• Politics

    Gabby Otchere criticized West Blue in 2015, now advocating for GHC187m payment

    The political landscape in Ghana has been stirred by a surprising shift in stance from prominent New Patriotic Party (NPP) figure, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko.

    In a turn of events that has caught many off guard, Otchere-Darko, who was once a vocal critic of West Blue Ghana Limited in 2015, is now championing the company’s pursuit of a GHC 187 million payment.

    In 2015, Otchere-Darko gained attention for his strong condemnation of West Blue Limited. As an ardent member of the NPP, he raised concerns about potential wrongdoing in the contract that West Blue Company had secured from the presidency. The company had been tasked by the Mahama administration with responsibilities such as software implementation and support activities for GRA and related agencies to take over the functions of DICs on September 1, 2015.

    The situation has taken an unexpected twist in 2023. Otchere-Darko is now playing a prominent role in advocating for West Blue Company’s claim to the GHC 187 million payment. This payment is reportedly linked to services provided by the company in the trade facilitation sector.

    The revelation came to light when Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, shared a thought-provoking post on Facebook titled “The Kitchen Scandal.” Ablakwa expressed astonishment at Otchere-Darko’s alleged influence in securing approval from sections of the government, including the Attorney-General’s office and individuals within the Finance Ministry, for the substantial payment to West Blue Company Limited.

    Ablakwa raised concerns about the significant financial liability being placed on Ghanaian taxpayers, especially given the country’s economic challenges and recent IMF bailout. He described the situation as “insane” and criticized what he referred to as President Akufo-Addo’s “Kitchen Cabinet” for their role in facilitating this financial burden.

    In response to Ablakwa’s claims, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, who is a Senior Partner at Africa Legal Associates, issued a statement on Friday, August 4, 2023. He maintained that his firm was engaged in a legitimate duty on behalf of their client, West Blue Ghana Limited.

    According to Otchere-Darko, his firm has been working with West Blue since April 2021 to recover an outstanding amount of GH¢187,356,969 owed by the Government of Ghana under a contract signed in August 2015. He emphasized that the claim is based on the contractual terms established during the John Mahama administration.

    Specifically, Otchere-Darko pointed to clause 13.1 of the NSW Contract, which outlines the fees due to West Blue for its services. He stated that, according to the contract, West Blue is entitled to a fee equivalent to 0.35% of the final invoice CIF value of import consignments entering Ghana through various entry points. Based on this clause, the outstanding amount owed to West Blue is calculated to be GH¢187,356,969.

    He noted that a demand letter detailing this sum had been submitted to the Ministry of Finance by West Blue’s previous legal representatives in July 2020.

    The situation has sparked significant debate and discussions within Ghana’s political and public spheres.

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