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Ghana

BoG Sacks Staff Over GH¢ 4.6bn Corrupt Deal

Dr. Ernest Addison Governor of BoG

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has sacked one of its staff, Gilbert Addy, over alleged misconduct involving some GH¢4.6 corrupt transactions.

The dismissal, according to the Central Bank, has to do with to with the case of the SIBTON Switch Systems Limited Contract of 2016.

The Bank said his dismissal was also linked to his alleged acceptance of bribes in connection with the award of a
contract to Sibton Switch Systems Limited in 2016 by the previous Management of the Bank
of Ghana (BoG).

In a news release announcing the dismissal, the Central Bank explained that “Bank statements have 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 Gilbert Addy at the Bank of Ghana via a shelf company GIB JUST Systems Limited, which was owned by him (Addy.)

It added that indeed, “he was listed as Director and Shareholder of the
Company.”

Brief Facts

Mr. Addy was the Project Manager leading the interoperability project.

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).

On the 9th of April 2018, the BoG recounted that 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 Bank of Ghana for breaching the Master Agreement for the
Ghana Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure entered into by the two parties.

The project was intended to ensure complete interoperability of Ghana’s payment systems in an effort to provide convenient electronic transactions for consumers in need of goods and services.

After the 2016 elections and on the appointment of a new Management of the Bank of Ghana, it said, it became necessary to review the terms of the contract entered into by the previous
administration.

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia went on to launch an all-inclusive mobile money interoperability system under GhIPSS. It is the first of its kind in Ghana and cost $4.6 million.

The release explained further 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.

“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, the BoG noted in the release, Sibton Switch, went to the LCIA seeking relief in the sum of USD 478 million from the respondent, Bank of Ghana.

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, according to the release, the 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. During these two missions, they gathered
materials and interviewed all members of BoG staff who had been involved in this transaction, one way or the other.

Sham Contract

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
USD $500,000 (GH¢2.7 million) were to be paid to him, it added.

The investigation, it said, also revealed the depth of involvement of Mr. Addy who deliberately concealed from the Bank of Ghana, the payments received and the USD $500,000 sham
contract with Sibton Switch Ltd.

“Indeed, he deleted his email records to hide his misconduct,” it stated.

“It became necessary for the Bank and its international lawyers to retrieve these records from email back-ups.”

It added that these corrupt payments were also concealed from EOCO during their initial investigations into the Sibton Switch contract, in early 2017.

“The misconduct by Mr Gilbert Addy was of the most serious nature and a gross violation of the trust placed in him, breaching the Code of Conduct for Bank of Ghana staff, and the BoG
Senior Staff Rules and Conditions of Service, as well as the Bank of Ghana Code of Ethics,” the release observed.

“It appears that the entire bidding process for the procurement of Sibton Switch was managed with the knowledge of the previous leadership of the Bank of Ghana in 2016, who appeared to be under intense pressure to deliver the contract to Sibton Switch Limited,” it noted.

According to the statement, the contract awarded to Sibton Switch was one-sided in favour of Sibton Switch and was
severely detrimental to the interests of Bank of Ghana.

“For example, the Public Procurement
Authority approval for the project provided that the Bank of Ghana’s maximum liability was to be GH¢300,000. Contrary to this approval, the corruptly-procured contract with Sibton Switch provided that the Bank of Ghana had a huge potential liability of USD $478 million (GH¢2.6 billion).”

BY Melvin Tarlue

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