The image of government is on the verge of being tarnished following the controversy surrounding the controversial UNIPASS National single window deal.
As Ghana Link Network services and its overseas partner, Customs UNI-PASS International Agency and one other have been dragged to the high court for allegedly plagiarizing the National Single Window and sold it back to Nana Addo’s government for $180 million through an intriguing 10-year sole sourced deal.
The issue has generated a lot of discussions over the last two weeks among port stakeholders and Ghanaians as a whole.
Many stakeholders in the port sector are of the opinion that the controversy surrounding the UNIPASS deal is an embarrassment to government, urging president Nana Akufo-Addo to launch investigation into the matter to save the government.
The President of GIFF, Mr Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah in an interview with the media said the ongoing tussle between West Blue Ghana Limited and Ghana Link Network Serivce and UNIPASS must be addressed properly and immediately.
“When we heard that West Blue has taken the matter of the software system possible piracy to court, we felt it was the right thing to do than just using any other means to address the current challenges,” the President of GIFF, Mr Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah said.
He said although GIFF had made known its stand regarding the issue, the institute was glad that the matter would finally be settled in the court.
“We had earlier kicked against the takeover of the single window operations at the port because we felt the system was no different from the current one being implemented by West Blue. We still stand on that point of view. However, we are a bit calmed that the issue is in the court now,” Mr. Ofosu-Appiah said.
He said the Institute would closely follow the court case and would respect the judgement of the court once its given.
The suit comes barely two months after the Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, directed the suspension of the UNI-PASS port clearing system which was scheduled to commence on January 1, 2019.
In the statement, the EMT tasked CUPIA of Korea and Ghana Link Network Service to provide a demonstration that they had developed a “full end-to-end Customs Technology Solutions Systems, successfully tested, with an independent stress report, and provide a comprehensive implementation plan to the EMT by the end of January 2019”.
Statement of Claim
West Blue Consulting (Plaintiff) in its statement of claim filed at an Accra High court on January 23, 2019 is asking for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain Ghana Link Network
Service, Customs UNI-PASS International Agency and Work Smart Limited (Defendants) whether by their Directors, officers, agents, servants or assigns whatsoever, from using the software they cloned from West Blue’s One view, Trade
Hub and PAARS system in 2018 and purporting to use as a component of their Ghana Trade Portal and UNIPASS system.
West Blue further prayed for damages against defendants for infringing its copyright in PAARS by cloning the software in
2018 without authorization.
WHAT IS UNIPASS CONTRACT
The Ministry of Trade, led by Alan ‘Cash’ Kyerematen, has signed a 10-year sole sourced contract to Nick Danso’s Ghana Link and its overseas partners, CUPIA Korea Customs Service (UNIPASS) to take over from the existing Ghana National Single Window and paperless ports operators.
Not only was the contract signed on the blind side of Cabinet and Parliament but it provoked calls from Parliament, stakeholder institutions, civil society, anti-corruption campaigners and the public on Trade Minister Alan Kyeremanten to exercise restraint in his Ministry’s quest to ensure that a new (untested) company takes over operations of the paperless ports systems.