SOFTribe, a Ghanaian owned software company, and Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) are set to begin a process to resolve a conflict that has ensued over alleged problems with a water billing software.
The government has directed that the two parties to cease public accusations and counter accusations and begin a process to resolve their disagreements from Monday.
The National Security agency, which swooped the office of the software powerhouse on Monday are is also expected to be in the meeting.
“The roots of the dispute will be investigated and solutions found to enable work to continue in a peaceful atmosphere. It is in the nation’s interest that the technological solutions that are being applied to the running of GWCL not be compromised in any way and nothing is done to undermine the utility company or jeopardise the reputation of the internationally acclaimed Ghanaian company SOFTribe,” a source close to the two parties has explained exclusively to Joy News.
The source said the two parties have also been asked to expeditiously resolve their disagreements and inform the public accordingly.
Ahead of the meeting, the Board of GWCL is expected to hold an emergency meeting before the resoultion process starts, Joy News sources say.
Technical Director of SOFTtribe, David Kwamena Bolton, revealed on Tuesday that heavily armed personnel from the National Security, presented an unsigned court order to confiscate mobile phones and electronic equipment of the company’s staff.
“They confiscated all our phones. Initially, they wanted to take our laptops then they decided not to take them. So currently, none of our technical staff or directors is without phones and we can’t operate as a company, he said Tuesday on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show.
He told the host of the show, Daniel Dadzie, that one of the company’s technical staff was detained “and taken to the Ghana Water Company head office.”
Subsequently, Founder of the company, Herman Chinery-Hesse, called out the armed National Security personnel for their heavy-handedness at the Airport Residential office of the software company.
Demanding the immediate return of the seized phones, Mr Chinery-Hesse said Wednesday that he suspects the operation was not approved by the appropriate authorities.
He also alleged that since the inception of the contract, through to when it was unfairly terminated, some persons at GWCL– whose identities he failed to reveal – have been scheming to extort money from SOFTtribe, which co-owns the software with GWCL.
He suspects that evidence of the extortion (which were on the mobile phones but have been securely backed up) was the reason National Security operatives swooped his firm’s Airport Residential office and seized phones.
He said the SOFTtribe contract was terminated because the firm fought off the extortion attempt by persons inside GWCL.
Mr Chinery-Hesse said he has no problem if GWCL wants to terminate the agreement to use the software that was developed by local IT brains to rake in money for Ghana but he wants the termination clauses to be adhered to, and the right price paid.
But in a rebuttal, Managing Director of Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Dr Clifford Abdallah Braimah, justified a decision to terminate a billing system contract with the IT firm, citing a sharp dip in the utility company’s revenue as one of the key reasons.
Addressing the press at the GWCL’s head office in Accra on Thursday, Dr Braimah alleged that the water billing system developed problems that SOFTtribed seemed unable to solve despite giving the renowned IT company time to resolve.
The four main problems that were impeding GWCL’s operations, according to Dr Braimah included: inconsistency between the balance on statement of account of customers and their water bills. He said this made it difficult to handle customers’ queries.
Another problem, according to the GWCL’s MD, is that that the software, which was installed in 2016, by 2018 had started billing customers with wrong tariffs; also the e-readers were not functioning.
All these problems also made it impossible for the GWCL to monitor the entire billing process.
Dr Braimah’s press conference followed two interviews SOFTtribe granted Joy FM’s Super Morning Show this week. He said it was unfortunate that SOFTtribe would allege in public that some vile persons were trying to extort money from his firm for winning the contract when the company could have just gone to the police.
Dr Braimah said it was unfortunate that SOFTtribe would allege in public that some vile persons were trying to extort money from his firm for winning the contract when the company could have just gone to the police.