a gross violation of the trust placed in him, breaching the Code of Conduct for Bank of Ghana staff, and the BoG Senior Staff Rules and Conditions of Service, as well as the Bank of Ghana Code of Ethics,” the Central Bank said in a statement on Friday, September 13.
Below is the brief facts of the case according to BoG’s statement:
On the 9th of April 2018, Sibton Switch Limited filed a Request for Arbitration at the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) against the Bank of Ghana for breaching the Master Agreement for the Ghana Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure entered into by the two parties. After the 2016 elections and on the appointment of a new Management of the Bank of Ghana, it became necessary to review the terms of the contract entered into by the previous administration.
In reviewing the contract the new Management of the Bank reached the conclusion that Sibton had neither acquired the licence nor fulfilled the condition precedent for the effectiveness of the rights and obligations of the parties. The Agreement, which dealt with the grant of exclusive rights to Sibton Switch to build, operate and own the Ghana Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure was therefore terminated on the basis that it never came into effect.
The Claimant, Sibton Switch, went to the LCIA seeking relief in the sum of USD 478 million from the respondent, Bank of Ghana. These corrupt payments and bribes were uncovered by the Bank’s International Legal Counsel, Hogan Lovells, during their preparation of the Bank’s defence to the arbitration claim brought by Sibton Switch, in respect of the terminated contract.
As part of their preparation for the hearing in London, International Legal Counsel undertook two fact-finding and investigative missions to Ghana from 14th – 17th August, 2018 and subsequently from 8th – 17th May, 2019, to gather and collate evidence.
During these two missions, they gathered materials and interviewed all members of BoG staff who had been involved in this transaction, one way or the other. The investigations revealed a sham contract signed between Sibton Switch Limited and the shelf company, GIB JUST Systems Limited, which showed that further payments totalling USD $500,000 (GH¢2.7 million) were to be paid to him. Bank of Ghana The investigation also revealed the depth of involvement of Mr Gilbert Addy who deliberately concealed from the Bank of Ghana, the payments received and the USD $500,000 sham contract with Sibton Switch Ltd. Indeed, he deleted his email records to hide his misconduct. It became necessary for the Bank and its international lawyers to retrieve these records from email back-ups.
These corrupt payments were also concealed from EOCO during their initial investigations into the Sibton Switch contract, in early 2017. The misconduct by Mr Gilbert Addy was of the most serious nature and a gross violation of the trust placed in him, breaching the Code of Conduct for Bank of Ghana staff, and the BoG Senior Staff Rules and Conditions of Service, as well as the Bank of Ghana Code of Ethics.
Mr Gilbert Addy was the Project Manager leading the interoperability project. His role was to safeguard the Bank’s interests in the project but instead he accepted huge bribes (which were more than 14 times his annual salary at the Bank of Ghana). It appears that the entire bidding process for the procurement of Sibton Switch was managed with the knowledge of the previous leadership of the Bank of Ghana in 2016, who appeared to be under intense pressure to deliver the contract to Sibton Switch Limited.
The contract awarded to Sibton Switch was one-sided in favour of Sibton Switch and was severely detrimental to the interests of Bank of Ghana. For example, the Public Procurement Authority approval for the project provided that the Bank of Ghana’s maximum liability was to be GH¢300,000. Contrary to this approval, the corruptly-procured contract with Sibton Switch provided that the Bank of Ghana had a huge potential liability of USD $478 million (GH¢2.6 billion).
In addition, the tender price of Sibton Switch was more than 33 times more expensive than the next most expensive bid however Mr Addy, under the supervision of the Management at the time, ensured that Sibton Switch won the bid. Following the termination of the contract with Sibton Switch in 2017, the Bank of Ghana’s subsidiary, GhIPSS, was able to deliver mobile payment systems interoperability at a small fraction of the cost, saving the Ghanaian taxpayers billions of Cedis.
Update on Arbitration
The Arbitration brought by Sibton Switch is currently suspended due to Sibton Switch’s failure and inability to comply with an interim award issued by the Tribunal.
The Arbitral Panel on the 25th of June 2019, made an interim award in favour of the Bank of Ghana, requiring Sibton Switch to make good an interim award payment for security of costs by the 25th of July 2019. To date, Sibton Switch has not been able to comply with this Order of the Court. The Bank of Ghana continues to vigorously contest the claim at the LCIA and is confident of an outcome in its favour, on the basis that Sibton Switch obtained the contract by corruption.
In the light of the gross violation of trust and breach of his duties, the Bank of Ghana has taken action to dismiss Mr Gilbert Addy. The misconduct of this Official took place in 2016 during the tenure of the previous Governors of the Bank of Ghana.
The Bank’s current Governor, Dr Ernest Addison, has made clear by this action that he, the Board and Management of the Bank of Ghana will maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption.
Bank of Ghana
September 13, 2019
By: Efo Korsi Senyo / awakenewsroom.com