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General News of Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Source: GNA

Company demands outstanding payment from Ghana@50 Secretariat

Accra, Oct. 6, GNA- Madam Naa Adjeley Laryea, Managing Director of Skilled Force Limited (SFL), has pleaded with the Ghana@50 Commission of Inquiry to compel the Ghana@50 Secretariat to pay the company Gh¢1,780,000, being outstanding amount for the supply of souvenir mugs to the Secretariat.

She further demanded Gh¢1,350,000 as compensation for unauthorised use of the company's sample mug to the advantage of Appointed Time Screen Printing (ATSP), another competitor who lost the bid during the tender process for the contract. Madam Laryea told the Commission that the compensation was in lieu of profit she lost as a result of an unlawful reduction of her initial contract that was given to ATSP.

The outstanding balance, she explained, was for the supply of 2.7 million melanin mugs SFL supplied to the Secretariat to be distributed to school children as memorabilia for the jubilee celebration. Madam Laryea told the Commission that her supplier in China, Taitop Limited, was haranguing her to make full payment for the goods she ordered from them and that her bankers had threatened to sell properties she used as collateral for a loan.

She told the Commission that in December 2006, SFL won a contract from the Secretariat after bidding to supply 5.4 million of the mugs to the Secretariat.

Madam Laryea said SFL designed and submitted the mugs to the Secretariat which won the contract.

The Secretariat, she said, later informed her that the value of her contract had been reduced and she was asked to supply only half of the initial 5.4 million cups agreed on, only to realise that the other half had been awarded to ATSP which had competed with her company during the bidding process and lost.

"My Lord, what annoyed me most was that the Secretariat even gave ATSP my sample mugs without my consent for ATSP to supply the same items even though theirs was an inferior imitation.and as I speak my samples have not been given back to me. I want my samples back. They are my intellectual property".

Mr Akoto Ampaw, Counsel for Dr Charles Wereko-Brobbey, former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Ghana@50 Secretariat, told Madam Laryea that "You have no rights over the Ghana@50 logo and the Ghana flag emblazoned on the mugs and thus you are not entitled to any compensation".

According to him, the logo was the property of the Secretariat and the Ghana flag was the property of the nation, and since she had not registered her "supposed" designs as her company's intellectual property she had no mandate preventing other people from using them as they deemed fit.

But Madam laryea told the Commission that although she had no right over the logo and the national flag, the manner in which she combined them on the mugs was what won the contract for her company and it was wrong for another company to benefit from her designs. Chairman of the Commission Justice Isaac Duose told Madam Laryea that SFL's claim did not sound "convincing" and that "I think you won the contract by mistake", which she (Madam Laryea) responded "It is not so My Lord".

"Judging from your submission, you did not have any pesewa when you were bidding for the contract and after you won, you could not raise money to execute the contract but depended on the Secretariat to bail you out".

"What have you risked that you want the government of Ghana to pay you. I assure you that government would not pay you money that you had not spent and I would not mince words on that", said Justice Duose. However, when ATSP appeared before the Commission to testify, based on a subpoena by the Commission, Catherine Aguda, Managing Director of the company could not convince the Commission on how that company came to be awarded with a contract bid it had earlier lost.

Aguda said that even though her company lost the bid, the Secretariat later wrote to them that they had been awarded half of that supply contract.

ATSP was asked by the Secretariat to supply 2.7 million of the anniversary mugs and was given sample designs, to which the company accepted the offer.

She told the Commission that ATSP had an outstanding payment of GH¢2,382,100 to claim from the Secretariat in respect of the supplies, to which Mr Ampaw averred was consistent with the records of the Secretariat. 6 Oct. 09