Dr Ekwow Spio Garbrah has explained that he took the decision because Bankswitch is demanding that, in addition to paying the judgement debt over a five-year period, an award of 0.35% of the Free on Board (FOB) imports over the same period of time which will result in a GHC 1 billion payment to Bankswitch.
Financial analyst, Sydney Casely Hayford has rejected explanations by Trade and Industry Minister, Dr. Ekwow Spio Gabrah that he acted in good faith by asking destination inspection companies to advance government some $35 million to help settle a judgment debt. According to Mr Casely Hayford, what the Minister through “whatever authority,” sought to do is not right and should be condemned rather than defended.
“By telling us that he is saving us money and that he is looking out for the interest of the people of Ghana, I think Dr. Spio Garbrah is not being very, very candid with the people of Ghana,” he remarked.
This comes on the back of a request by the Ministry to five Destination Inspection Companies (DICs), asking them to submit offers for settlement of the GHC 197 Bankswitch judgement debt in exchange for consideration in the award of contracts.
The sector Minister, Dr Ekwow Spio Garbrah has since explained that he took the decision because Bankswitch is demanding that, in addition to paying the judgement debt over a five-year period, an award of 0.35% of the Free on Board (FOB) imports over the same period of time which will result in a GHC 1 billion payment to Bankswitch.
In an interview with Citi News, Casely-Hayford, who had early on described the Minister’s offer to the DICs as bribery said the explanation is unjustified.
He maintained that it is not the responsibility of the Trade Minister to find ways to settle the debt but rather, it is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance and to some extent, the Attorney General.
Casely-Hayford stated that Ghanaians can accept the fact that the government wants to save the nation money but he pointed out that “they [government] caused the issue in the first place.”
He remarked that the Ministry’s quest to “use this mechanism to ask people to come and deposit money in exchange for a five-year… Is very insincere and it’s not the way that we should be dealing with this issue.”
The financial analyst charged the government to find the money to pay off the debt once and for all.
“This money is equivalent to $45million in current currency. Government must find $45million and pay it off. It is not a huge sum of money. Under the circumstances, if it is going to be difficult, it is not an impossible amount of money for government to find.”
“Government can find that money and it should do so because that is what it incurred. It went out there and it incurred the debt,” he said.