2.1bn dollars COVID-19 cash spent on shady deals – CDA report

A group called Community Development Alliance (CDA) has accused the government of procurement breaches in the allocation of COVID-19 contracts.

In its report on the corruption risks associated with public procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic carried out from March to April 2021, CDA noted that there were irregular procurement practices that violated the procurement laws.

The group also accused the government of corruption, indicating there were substantial breaches of anti-corruption laws, regulations, codes and international conventions and best practices.

The report said the government accessed and utilised GHS12,440,710,000 ($2,144,950,000) from sources such as the World Bank, IMF, Ghana Stabilisation Fund, Contingency Fund of the Stabilisation Fund, Ghana Heritage Fund, Ghana Exim Bank and the Covid-19 Trust Fund set up by the government.

It noted that a contract awarded to four Ghanaian garment manufacturing companies (which the report alleged had been given loans of $10 million through the Ghana Exim Bank to produce Personal Protective Equipment, face masks, medical scrubs, hospital gowns and headgears) was without tender and the companies had been handpicked.

“The companies were also not registered with the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) at the time of contract award,” CDA stated in its report.

The report further accused the government of other corrupt acts such as:

• A $1million 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 time of contract award, were not registered with the PPA, and did not go through tender.

• Contracts worth GH¢60million 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 provision of hot meals for 540,000 final students and teachers who sat for the 2020 WASSCE 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.



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