Investigators are probing what is suspected to be the plagiarizing of Single Window software used by the government of Ghana and selling it back to the same government of Ghana at an estimated $180 Million through a 10-year sole sourced contract on the blind side of parliament and Cabinet.
The probe became necessary after it emerged that the supposed newly built and superior software with which Ghana Link Network Service Limited with its overseas partners, CUPIA Koria Customs Service (UNIPASS) was to operate, is no different from the existing systems already being operated by Ghana government.
Shockingly, the website of the supposedly newly built and superior system being brought by UNIPASS displays “Ghana’s Trade Hub”, the existing facility of the government of Ghana.
The website also has posters and artworks of the “achievement of paperless ports so far…” which was designed by the Office of the Vice President in early 2018 based on the works of the existing operators.
Another embarrassing aspect of the so called newly built and superior UNIPASS system is that a click on its social media bottoms such as Facebook and Twitter, rather opens the social media pages of the existing vendors with all the contact details and information on the latter.
Some Customs officers and freight forwarders who were privy to demonstrations of the new superior system expressed their confusion and called for immediate probe.
The supposed UNIPASS system looks exactly like the existing Ghana Single Window system. It features, designs, and its operations resembles the current system, with one of its modules labelled UNI-PAARS (PAARS being the existing system used by Customs). The suspected cloning has triggered investigations which could result in criminal prosecutions.
The suspected cloned system which has been re-named the Single Window and Customs Management System (UNIPASS) is what has been sold back to the government of Ghana for $180 million through an intriguing deal spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade headed by Alan Kyerematen.
UNIPASS Deal Suspended
Meanwhile the Economic Management Team (EMT) on December 18, 2018, directed the Ministry of Trade and Industry to suspend the single window system takeover by CUPIA of Korea Customs Service (UNIPASS) and Ghana Link Network Service Limited.
The decision which was communicated to the Ministries of Trade and Finance was to ensure that issues regarding the takeover of operations at the country’s ports were addressed.
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 independent Stress Report and provide a comprehensive implementation plan to the EMT by the end of January 2019″.
On March 29, 2018, the Ministry of Trade and Industry signed a 10-year sole sourced contract with Nick Danso’s Ghana Link Network Service Limited and its overseas partners, CUPIA Koria Customs Service, to take over the Ghana National Single Window with what was said to be a newly built customized superior system.
Even though the takeover of the single window operations would cost the tax payers more money, the contract was signed without the involvement of all relevant stakeholders.
Per the contract terms, Ghana Link with its overseas partners, CUPIA Korea Customs Service will provide the trade facilitation and Customs Management System at a 0.75 percent fee (FOB) per their 10-year sole sourced contract with Ministry of Trade.
This means that Ghanaian importers will be paying about US$180 million for the UNIPASS system at the end of the company’s 10-year contract with Ghana based on the current import volumes.
This figure is outrageously higher than what the existing vendors, West Blue and GCNet are currently receiving as a fee.