In a video sighted on Facebook, which has since gone viral, the NDC's Deputy Youth Organizer, Edem Agbana has directly accused the President and his government as been brazenly corrupt and according to him, the international health pandemic, is only an opportunity by them, to make wealth illegally, as seen here at Facebook (VIDEO).
Edem Agbana, who was speaking this morning on TV3's New Day TV Show, was emphatic that:
"President Akufo Addo And His Government Sees COVID-19 As An Opportunity To Loot More. What happened to the Frontiers Healthcare Services Contract, the one they were providing at the airport? That all the ministers that were in charge, till date, have we been able to establish those who gave the contract? You awarded a contract to a company that had no track record in that, a company that was formed only a few days before that contract was given on sole sourcing," he said.
"And you want me to that, the people forming the contract, had o prior knowledge, to say to them, 'go form a company, we have a contract put together for you.' During the vetting of the ministers, all seven (7) ministries that should have an idea about this Frontiers Healthcare Services, all had no knowledge about the contract details," he added.
Citing more examples to buttress his points, as Berla Mundi thought his instances were too limited to draw that conclusion, he went on to add that "in addition to how the Covid-19 funds were mismanaged. We were in this country and within two (2) weeks, government provided foo to a few people, and within just two weeks, ... government told us they spent 54million, clearly unrealistic and all these were clearly corrupt," he said this morning on the show.
Interestingly, it is worth knowing that, the Frontiers Healthcare Services accrued as much as $16.2 million from Covid-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) between September and December 2020, whereas the Ghana Airport Company Limited received $1,167,300 for the same period as royalties accruing from the Covid-19 testing.
This, was according to the Transport Minister Kwaku Asiamah, who addressed Parliament, whiles responding to questions on the floor of the House, he explained that the agreement between the Ghana Airport Company (GACL) and Frontiers Healthcare Services is such that GACL makes $10 out of the $150 charged for every test, while the rest ($140) goes to the Frontiers Healthcare Services.
“So the Frontier Health Service share was $140 while Ghana Airport Company’s share was 10 dollars. Mr Speaker, I want to inform this August House that from September to December 2020, the total amount realised from the Covid-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport was $17,359,500 and further reiterated that the only parties involved in the concession agreement were the Frontiers Healthcare Services and the Ghana Airport Limited."
The National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Hon. Rockson Dafeamekpor who was reacting to this whiles speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story had said the Minister’s explanations have exposed the rot contained in the agreement, “It’s a transaction that reveals an obscene thinking into signing this,” he had noted then.
He had stressed that, “You don’t enter into a transaction that gives about 85% of profit to an entity and you take 10% when indeed there are other state entities that were capable of offering the service. It means we’re simply throwing money away.”
According to Rockson Dafeamekpor, government’s description of the paltry sum being received as royalties “is a misnomer.”
“Go and look for the meaning of royalty. It’s a misnomer but because somebody thinks that they must label it so to bamboozle all of us. They’re simply giving the service to someone who’s aligned with government to run. We have offered space, very expensive space at the airport that’s why I asked that airport spaces are leased on per square basis so how many per square meter space are they occupying at the airport to determine the rent and to determine whether or not what is coming to government is accurate. He couldn’t say it,” he had stressed.
Edem Agbana's assertions, may have also been corroborated weeks earlier, by the Community Development Alliance (CDA) report's, which gained viral recognition titled "Covid-19 Corruption Risk Assessment Report, which predicted that, "the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Ghana has created conditions in which corruption could flourish."
It indicated that the common cliché “We are not in normal times” by government officials served as an excuse to circumvent procurement regulations which heightened the corruption risk associated with governments response to fighting the pandemic.
The assessment undertaken with support from the Commonwealth Foundation and launched by Mr Salifu Issifu Kanton, Executive Director for CDA,, said the risk of irregular procurement amidst the pandemic had the potential to prolong the negative effects of the pandemic on the lives of the poor and vulnerable populations in Ghana
“An Anti-Corruption tracker published on the website of Transparency International has flagged Ghana as one of the high corruption risk countries which have failed to put in place anti-corruption measures as part of the COVID-19 financial assistance and debt relief from the IMF,” he had said .
He said the assessment which was carried out in March and April this year, was based on the review of the background documentation of a national legal documentation for legal framework for public procurement with focused on integrity related issues.
The assessment found out that Ghana had accessed and utilized a total of GHS 12.4 billion from sources such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ghana Stabilization Fund, Contingency Fund of the Stabilization Fund, Ghana Heritage Fund, Ghana Exim Bank and the COVID-19 Trust fund.
The IMF for instance released 1 billon dollars to the Government of Ghana to address fiscal and balance of payment needs. The World Bank firstly released 35 million dollars to fund the pandemic containment initiatives, such as; case detection, confirmation, contact tracing, recording, containment, isolation and treatment, social and financial support to households, health system strengthening and community engagement and risk communication among others.
On a second released, the world bank again made available 65 million dollars to support critical activities such as laboratory equipment and chemicals, essential medical equipment and supplies, including test kits and PPEs,
The Ghana Stabilization Fund also gave Ghana government an excess fund of GHS 1.25 billion to fund the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).
Ghana Exim Bank had gave out a 10 million dollar loan to produce emergency PPE gear , while the Ghana COVID -19 Trust Fund presented 9.8 million dollars to assist the poor and vulnerable.
It said the utilization of these funds under project risk irregular procurement practices could point to substantial breaches of anti-corruption laws, regulations and best practices.
“For instance contracts forwarded to four Ghanaian garment manufacturing companies which had been given loans of 10 million dollars through the Ghana Exim Bank to produce PPEs, face masks , medical scrubs , hospital gowns and head gears was without tender , the companies selected were also not registered with the Public Procurement Authority at the time of contract award,” it said.
The Covid-19 Corruption Risk Assessment Report however recommends that the government publishes all public contracts through open and competitive bidding.
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