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OSP directs criminal prosecution of NDA boss and deputies over PPA breaches

56870932 Kissi Agyebeng is the Special Prosecutor

Tue, 24 Jan 2023 Source:

The Office of the Special Prosecutor has directed that the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Development Authority, Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, be prosecuted for criminal offences.

The report also directed the similar criminal prosecutions of the two deputy CEOs of the NDA, Stephen Yir-eru Engman (Operations), and Patrick Seidu (Finance & Administration).

This, the report stated, is due to their respective roles in breaches of the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663).

This was contained in the OSP’s Report of Investigation into Alleged Commission of Corruption and Corruption-Related Offences involving the Northern Development Authority and A&QD Consortium Limited, dated January 24, 2023.

It was based on a written complaint dated June 15, 2022, and addressed to the Special Prosecutor by Martin Luther Kpebu, a private legal practitioner, requesting for investigation into the operations of NDA and the actions of its Chief Executive and Board Chairman.

“The complaint alleged that NDA awarded a contract to A&QS Consortium Limited (hereafter, A&QS) on 28 January 2020 for consultancy services for the supervision of some constituencies in the Upper West Region under the IPEP for the contract sum of Five Million Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand cedis (GHC5,720,000.00). However, upon the exit of the then Acting Chief Executive who executed the contract, the contract sum was illegally increased to Ten Million Four Hundred Thousand cedis (GHC10,400,000.00) by the removal of the page containing the original figure of Five Million Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand cedis (GHC5,720,000.00) and its replacement at page 25 clause 33.1 of the contract with a fresh page containing the bloated figure of Ten Million Four Hundred Thousand cedis (GHC10,400,000.00) to make it appear as if it is the contract executed by the previous Acting Chief Executive,” the report stated.

According to the OSP, it conducted the investigations over a period of six months, interviewing twenty persons over a period of four months before arriving at its conclusions.

It established that there were some major breaches in a contract that existed between the government organisation and A&QS and Associate Beaver Consult for the implementation of NDA’s Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) at a contract sum of Twenty-Nine Million Six Hundred and Forty Thousand cedis (GHC29,640,000.00).

The report also indicated how the outgoing CEO of the NDA had struck a deal with the companies, but upon his termination, the same was not communicated with the new management.

“In December 2019, Dr. Haroun’s appointment was terminated. At the time of his exit as Acting Chief Executive of NDA, the two (2) procured companies – A&QS and Associate Beaver Consult – had not been notified of any award of a contract, and no contract had been executed between NDA and either consulting entity for the commencement of the respective projects.

“There appeared to be a framework document which had the signatures of Dr. Haroun and the Chief Executive of A&QS, Mr. Andrew Kuundaari. However, the signatures were not witnessed. Then again, the document had no deliverables on the nature of the work to be performed by A&QS. It had no contract sum and it had neither a commencement date nor a date for the contract period. Mr. Kuundaari did not read the framework document and he did not know its contents since it had always remained in the custody of Mr. Stephen Yir-eru Engmen, the Deputy Chief Executive of NDA in charge of Operations.

“It was evident and clear to every relevant person that no contract had been signed between NDA and A&QS at the time of Dr. Haroun’s departure. However, Mr. Kuundaari and Mr. Engmen would subsequently point to the framework document in an attempt to justify their actions,” the report stated.

In its conclusion, the OSP report stated that it had directed the Controller and Accountant General to freeze payments to A&QS.

It further directed for the criminal prosecutions of the CEO, Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, and his two deputies.

“On 1 July 2022, the Special Prosecutor directed the Controller and Accountant General to immediately freeze payments to A&QS under NDA’s implementation of the IPEP until the close of the investigation. While lifting the directive in principle, the Special Prosecutor advises all public officers in the approval chain to advert their minds to the tenor of the 16 January 2020 PPA approval for the procurement by NDA of A&QS and to ensure value for money.

“On the basis of the findings, the Special Prosecutor directs the criminal prosecution of the persons named below for respective breaches of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663): Mr. Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, Chief Executive, Northern Development Authority; Mr. Stephen Yir-eru Engmen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations), Northern Development Authority; and Mr. Patrick Seidu, Deputy Chief Executive (Finance & Administration), Northern Development Authority,” it added.

Read the full report below:


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