Sept 13, GNA - GNA,
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) on Friday dismissed an official, Mr Gilbert Addy, for gross misconduct in relation to corrupt transactions and for accepting bribes.
The bribery acceptance was in connection with the award of a contract to Sibton Switch Systems Limited in 2016 by the previous Management of the BoG.
A statement issued by the BoG and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the Bank statements revealed that secret and corrupt payments of GH¢410,000.00 were made by Sibton Switch Systems Limited and its parent company Sibton Communications Limited to Mr Addy at the BoG via a shelf company GIB JUST Systems Limited, which was owned by him. "Indeed, he was listed as Director and Shareholder of the Company," it said.
The statement recalled that 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 BoG for breaching the Master Agreement for the Ghana Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure entered into by the two parties.
It said after the 2016 elections and on the appointment of a new Management of the BoG, it became necessary to review the terms of the contract entered into by the previous administration.
The statement noted that 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.
It said 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.
It said the Claimant, Sibton Switch, went to the LCIA seeking relief in the sum of $478 million from the respondent, BoG.
It noted 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.
It said 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.
It said during these, two missions, they gathered materials and interviewed all members of BoG staff who were involved in the transaction in, one way or the other.
It noted that 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 $500,000 (GH¢2.7 million) were to be paid to him.
"The investigation also revealed the depth of involvement of Mr Addy who deliberately concealed from the BoG, the payments received and the $500,000 sham contract with Sibton Switch Ltd.
"Indeed, he deleted his email records to hide his misconduct," it said.
The statement said it became necessary for the Bank and its international lawyers to retrieve the records from email back-ups. It said the corrupt payments were also concealed from Economics and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) during their initial investigations into the Sibton Switch contract, in early 2017.
It said the misconduct by Mr Addy was of the most serious nature and a gross violation of the trust placed in him, breaching the Code of Conduct for BoG staff, and the BoG Senior Staff Rules and Conditions of Service, as well as the Bank of Ghana Code of Ethics.
"Mr Addy was the Project Manager leading the interoperability project," it said.
"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)."
The statement said it appeared that the entire bidding process for the procurement of Sibton Switch was managed with the knowledge of the previous leadership of the BoG in 2016, who appeared to be under intense pressure to deliver the contract to Sibton Switch Limited.
It said the contract awarded to Sibton Switch was one-sided in favour of Sibton Switch and was severely detrimental to the interests of BoG.
"For example, the Public Procurement Authority approval for the project provided that the BoG's maximum liability was to be GH¢300,000.00," it said.
It said contrary to this approval, the corruptly-procured contract with Sibton Switch provided that the BoG had a huge potential liability of $478 million (GH¢2.6 billion).
It noted that 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.
It said following the termination of the contract with Sibton Switch in 2017, the BoG'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.
It said the Arbitration brought by Sibton Switch was currently suspended due to Sibton Switch’s failure and inability to comply with an interim award issued by the Tribunal.
It noted that the Arbitral Panel on the 25th of June 2019, made an interim award in favour of the BoG requiring Sibton Switch to make good an interim award payment for security of costs by the 25th of July 2019.
It said to date, Sibton Switch had not been able to comply with this Order of the Court.
The statement said the BoG continued to contest the claim at the LCIA and was confident of an outcome in its favour, on the basis that Sibton Switch obtained the contract by corruption.
It said in the light of the gross violation of trust and breach of his duties, the BoG had taken action to dismiss Mr Addy.
It said the misconduct of this Official took place in 2016 during the tenure of the previous Governors of the BoG.
"The Bank's current Governor, Dr Ernest Addison, has made clear by this action that he, the Board and Management of the BoG will maintain a zero tolerance policy towards corruption," it said.