The claim by President John Dramani during the recent BBC interview that he does not dabble in the procurement process and that, it is the preserve of the technocrats, has come under strong scrutiny.
On Sunday, this week, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) issued a press statement challenging the president to come clean to the people, on whether claims he made in the United Kingdom last week can stand scrutiny.
The party cited six examples where the President’s involvement in the contract process was not in doubt.
The opposition party mentioned the sole-sourced Nation Single Window contract for West Blue, The GHC3.6 million Smarttys bus branding scandal, The $88 million Embraer Jet scandal, The $10 billion STX scandal, $600m worth of contracts with shady Queiroz Galvao and The secret, illegal lodging of $250m in UBA.
With regards to the sole-sourced Nation Single Window contract for West Blue, which the NPP mentioned in the said press statement, The Chronicle has sighted a copy of the letter written from the office of the President, directing the Finance Minister to award the contract to West Blue, contrary to his BBC interview that he does not involve himself in any procurement process.
“Exactly a year ago to the day he granted the BBC interview, the President, through a letter signed by his Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, personally and directly instructed the Minister of Finance ‘to formally engage West Blue Ghana Limited’, without any competitive tender.
This was the contract for the implementation of the National Single Window for the inspection of goods at the ports. This contract is estimated to be worth more than $300 million over the next five year,” the NPP argued in its statement.
The said letter, which had been sighted by The Chronicle and meant for the Finance Minister reads: I refer to this office’s letter to you dated 9th April 2015 with Reference No. SCRA.14/124 with the subject matter: “Maiden Meeting of the National Window and Risk Management Committee.
The said letter conveyed to you H.E. the President’s acceptance in entirety the recommendations of the Ministry of Finance on the way forward for the establishment of the National Single Window Project. In pursuant to H.E. the President’s decision to formally engage West Blue Ghana Limited to undertake the following service:
2015.Software implementation and support activities to GRA and related agencies for takeover of the functions of the DIC’s on 1 September 2015.
2016.b) Contract needs Gap Analysis for the implementation of the National Single Window, and
2017.c) Implement the National Single Window Blue Print following the needs Gap Analysis.
You should take the necessary steps to secure the Public Procurement’s approval in order to engage West Blue on Single Source Basis.Your urgent action would be much appreciated.
Julius Debrah Cc: The Secretary to the President
Flagstaff House, Accra
Before this letter from the office of the President, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah had written to the Destination Inspection companies asking them to help the government pay the Bankswitch judgement debt in excess of GH197 million in exchange for contract at the sea ports.
Bankswitch Ghana dragged the government to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague after its contract was terminated by government and was subsequently awarded the huge judgement debt.
Dr. Spio Garbrah’s letter reads: “To pay this debt, government of Ghana is informing all destination inspection companies that any of them who can advance government of Ghana an amount of 35 million dollars would be awarded a contract of 0.35 percent of free on board values on all Ghana’s imports for at least a period of five years to enable that company recover its investments”.
The letter further stated that for the 0.35 percent FOB payment, any of the companies which make the 35 million dollar contribution will do relevant trade facilitation within the context of the National Single Window and work with West Blue on aspects of that exercise.
But before the companies could respond as to whether they can meet the demand or not, the aforementioned letter came from the office of the president, directing the Finance Minister to award the single window contract, based on sole sourcing to the West Blue.
An attempt to get government to respond to the latest development proved futile.
Source: The Chronicle