Kwadwo Mpiani, a former Chief of Staff
The Government of Ghana has been saddled with yet another judgment debt which if not paid is likely to affect the operations of government as the company involved has threatened to garnishee some government accounts.
According to the online legal dictionary, a “Garnishee Order is when a third party is served notice by a court to surrender money in settlement of a debt or claim.”
Isofoton SA, a Madrid-based company in Spain, was awarded a judgment debt after its contract was unlawfully terminated “to provide a Solar PV powered water pumping and irrigation systems in remote rural areas of Ghana under the Second Ghana-Spanish Financial Protocol.”
Isofoton SA obtained a judgment debt of $1.3 million out of which the Ghana government paid $400, 000.
The company has garnisheed the Ministry of Agriculture’s account in order to obtain the remaining $850,000.
According to legal documents in the possession of Citifmonline.com
, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MFA) invited Isofoton “to submit an offer for consideration and was subsequently awarded” the solar and irrigation project after “formal negotiations; and eventually the MFA and the Company entered into and executed a formal agreement dated 22nd September 2005, upon the requisite advise of the Hon.
However, in 2006 the then Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs under the Kufuor administration, Kwadwo Mpiani, wrote in two separate letters to the Ministers of Energy and Agriculture that the projects had been assigned to different Spanish companies to execute.
The solar rural electrification was given to Elecnor with an allocated amount of five million Euros while the irrigation and solar power pumps was assigned to INCATEMA INDEMAR for eight million Euros in 2006.
Mpiani’s directive, the MFA replied to inform his office that “the company recommended for the execution of the project [for the] Ministry is unknown to the Ministry, and the Ministry has never dealt with that company and therefore cannot guarantee that the said company is in a position to execute the projects.”
The letter written for the former Minister of Agriculture, Clement Eledi, continued: “Throughout the discussion at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon.
Ministers were made to understand that, for an effective and speedy execution of the projects under the protocol, Ministers were to identity suitable Spanish companies with the requisite technical knowledge to execute the projects.
“The MFA after a diligent search, settled on two companies to execute the projects in the Ministry.
The two companies were ISOTOFON SA MADRID, SPAIN AND RAESA S.A of SPAIN.”
It added: “The Hon.
Minister for Food and Agriculture would want to draw your attention to the fact that, a change of company at this stage could open up the Ministry and indeed the government to legal actions, especially by ISOTOFON.”
The Spanish Embassy also raised issues with the selection process following Mr.
Mpiani’s directive and in a letter addressed to the late Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, former Finance Minister, said: “We have received some complaints from companies which had signed contracts with the Ghanaian sectorial ministries that are not included in your list without providing us any information or justification.
I am sure that you agree with me that this is a very unpleasant situation since we are financing these projects.”
“Moreover, this is in sharp contrast with our previous Protocol, which did work quite smoothly.”
The deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has told Citi News
Mpiani and other former government ministers could be held liable for causing “financial loss to the State.”
By Kent Mensah/Citifmonline.com/Ghana