The Bank of Ghana has won an arbitration brought against it by Sibton Switch Systems Limited (“Sibton Switch”) in relation to the termination of the Master Agreement for the Ghana Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure in 2017.
This follows a ruling by a Tribunal constituted under the auspices of the London International Court of Arbitration (LCIA).
On 28th July 2021, a panel of three distinguished arbitrators issued an award in favour of the Bank of Ghana in the LCIA arbitration, dismissing all the claims brought by Sibton Switch Systems Limited.
The claims were dismissed due to the failure by Sibton Switch Systems Limited to comply with the orders of the Tribunal including an earlier interim award made by the Tribunal on 25th of June 2019 in favour of the Bank of Ghana, which required Sibton Switch to make an interim award payment for security of costs.
The final award also orders Sibton Switch Systems Limited to pay to the Bank of Ghana in full, its costs of the arbitration, in respect of the Bank of Ghana’s legal fees.
Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, expressed satisfaction with the favourable outcome for the Bank in these proceedings, and for the billions of Ghana Cedis saved by the Ghanaian taxpayer as a result.
Background to the case
On the 9th of April 2018, Sibton Switch filed a Request for Arbitration with the LCIA against the Bank of Ghana for breaching the Master Agreement for the Ghana Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure entered into by the two parties.
Following the 2016 elections and on the appointment of a new Management of the Bank of Ghana, it became necessary to review the terms of the contract entered into by the previous administration.
In reviewing the contract, the new Management of the Central reached the conclusion that Sibton had neither acquired the licence nor fulfilled the condition precedent for the effectiveness of the rights and obligations of the parties.
The agreement, which dealt with the grant of exclusive rights to Sibton Switch to build, operate and own the Ghana Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure was therefore terminated on the basis that it never came into effect.
The Claimant, Sibton Switch, therefore went to the LCIA seeking relief in the sum of $478 million from the respondent, Bank of Ghana.