A corruption risk assessment report by the Community Development Alliance (CDA-Ghana) and the Commonwealth Foundation, has cited the Akufo-Addo led government for spending over US$2.1 billion COVID-19 money on corrupt deals.
The report titled ‘Strengthening COVID-19 Accountability Mechanisms (SCAM)’ and sighted by Starrfm.com.gh questions the number of deals by Ghana’s government when the nation recorded its first two cases of Coronavirus in March 2020.
According to the report, the “Government of Ghana has accessed and utilized GH¢12,440,710,000 ($2,144,950,000) from sources such as the World Bank, IMF, Ghana Stabilization Fund, Contingency Fund of the Stabilization Fund, Ghana Heritage Fund, Ghana Exim Bank and the COVID-19 Trust Fund set up by the government.”
The reports state that investigations conducted revealed that there were several irregular procurements in several of the contracts awarded.
“Contract awarded to four Ghanaian garment manufacturing companies who had been given loans of $10m through the Ghana Exim Bank to produce PPEs, face masks, medical scrubs, hospital gowns and headgears was without tender and the companies had been selected. The companies were also not registered with the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) at the time of contract award.”
The report added “that a $1m contract awarded to develop the COVID-19 tracker app to two foreign companies namely iQuent Technologies and Ascend Digital Solutions (registered in Jersey, a tax haven) was irregular.
The two companies were not legal persons in Ghana at the time of contract award, were not registered with the PPA, and did not go through tender.
“Contracts worth GH¢60m for fumigation services and logistics such as sanitisers, masks, dustbins, cleaning kits etc to all districts by the Ministry of Local Government from its allocation under the District Assemblies Common Fund for the 2020 fiscal year was mostly without tenders.
“Contract awarded to Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited to conduct Covid-19 antigen tests at the Kotoka International Airport was without tender, the company was not registered with PPA and unlicensed by the health facilities regulator, HEFRA.
“Contract for the supply of 18,000 Veronica Buckets; 800,000 pieces of 200-millilitre sanitisers; 36,000 rolls of tissue paper; 36,000 gallons of liquid soap and 7,200 thermometer guns distributed to schools were opaque and not tendered. It’s unclear who the suppliers were and how much was spent on this procurement.
“Contract for the provision of hot meals for 540,000 final students and teachers who sat for the 2020 WAS-SCE and BECE exams for three weeks was opaque, with no full disclosure of who were awarded these contracts, from which fund the contracts were awarded and whether the contracts went through the proper procurement processes.
“Contract for nation-wide disinfection and fumigation of over 464 markets was awarded to Zoomlion on a sole-source basis, in addition to another contract by the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service to disinfect and fumigate over 850 High Schools across Ghana and 3700 schools in the Greater Accra region.”
The corruption risk assessment was carried out between March to April 2021, based on a review of background documentation, including the national legal regulatory framework for public procurement, with a focus on integrity-related issues, official records in both electronic and hard copy formats, checks (formal enquiries) with state agencies, and interviews granted by governance and anti-corruption experts.
The report consists of two parts: “An assessment of corruption risks characteristic to COVID-19 public procurement, including mapping of integrity risk areas and recommended measures for integrity/corruption risks mitigation.