By Cecil Mensah
A Columbian District Court in the United States of America (USA), has dismissed a case of bribery brought against the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Accra Metropolitan Assembly Dr Alfred Oko Vanderpuje, the former Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Dr Kwabena Duffour and the Government of Ghana (GOG) with prejudice.
The District Court, presided over Mr Beryl A Howel on December 31, 2013 ruled that upon hearing the application of TJ GEM claiming a compensatory and punitive damages of approximately four hundred and twenty-five million Dollars (US$425,000,000) against the Republic of Ghana and the above mentioned officials of trade secret, common law fraud, conspiracy to defraud and racketeering and economic espionage, dismissed the suit in its entirety.
TJ GEM LL, a US based company that was solely created for the Accra sewerage systems in a statement of claim, alleged that it members and consultants invested considerable time and money in the creation of intellectual property for the construction and reconstruction of the Accra drainages.
The company further alleged that the Mayor in concert with Dr Kwabena Duffour and the late President John Atta-Mills, failed to deal with the company in good faith.
According to them, the Mayor misappropriated TJ GEM’s confidential, privilege trade secrets, business plan and sewage redevelopment model to their own use and economic benefit and to the economic detriment of TJ GEM, when it incorporated TJ GEM’s work product in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CONTI Group, the contractors currently working on the Accra Sewerage System.
Giving an overview of the case at a press conference jointly addressed by the Mayor, Miss Marrietta Brew-Oppong, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and the former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffour, the Mayor of Accra and flanged by the legal team of AMA, the legal team of the Attorney-General’s Department and the Presiding Member of AMA, Mr Desmond Addo-Biney in Accra.
Madam Brew –Oppong said, after consulting with the Minister of Finance, the Mayor of Accra and President John Mahama, directed that the case be rigorously defended as there was absolutely no substance to the case filed against the Republic.
She said, to defend the case the A-G’s Department hired the services of Mr Juan Basombrio, a partner in the law firm of Dorsey and Whitney LLP, one of the leading law firms in the USA.
On his part, the Mayor said Accra has over the years being experiencing torrential rains and substantial human and materials were lost in 1986, 1995, 1991, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
He explained that on October 27, 2011 he was on a visitation tour at Sakaman, a suburb in Accra, when he had a call from Mr Koku Anyidoho, the then Director of Communications at the Presidency directing him (Mayor) to come and meet the late President John Atta-Mills over a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) facility to find last solutions to the perennial flooding in the city.
Upon this, the Government of Ghana in collaboration with the government of the United States of America (USA), made available to Ghana an amount of ten million Dollars as Exim Bank loan to finance the project, which was awarded to CONTI Group.
The then Finance Minister, denied ever meeting the TJ GEM, but he only signed the agreement on behalf of the Republic of Ghana yet the officials of the company accused me of bribery and kick back.