Founder of SOFTtribe is demanding the immediate return of mobile phones seized by National Security operatives when they stormed the office of the company on Monday afternoon.

Calling out the armed National Security personnel for their heavy-handedness at the Airport Residential office of the software company, Herman Chinery-Hesse said Wednesday that he suspects that the operation was not approved by the appropriate authorities.

“Even the National Security [operation], we are not really irritated. Kan Dapaah [National Security Minister], I have known him for 10, 15 years. He is a very decent man. He was misled. Not only that, he didn’t know about it.

“Think about it, that [National Security operatives] are running an operation, Kan Dapaah doesn’t know, MD of Ghana Water doesn’t know, Chairman of Ghana Water doesn’t know, how is that even possible?” Mr Chinery-Hesse said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show.

The security swoop at the SOFTtribe office at around 4:00 pm on Tuesday comes at a time when the renowned software company is challenging the Ghana Water Company (GWCL) for unfairly terminating a water billing software contract that started in 2016.

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Highly placed sources at National Security have told on Tuesday that the rapid surprise visit was done on behalf of GWCL with the sole purpose of safeguarding the database access “which had been deliberately blocked by the company.”

A source at the state security agency said, “the operation followed a complaint by GWCL to National Security.” According to the source, “SOFTtribe Ltd was holding the databases, which are critical for billing customers, as ransom after GWCL served to notice it will not renew its contractual relations with the IT firm.”

But speaking on the Super Morning Show, Mr Chinery-Hesse said the claim that  SOFTtribe was preventing the water company from accessing the database critical for billing customers was a blatant lie.

He revealed that since the inception of the contract, through to when it was unfairly terminated, some persons – whose identities he failed to reveal – have been scheming to extort money from SOFTtribe.

“We have the evidence of all these on our phones. They kept telling us ‘we have friends at National Security, they will deal with you’. Then National Security attacks our office and they come with a warrant that says they should take phones and laptops; they take the phones and leave the laptops.

“Because the evidence is on the phones, until today, we don’t have our phones. Fortunately, we are an IT company so they [evidence] are backed up somewhere,” he told show host, Daniel Dadzie.

“Bring back our phones,” he urged officials of the National Security.

He said it is not the intention of SOFTtribe to destroy the relationship it has cultivated over the years with GWCL. 

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According to him, the water billing software that SOFTtribe introduced to GWCL increased its revenue mobilisation by 14% and was projected to increase over the years.  He wants the benefits that the innovative billing software brings to the state to be sustained.

“Ghana Water has invested, we have invested. We are not here to fight Ghana Water. We are not here to fight anybody. We are not here to fight National Security, we are not here to fight anybody. The best thing for Ghana and our children is for the system to work well and for us in Ghana Water to make 100 million dollars a year selling it across Africa.

“That is the end goal. If that cannot happen, unfortunate. But I will not do anything to eliminate that possibility,” he said.