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General News Thu, 7 Sep 2017

Jospong Group 'fingered' again in Assembly rot

In yet another damning revelation it has emerged the Jospong Group of companies took monies ostensibly to provide fumigation services for the Asante-Akim Central Assembly but failed to do so.

A former presiding member George Kyei Baffuor recounted how the Assembly had to suffer sanitation crisis even though the Jospong Group of companies was paid a monthly sum for services not rendered.

“In 2012 thereabout when I was Presiding Member, I had cause to set up a committee to audit the fumigation component of the Assembly’s relationship with Zoomlion and we made startling revelations.

Millions of cedis that had been deducted without any job performed whatsoever. As I stay here in my district I have never seen Zoomlion fumigating anywhere and there was clear evidence from the District Officer in charge of Environmental Sanitation that he had never been part of any fumigation level. He had never been contacted,” he narrated to Joy News, Wednesday.

So bad it was that they had to write to Zoomlion to refund the monies it collected from the Assembly but all that effort proved futile, Kyei Baffour noted.

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His revelation is yet another confirmation of the findings of a nine month investigation conducted by Joy News into contracts signed between the Jospong Group of companies and officials of the previous government, particularly the Local Government Ministry.

Manasseh Azure Awuni who led the investigations uncovered damning revelations of how a $74 million contract was signed between Jospong Group of companies and the Local Government Ministry for the supply of one million waste bins and 900,000 bin liners.

Checks by Awuni revealed the price for a waste bin may have been inflated to the tune of ¢130 million.

In yet another damning revelation, the company was awarded another ¢98 million contract to fumigate all 11 regions as a measure to fight the outbreak of cholera.

That contract was awarded at a time Zoomlion, a subsidiary of Jospong had an existing contract to do the same job, a contract which monies are deducted every month from the District Assemblies Common Fund.

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Checks by Joy News indicate that in a year, each district assembly pays Gh¢161,000, every municipal assembly pays GH¢184, 000 while the Metropolitan assemblies pay GH¢207,000 each, to Jospong for the fumigation.

It has also emerged the Auditor General’s Report for 2015 also made damning revelations against Jospong Group over the matter.

The findings in the Auditor General’s report were not fundamentally different from the Joy News investigations.

The revelations churned out by Manasseh Azure Awuni have become a subject of investigation by the Police CID.

It has also informed a change in the policy direction by the new government with the new Local Government minister announcing decentralization policy to award contract for sanitation management at the local assembly level.

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Speaking to the issues, George Kyei Baffour said the policy to award such contracts at the central government for services that must be done at the local assembly level was a drain on the coffers of government.

“It was a serious indictment on decentralization,” he said.

He welcomed the new policy to allow the Assemblies to hire their own sanitation service providers and ensure proper monitoring.

Source: Myjoyonline.com
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