$170m judgement debt caused by poor risk assessment on GPGC deal termination – Kofi Abotsi

The Dean of the UPSA Law School, Prof. Ernest Kofi Abotsi, says the lapses in the assessment of the risks involved in the termination of the GPGC power deal led to the $170 million judgement debt slapped on the country.

He said a proper scrutiny of the situation to assess the costs involved in terminating or allowing the deal to continue would have helped the country make a more economically sound decision.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile on Saturday, the Managing Partner of Axis Legal, said there are many lawyers specialized in the area of risks assessment that could have helped in giving sound counsel on the dangers of terminating the deal.

“Everything depends on your calculations of your risk liabilities. The question is who are the people who are making those assessments because those are assessments that can be done by lawyers whose skills specialize in quantum assessment,” he said.

“Ultimately, did we have clarity on how much cost we were looking at should we breach the contract? How much cost it would entail if we don’t terminate it at all and allow it to run its full course? It appears to me that somehow, some calculations weren’t done or certain consultations weren’t complete and in the process, explains why we are here,” he added.

Prof. Abotsi said judgment debts against the Ghana have become a major problem that need not to be accepted.

“There are so many lawyers who could have helped because this is something that happens [often]… It happens from year to year, government to government across the political divide and spectrum, and I don’t think that frankly it is something we should allow to go on,” he further noted.

Ghana was recently slapped with a $170 million judgement debt over the termination of a power purchase agreement with Ghana Power Generation Company (GPGC).

The company dragged the government of Ghana to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) after an official termination in 2018, demanding compensation from the government for a breach of the contract.

The court subsequently awarded the company an amount of $170 million to be paid by Ghana.

Ghana challenged the arbitration award in a UK court, but could not meet the deadlines to file its case citing the COVID-19 pandemic among others as reasons for the delay.

The Attorney General, Godfred Dame, has stated that processes are underway to thoroughly probe circumstances that led to Ghana being slapped with the $170 million judgement debt, although he claims that the cancellation saved Ghana a lot more.