Saturday, August 1, 2015

Court dismisses suit challenging engagement of West Blue

 Update: Court dismisses suit challenging engagement of West Blue
A suit challenging the decision by the government to engage West Blue Ghana Limited to implement the Single Window and Risk Management System project at the country’s ports has been dismissed.
The Human Rights Division of the High Court in Accra also threw out an application for injunction against the award of the contract to the company through sole sourcing.
According to the court, the applicant, Mr Michael Kweku Djan, had failed to demonstrate how his rights had been abused, besides his failure also to disclose any reasonable cause of action.
It said the applicant also failed to provide evidence to justify the sustainability of the suit aside pre-empting the outcome of the award of the contract.
Lawyers for Mr Djan, a Tema-based clearing agent, on July 10, 2015, filed the suit and an application for interlocutory injunction and prayed the court to place an injunction on the Minister of Trade and Industry, the Minister of Finance, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and their agents from engaging West Blue Company Limited as the sole company for the implementation of the project.
Mr Djan claimed that he and others would be denied the opportunity to bid for the contract if the government went ahead to sole source it.
He had contended that the government discriminated and abused his rights and that of others by not publicising the bid process for the public to apply.
But the Attorney-General’s office filed an application which sought to strike out the suit on the grounds that Mr Djan lacked capacity as well as failed to disclose a reasonable cause of action.
Court Ruling
Delivering the decision of the court in Accra, the presiding judge, Mr Justice Anthony Yeboah, in response to Mr Djan’s claim that the government had failed to give reasons for settling on sole sourcing, said the government was not obliged to cite reasons for such actions.
 Justice Yeboah also held that the suit was pre-emptive because a purported letter from the Office of the President which directed the Ministry of Finance to engage West Blue Ghana Limited was not a binding decision from the Board of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).
The court said the applicant had failed to demonstrate that the Board of the PPA had indeed awarded the contract to West Blue Ghana Limited and in the process discriminated against potential bidders.
“In the absence of a decision by the Public Procurement Authority Board – it is premature to say the contract was awarded. There is no evidence on the steps taken for the sole sourcing,” the court held.
Capacity and Jurisdiction
The state had challenged Mr Djan’s capacity to institute the suit but the court disagreed and ruled that Mr Djan was a Ghanaian citizen who had the right to bring such suits on either his behalf or that of Ghanaians, especially when the matter was of public interest.
The court submitted that the applicant was a human being who had the right to either bid or negotiate for the project particularly when he was an employee of a company that had the capacity to bid.
Another issue determined by the court was a challenge to its jurisdiction. On that score, the court held there were decided cases to clearly prove it had capacity to dispose of the matter.
Counsel for the applicant, Paa Kwesi Abaidoo, said he would decide whether or not to appeal after receiving a copy of the court’s decision.

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