Three officers of the Northern Development Authority (NDA) and Mr Andrew Kuundaari, the Chief Executive Officer of A&QS Consortium, have been arraigned before court over procurement breaches.
The three officers are Mr Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, the Chief Executive, NDA, Mr Stephen Yir-eru Engmen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) and Mr Patrick Seidu, Deputy Chief Executive (Finance and Administration).
The four persons have been charged for conspiring to commit the crime of arraigned of directly or indirectly influence the procurement process to “obtain an unfair advantage in the award of a procurement contract.”
They have since arraigned before the Criminal Division of the Tamale High Court on Tuesday, January 31, 2023.
According to the Office of the Special Presecutor (OSP), the act of the four persons was contrary to Section 23(1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and Section 92(2) b of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).
It said that they agreed to act together with a common purpose of directly or indirectly influencing a procurement contract under the implementation of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication (IPEP) by increasing without lawful authority, the total sum of GH₵5.7 million (GH₵5,720,000 to GH₵10.4 million (GH₵10,400,000)
A private legal practitioner, Mr Martin Luther Kpebu, lodged a complaint at the OSP in June 2022 for investigations to be conducted into the operations of NDA and the actions of its Chief Executive and its Board Chairman.
The complainant alleged that NDA awarded a contract to A&QS Consortium 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 GH₵5,720,000.
However, upon the exit of the then Acting Chief Executive who executed the contract, the contract sum was illegally increased to GH₵10,400,000.
This was done by the removal of the page having the original figure of GH₵5,720,000.00 and its replacement at page 25 clause 33.1 of the contract with a fresh page having the bloated figure of GHC10,400,000 to make it appear as if it is the contract executed by the previous Acting Chief Executive.
The Special Prosecutor after detailed investigations revealed in a statement that “Mr. Abdul-Rahman, Mr. Engmen, Mr. Seidu, and Mr. Kuundaari intended their actions to, and their actions did in fact, directly or indirectly influence the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage to A&QS in the procurement for consultants by NDA under the IPEP.
They did this by increasing the approved procurement total contract sum of GH¢5,720,000 by an amount of GH¢4.6 million (GH¢4,680,000) to an amount of GH¢10.4 million without lawful authority.
Their actions led to the approval for payment to A&QS of two invoices totaling GHC8.3 million (GHC8,328,840.
This exceeded the approved procurement total contract sum of GH¢5,720,000 by an amount of GH¢2.6 million (GH¢2,608,840.00).
This leaves an outstanding amount of GH¢2 million (GH¢2,071,160.00), without lawful authority.
The OSP said following the complaint, it interviewed 20 persons over a period of four months, as part of the investigation – which was multi-pronged and spanned a period of six months before coming out with its conclusion.
It 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.
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