Auditor-General finds no evidence of GHC440m debt as Zoomlion fails to prove claims
The Auditor General has revealed it has found no evidence to approve the payment of more than 440million cedis demanded by Zoomlion as debt owed the sanitation company by government.
In a letter intercepted by Joy News and signed by Deputy A-G Roberta Assiamah-Appiah, it provided four reasons why no money should be paid Zoomlion. One main reason was that during 2013 to 2015, the period in which Zoomlion claims a debt accrued, it had no contract with government to provide sanitation services.
The Youth in Sanitation contract with Zoomlion expired in February 2013 and the a committee set up by the government to review the contract recommended that the Zoomlion contract should be discontinued.
To date, no contract has been signed with Zoomlion but the Common Fund Secretariat continued to make payments to Zoomlion. Zoomlion made the debt claim in 2016 which prompted the audit service to investigate the claims.
In November 2016, the Head of Communications at the Jospong Group Sophia Lissah said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show that "I can tell you for a fact that" Zoomlion had a valid contract with the Youth Employment Agency. But it turned out to be false.
A few months earlier, the Chairman of the Jospong Group, Joseph Siaw Agyepong, had admitted to a Cabinet Committee chaired by Haruna Iddrisu that the Zoomlion’s contract was not renewed when it expired in 2013. There was also a claim by Zoomlion and some government officials, including former youth and sports minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, that the contract had an automatic renewal clause.
Joy News can state that this claim is also false. This notwithstanding, the District Assemblies Common Fund continued to pay Zoomlion when it had not contract.
In 2015, then CEO of the YEA, Vincent Kuagbenu wrote to the Common Fund to suspend payment to Zoomlion because the company had no contract and the YEA could not verify the claims it made for payment. The Common Fund ignored Mr. Kuagbenu’s letter and Kuagbenu was fired a few months later. In 2016, Zoomlion claimed its arrears in respect of the expired contract was in excess of 440 million cedis.
A cabinet committee’s report on the debt claimed that the YEA board had certified the number of beneficiaries submitted by Zoomlion and the amount it claimed it was owed. Joy News checks have revealed that this claim was also false.
The Board chairman said the YEA could not have come to that conclusion when it had asked the Auditor General to conduct an audit of Zoomlion’s claim. Besides, Joy News can authoritatively report that, at least for the past nine years, no minister or government official no government official could independently tell number of beneficiaries for which Zoomlion was paid.
In a letter addressed the YEA and copied to the Employment and Labour Relations Minister as well as the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, the audit service says it cannot certify payment after it conducted its audit.
The audit service says it did not see any valid contract between Zoomlion and the YEA and the current arrangement since 2013 has not been ratified.
Full letter is reproduced