An Intellectual Property (IP) dispute has hit the controversial UNIPASS National Single Window, as West Blue claims ownership of the software allegedly used for the project.
West Blue Ghana Ltd, an IT solution firm, is suing the operators of the system for allegedly pirating its software.
The suit, filed at the Commercial Division of the Accra High Court, is against Ghana Link Network Services Ltd, Customs UNI-PASS International Agency of Korea (CUPIA, Korea) and Word Smart Ltd.
West Blue is seeking an order from the court to restrain the three companies, their directors, agents or anyone acting in their names from using its software as part of the UNIPASS system.
It also wants the court to award damages against the defendants for infringing its copyright by cloning its software without authorisation.
The suit comes barely two months after the Economic Management Team (EMT), headed by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, directed the suspension of the UNI-PASS port clearing system which was scheduled to commence on January 1, 2019.
In the statement, EMT tasked CUPIA Korea and Ghana Link Network Services to provide a demonstration that they had developed a “full end-to-end Customs Technology Solutions Systems, successfully tested, and provide a comprehensive implementation plant to the EMT by the end of January this year.
On August 4, 2015, West Blue entered into an agreement with the government to provide a single window government as part of efforts to integrate the systems of the service provider at the country’s ports and facilitate the dazing of goods without voluminous paperwork while reducing transactional time.
The contract was to expire in 2020 after which Wet Blue would hand over the system to the government of Ghana.
However, in March 2018, the Ministry of Trade signed a 10-year sole-sourced contract with Ghana Link Network Service Ltd and its overseas partner, CUPIA Korea Customs Service, to oversee the implementation of the National Single Window Project, including the paperless system, at the ports.
Ghana Link, with its overseas partners CUPIA Korea Customs Service, will provide the trade facilitation and Customs Management System at a 0.75 per cent fee per chair contract with the Ministry of Trade.
This figure is higher than what the existing vendors, West Blue and GCNet are currently receiving as a fee.
West Blue Consulting currently earns 0.28 per cent, while GCNet earns 0.4 per cent. So, the two existing vendors providing single window operations in Ghana together are taking 0.68 per cent which is below what UNIPASS is going to take (0.75 per cent).
By ADR Daily Newsdesk