General News of Thu, 10 Jan 20199

Anti-graft bodies applaud Akufo-Addo for scrapping $74m Zoomlion contract

Anti-graft bodies have commended the Akufo-Addo-led government for cancelling the U.S.$74 million contract with the Jospong Group of Companies, owners of private waste management company, Zoomlion.

The government terminated the contract awarded in 2016 for the provision of one million waste bins under a sole-sourcing arrangement which had the blessing of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).

Apart from the bins, the contract, which was approved on 26 October 2016, was also for the procurement of one million litter bin liners for distribution to households to improve sanitation in the country.

However, some assemblies in 2017 raised concerns about the contract, which led to investigations that revealed that it had been inflated.

Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah, who confirmed the cancellation to Class News, said all documents pertaining to the contract have also been forwarded to the Attorney General’s Department.

“When we came in, we looked at our funding and the companies involved in the arrangement. We made them aware that we were not happy with the contract … At the end of the day, we think that we cannot go ahead with the contract and we informed them, accordingly. We have written to them that we are not proceeding with the contract,” he said.

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A statement signed by Nana Osei-Bonsu, Board Chair of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) on Thursday, 10 January 2019, said: “The Coalition of National Anti-Corruption Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the umbrella of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) wishes to commend the government for cancelling the U.S.$ 74 million contract awarded to Jospong Group of Companies to supply waste bins to the various assemblies for procurement infractions and nonperformance.”

It added: “Procurement is the most vulnerable to corruption because of the volume of transactions involved and the financial interests at stake. Corruption risks in public procurement are also exacerbated by the complexity of the process, the close interaction between public officials and businesses, and the multitude of stakeholders.

“Transparency in public procurement not only promotes accountability but also plays an important role in levelling the playing field for businesses and allowing small and medium enterprises to participate on a more equal footing.”

“We urge that despite the cancellation of the contract, the Office of the Special Prosecutor, pursuant to its functions under section 3(1)(a) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) should investigate the procurement infraction in the award [of the contract] and prosecute same.

“The government is also urged to speed up ongoing investigations in the award of the 194 million Ghana Cedis Fumigation contract to Jospong Group to apply the necessary sanctions if the contract is found to contravene the Procurement Act (Act 663).”

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