Senior government officials dragged to CHRAJ
Dismissed Security Coordinator at the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) Limited, Lawal La Fuseini, has petitioned the Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), over allegations of “corruption” and “misappropriation” of Public Funds in the procurement of some buses from China.
The prices of the buses are suspected to have been highly inflated by the Ministry of Transport, which has supervisory role over the MMT.
Website of the manufacturers, indicated that one bus costs US$75, 000, but per the contract signed by the government and Daewoo Company, one bus was sold to the taxpayer at a whopping US$175, 000; more than twice, than was advertised by the suppliers.
A number of government officials, including the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare at Office of the President, have been cited.
The Herald, has meanwhile sighted a letter dated September 6, 2017, signed by Ofori Asiamah, authorizing GH-Daewoo Motors Limited to deliver some 50 buses to MMT at a total cost of Eight Million Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Dollar (US$8,750,000.00).
There is yet another document dated November 28, 2017 signed by one Isaac Ofori Poku, in his capacity as the Chief Executive of GH-Daewoo Motors Ghana Limited addressed to the Hon. Deputy Minister of Transport, in which the company said it was amending its “Tender Offer Price of US$8,795,000 to a new offer price of Eight Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Dollars (US$8,750,000.00)”.
It’s not clear, if this price negotiation was just a smart arrangement between the authorizing agency and the suppliers to create an impression it is saving money for the state. It is also unclear, what due diligence or value for money analysis, were made by the Ministry ahead of the order.
Lawal La Fuseini, who was recently sacked from the state-owned company for blowing the whistle on some issues in the company, is also accusing the Minister of Transport, Ofori Asiamah and his deputy, Daniel Nii Kwatei Titus Glover and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GH- Daewoo Motors Limited, Isaac Ofori Poku (CEO).
The petition which has been received and acknowledged by CHRAJ is titled “Allegation of corruption and misappropriation of public money through the award of contract on procurement of 50 Daewoo buses and more for Metro Mass Transit Limited in contravention of provision of chapter 24 of the 1992 Constitution”
Mr Fuseini, while speaking to Citi FM yesterday, linked his removal to his decision to blow the cover on members of the executive narrating that, earlier this year, he detected that some 50 Units Intercity Buses which were being procured by government through the instrumentality of the Chief of Staff, were inflated to more than 100 percent per his investigation.
According to him, his checks on the website of the company, indicated that one bus costs US$75, 000, but per the contract signed by the government and Daewoo Company, one bus was sold to the taxpayer at US$175, 000.
He said, information provided by GH-Daewoo Motors Limited on its website, says people who wanted to do business, could even have the prices reduced for purchase.
“I picked up some intelligence early this year concerning the fact that the buses Metro Mass Transmit Limited, was about to commission, there was some kind of fraud in it. Even at the website they said this money is even negotiable.
The information has it that the contract was over bloated when we went inside, we realized that yes the amount given by the Chinese company for each by FOB thus free onboard was US$75, 000 but when we picked the contract documents, we realized that the amount was even more than 100 percent that was quoted to have been the cost of the buses.
So, that gave us cause for concern so we went further and we realized that there was so much information that points to the fact that this was a serious fraud against this country and for that matter that there was the need for us to make sure that whoever is behind this fraud is brought to book”.
He said, MMT has always had suppliers who provided them these buses and per his knowledge in the company, Daewoo, is never one of such companies which they have relied on over the period.
Mr Fuseini, also said his checks at the MMT indicate that, no one at his former company, was contacted before the buses were procured by the government led by the Chief of Staff.
“From my understanding, they went through single sourcing procedure because there is no other company that vied for this and when you look at it, Metro Mass we have a number of suppliers that we normally rely on anytime we want procure buses, Daewoo has not been any part ofthe suppliers that is registered with the company.
So that tells us that, there is something fictitious about the whole deal because when we checked, no one at Metro Mass was aware of what was happening.
What we knew was that government was procuring buses for Metro Mass Transit Limited. Even when we checked with our technicians at the workshop,….Little did they have any input as far as the specification and whatever was concern.
They were only transported from Ghana to China to go and inspect some buses. When they went, they were shown only one brand of buses; they looked at that brand and then made some recommendations out”.
He said, when the technicians were coming back to Ghana, they came with 30 of the buses they inspected in China, including another brands that were not inspected between September and October 2017.This meant that the buses which were finally bought, were never tested by the technicians neither were they tried in Ghana before purchase.
He said, the procedure is that, when the company wants to purchase buses, technicians from the MMT, are sent to manufacturers to inspect the buses and a number of them are brought back to come and test them here to see if they are suitable before they are finally procured. But in this case, “it never happened. Yes, this Daewoo buses were not tried in out terrain”.
He said, even though they contacted the company on the price differences, it declined to answer, saying as at the time he was speaking, the prices of the same buses, brand and number of passengers, were still on the website.
He narrated, why he had had to petition CHRAJ, saying “this is a crime that has been committed and base on the information that we have at hand, earlier this year, the Ministry paid a working visit to the Board of Directors of Metro Mass Transit Limited and at the meeting, it was stated that it was through the Chief of Staff that government was procuring these buses to assist Metro Mass Transit Limited.
That it was the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare, who used her influence to make sure that we are getting these buses for the company”.
He said, the involvement of Mrs. Osei Opare, was also echoed by the Board chairman of the company, Ahmed Arthur, when he commissioned the buses.
The procurement processes was performed at the Ministry of Transport, reason he had to include the aforementioned people.
When asked, if he had additional information to nail his accusers, Mr Fuseini, who earlier exposed a former MD of the company over corruption said “We have a lot” adding that their search in China, shows that no company, will charge the amount of money the government of Ghana, is claiming it bought the buses.
He said, he was being victimized because he this time, touched the powers that be, because in the past when he exposed the former MD and other, he was hailed.
He said his work at MMT is there for all to see. “I think I deserve more than what the company treated me.It is there.
Because now I have turned my guns towards the executives, the big men of the company, I am now seen as the bad guy. When I was doing it to my colleagues the small small boys and small small girls, they were praising me; Lawal you are good, this policeman is good, this police is that.Now I have turned the nozzle of my gun against you for the same thing you brought me to do, now you are referring to me as the troublemaker of the company. I have never caused trouble, the only thing I did at Metro Mass, was to do my work as expected of me as security coordinator.