Private legal practitioner Mr Bobby Banson has suggested that henceforth, the legislature should be involved in the decision making process to terminate all government international transactions.
He explained on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday February 20 that since parliament approves such transactions after scrutinizing those contracts, any decision that goes into the abrogation should require parliament’s input.
His comments come after Ghana has been slapped with $134million judgment debt over the cancellation of the Emergency Power Agreement with GCGP Limited.
The ruling by the International Court of Arbitration ordered the government to Ghana to pay to “GPGC the full value of the Early Termination Payment, together with Mobilization, Demobilization and preservation and maintenance costs in the amount of US$ 134,348,661, together also with interest thereon from 12 November 2018 until the date of payment, accruing daily and compounded monthly, at the rate of LIBOR for six-month US dollar deposits plus six per cent (6%).”
The Government of Ghana was also to pay GPGC an amount of “US$ 309,877.74 in respect of the Costs of the Arbitration, together with US$ 3,000,000 in respect of GPGC’s legal representation and the fees and expenses of its expert witness, together with interest on the aggregate amount of US$ 3,309,877.74 at the rate of LIBOR for three-month US dollar deposits, compounded quarterly.”
Ghana’s Energy Minister in cancelling the deal said the decision was justified because among other things, GPGC had started construction activities on site without siting and construction permits and those activities were illegal.
Br Banson told host of the Key Points Abena Tabi that “I would rather ask that in as much as transactions of international business nature require parliamentary approval before government of Ghana signs or executes them, when government of Ghana decides to terminate them, the termination must also get the consent of parliament
“Because it is trite in law that once you consent to something you are needed when the consent has to be withdrawn so that when that happens, there will be an open debate as to whether or not the termination is justified.
“If a whole parliament representing all of us has approved a transaction with all the terms that came with it and those who presented the contract did their due diligence and added technical reports why the contract was necessary for the government of Ghana, it should not be for one person to terminate it.”
Anti-corruption campaigner, Mr Vitus Azeem has also called for the creation of a specialized committee of parliament that will scrutinize all government contracts presented to the House by the Attorney General before the general discussions on it by the entire House for approval
He suggested that the committee should be made up of lawmakers who are experts in drafting contractual agreements.
This, he said, will avert the needless payment of judgment debts by the government that come along with cancellation of contracts awarded to individuals.
To avoid this kind of judgment debt payment, Mr Azeem suggested while speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday February 20 that “I am calling for a small specialized committee of parliament that will always scrutinize contracts that government is going into in addition to the attorney general scrutinizing the same contracts.”
He further told host of the Programme Abena Tabi that “That will help eliminate any weaknesses in the contract that can lead to our payment of judgments debts.”