Court dismisses suit against NCA

NCAThe Accra Commercial Court yesterday threw out the legal suit filed by the Star Communication Network Technology Company of China (SCNTCC) against the Ministry of Communications and the National Communication Authority.

The suit was seeking an interlocutory injunction to restrain the Ministry of Communications and the National Communications Authority from rolling from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting in June 2015.

The court set Monday, March 16 to give reasons for dismissing the suit.

It was the case of the plaintiff that, the Ministry of Communications had abrogated a contract awarded it on April 11, 2012, to instal and supply reliable energy-cost efficient and cost effective Digital Terrestrial Television Network Solution.

But the Communications Ministry denied any wrong doing and explained that it abrogated the contract after the plaintiff made false representations, as well as failed to meet its contractual arrangement.

An affidavit in opposition to the plaintiff’s motion for interlocutory injunction stated, among others, that the Ministry acted in accordance with the law, before the abrogation of the contract, therefore, the application must be dismissed.

It further prayed the court not to entertain the suit on the grounds that, any delay in Ghana’s bid to migrate to the DTT, would have negative implications on its members.

According to the statement of claim accompanying the writ of summons, the plaintiff met all contractual obligations but the government delayed in working on the necessary documents.

It said the Ministry was also required to secure Cabinet and Parliamentary approvals for the concessionary loan, the execution of loan agreements as well as the notification of the supplier of the award, but failed to fulfil the said conditions apart from the notification of the award.

The statement said, the ministry wrote a letter dated November 17, 2014, expressing its intention to disengage itself, if the concessionary loan agreement was not received in the next 11 days, that was November 28.

It contended that as an assignee of the contract, all the plaintiff was required to do to assist the grant of the loan was to facilitate the process of accessing the concessional loan, by using its efforts which it had done.

The statement said a letter, dated January 14, 2015, by the Ministry and addressed to it terminating the contract, in line with Article 41.1 of the General Conditions of the Contract contained therein which stated that the purchaser could terminate subject for its convenience, came as a surprise to them.

In its affidavit in opposition, the defendant maintained that aside the plaintiff’s obligation to fully fund the project, it also informed the defendant that it was capable of assisting the government to obtain a concessionary loan facility from Exim Bank, based upon which the contract was awarded to Star Times, Ghana, after all due process had been followed.

It said the reason the contract was awarded Star Times, Ghana was because of its proposal to the Ministry, indicating its capacity to facilitate the necessary funding from Exim Bank.

It further explained that because Star Times, Ghana, was a local entity and could not access the concessionary loan, the Ministry of Finance was not in the position to submit any formal application to the China Exim Bank for a concessionary facility, in respect of an agreement entered into with a locally registered entity.

The affidavit said thus Star Times Ghana, within three months, assigned its rights to Star Communications Network Technology Company Limited (now plaintiff) and following from that, the Ministry of Finance carried out due diligence and formally submitted the application for the concessionary loan, on December 21, 2012.

It said the response from the China Exim Bank to the Finance Ministry’s application “came by way of letter dated January 27, 2014, months after the Ministry had dispatched the application for the concessionary loan to the China Exim Bank”.

By Malik Sullemana  

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