West Blue Consulting, an IT solution firm, has sued Ghana Link Network Services Limited, Customs UNI-PASS International Agency and Work Smart Limited over apparent plagiarism of the Ghana National Single Window Software.
West Blue Consulting (Plaintiff), in its statement of claim filed at an Accra High Court on January 23, 2019, is asking for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain Ghana Link Network Service, Customs UNI-PASS International Agency and Work Smart Limited (Defendants) – whether by their Directors, officers, agents, servants or assigns whatsoever – from using the software they cloned from West Blue’s One view, Trade Hub and PAARS system in 2018 as a component of their Ghana Trade Portal and UNIPASS system.
West Blue is further seeking damages against the defendants for infringing its copyright by cloning the PAARS software in 2018 without authorisation.
According to the plaintiff, it became aware in July 2018 that Ghana Link had copied its Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) and Risk Management System- modules of the Ghana Single Window System. This became more evident when stakeholders at the port, including members of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), raised the alarm after UNI-PASS demonstrated its supposedly-new systems to them.
The stakeholders realised that the existing single window system belonging to the government of Ghana and being operated by West Blue is the same system that UNI-PASS had copied and was demonstrating to them as a new system.
The features, designs and operations of the UNI-PASS system are said to be the same as the existing system. The website of the new system also has posters and artworks of the ‘Achievement of Paperless Ports So Far’ – which were designed in early 2018 based on the work of the existing operators.
The social media link on the supposed new system redirects to West Blue’s social media handle.
The suspected cloned system, according to West Blue, is what has been sold back to the government of Ghana for US$180million through an intriguing 10-year sole-sourced deal spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade.
West Blue also became more aware that Ghana Link was copying its application because UNIPASS’s system was not ready for the planned January 1, 2019 takeover; so, the copying was to allow Ghana Link to run West Blue’s system until the UNI-PASS system was ready.