Margins Group Before Sole Commissioner

Mr. Justice Yaw Apau, Sole CommissionerWhether or not there was a contract of GH¢2.9 million between the government of Ghana and the Margins Group of Companies Limited was a subject of discussion when the Judgment Debt Commission resumed sitting yesterday.

While the Chief Executive of the company, Mr Moses Kwesi Baiden Junior, held that he received an official letter from the Ghana@50 Secretariat confirming an offer to print out one million copies of calendars, the Prosecutor, Dometi Kofi Sokpor said he had expected a more detailed contract document that had specifications on terms and conditions.

Margins Group Limited had earlier told the court that it was awarded contract by the Secretariat in 2006 to print a million copies of calendars for Ghana@50 celebrations at the sum of 29 billion old Ghana Cedis (GH¢2.9 million).

According to the company, the payment became contentious in court and culminated into a judgment debt of GH¢ 4, 009,401.62 after the state had refused to fulfill its part of the deal by paying the amount on time.

The payment, which is captured in the Auditor-General’s report on the Consolidated Funds for the year 2010, was among the three cases brought before the Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Apaw, when the Commission sat yesterday.

Others were the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council which was brought before the Commission to justify payment of GH¢10,000 to a driver whose vehicle run into the council’s Toyota land cruiser and that of the State against the Kpone Traditional Council for a matter in which the state was asked to make a payment of GH¢8,000 as judgment debt.

Mr. Baiden, however, said that the letter of offer received by his outfit had enough details on the terms and conditions of the work that the secretariat had wanted them to do which in his view constituted a legal binding contract.

“Moreover, we wrote an acceptance letter to the secretariat confirming our readiness to carry out that assignment. All these were enough to bind the agreement between the two of us”, he said.

However, Mr. Sokpor had wanted to know whether beyond the letter of offer, there was a contract document that looked deeper into the content of the contract.

The Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Apaw, however, asked whether the said letters were tendered in evidence which Mr. Baiden answered in the affirmative.

According to the commissioner, an enquiry will be made to ascertain the veracity of the monies paid to the company from the time the said contract was awarded to when the judgment debt was paid to them.

Narrating his part of the story to the Commission, the Chief Executive said his company entered into the contract with the secretariat after it had won a bid in which 51 companies contested to print calendars.

He explained that his outfit has four subsidiaries including Margins Supply Limited which won the award after it had provided samples of calendars GH¢500,000 at the first stage of the biding to win the offer.

Mr. Baiden said subsequently the company had wanted the secretariat to make half payment as stated in the contract to facilitate a quick and smooth take off of the contract.

“We were expected to produce 20 containers of calendars within a period of six months and to that effect we demanded half payment but only 13 billion old Cedis were provided”, he stated.

He stated that had the payment been made earlier, the distribution would not have run into June when the celebration was over.
He stated that eventually his outfit had to resort to court for the principal amount of GH¢2.9 million and an accrued interest of GH¢1.1 million to be paid to them because government had refused to pay the rest of the money after paying the initial fee of GH¢1.3 million.
Justice Apaw after listening to his submission assured of a thorough investigation into the matter.

Margins group of companies Limited, had been subpoenaed before the Commission on Judgment Debt to assist to unravel the circumstances surrounding the payment of GH¢4,009,401.62 to it.

The company received the amount in November 2010 from the government in respect of the payment and distribution of calendars to the state, during the Ghana@50 celebrations in 2007. -By Charles Amankwa

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