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07.06.2005 Business & Finance

GPHA accuses Shipping Companies of sabotage


Tema, June 7, GNA - The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) says it has uncovered a plot by some foreign shipping companies to sabotage the operations of a consortium to manage its container terminal project.

It mentioned Hull Blyth Limited, Grimaldi Lines and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) as the companies spearheading the alleged plot. GPHA boss, Mr Ben Owusu Mensah, at a meeting with ship owners and Agents Association on Monday, said the companies were among others bidding to form the consortium when GPHA decided to transform from a service port to a Landlord Port.

He said the companies were using the media to pollute the minds of Ghanaians about the formation of the consortium and added that GPHA also had information about several meetings held by the companies in Geneva to undermine the Authority.

He said the group wrote a letter to the Public Procurement Board alleging that the bidding process was not transparent. Giving the background to the issue, Mr Owusu Mensah said when GPHA decided on its transformation programme, it gave all the shipping companies the opportunity to bid to form a consortium to service the programme and that this decision was even taken before the Procurement Law was passed.

He said Merksline Shipping Company, SDV Bollarey, Bougues, and Sutton Shipping Company won the bid and constituted a consortium to manage the new Container Terminal on Quay two at the Tema Port with GPHA holding 30 percent of the shares in the operations. Mr Owusu-Mensah said GPHA had invested 60 million dollars in the project while the consortium had made an initial investment of 25 million dollars.

He said the rest of the companies, which could not win the bid, however became aggrieved and sent letters to GPHA expressing their misgivings about the appointment of the consortium and the fact that those companies were their competitors and could use their membership to their advantage.