Tuesday, 31 January

¢10.4m NDA rot: Freeze all A&QS payments under IPEP – SP to Controller-General

Business
The Special Prosecutor also directed that the three persons named in its report be prosecuted for breaching the Public Procurement Act

The Special Prosecutor (SP) has directed that payments under the implementation of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) be frozen.

This was contained in the SP’s report on the investigation of the private company Northern Development Authority (NDA) and A&Q’s Consortium Limited.

The SP has also directed that the three persons named in its report be prosecuted for breaching the Public Procurement Act.

The three include the Chief Executive of the NDA, Mr Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) of the NDA, Mr Stephen Yir-eru Engmen and Deputy Chief Executive (Finance & Administration), NDA, Mr Patrick Seidu.

The SP launched investigations into the matter interviewing 20 persons over a period of six months.

According to the findings: “The evidence points irresistibly to the fact that on 28 January 2020, NDA (represented by Dr Anamzoya) executed five (5) contracts respectively in favour of the five (5) procured consulting entities in accordance with the dictates of the 16 January 2020 PPA amended approval. And that in respect of A&QS, its contract was for the provision of consultancy services for specific projects under the IPEP in the eleven (11) constituencies in the Upper West Region at a total contract sum of Five Million Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand cedis (GHS5,720,000.00).

“From 28 January 2020, when Dr Anamzoya executed the contracts, to 31 March 2021, when his appointment was terminated, the relationship between NDA and A&QS was marked by some considerable turbulence, evidenced by the tone of correspondence between Dr Anamzoya and Mr Kuundaari. Though not actually stated in any of the letters, the tone of his responses to Dr Anamzoya’s queries pointed to a natural expression of displeasure on Mr Kuundaari’s part at the turn of events in respect of the very reduced would-have-been position of A&QS from forty-one (41) to eleven (11) constituencies.”

It further noted that: “The contracts executed by NDA and the four (4) other consulting entities were recovered and examined during the investigation. The provisions of the four (4) contracts match and tally with the PPA approval of 16 January 2020. Only the document produced and relied upon by Mr Abdul-Rahman, Mr Engmen, Mr Seidu, and Mr Kuundaari as the contract executed between NDA and A&QS deviated, in a very wide manner, from the PPA approval of 16 January

“Then again, the payment schedule in the document produced and relied upon by the four (4) men differs considerably from the payment schedules of the contracts between NDA and the four (4) other consulting entities – while the four (4) other payment schedules show consistency and similarity.

“Mr Abdul-Rahman, Mr Engmen, Mr Seidu, and Mr Kuundaari intended their actions to, and their actions did in fact, directly or indirectly influence the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage to A&QS in the procurement for consultants by NDA under the IPEP by increasing the approved procurement total contract sum of Five Million Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand cedis (GHS5,720,000.00) by an amount of Four Million Six Hundred and Eighty Thousand cedis (GHS4,680,000.00) to an amount of Ten Million Four Hundred Thousand cedis (GHS10,400,000.00) without lawful authority.

It continued that: “Mr Abdul-Rahman, Mr Engmen, and Mr Seidu intended their actions to, and their actions did in fact, directly or indirectly influence the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage to A&QS in the procurement for consultants by NDA under the IPEP by pushing through and/or approving and/or contributing to approve and/or contributing to cause the approval for payment to A&QS two (2) invoices totalling Eight Million Three Hundred and TwentyEight Thousand cedis Eight Hundred and Forty cedis (GHS8,328,840.00) and exceeding the approved procurement total contract sum of Five Million Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand cedis (GHS5,720,000.00) by an amount of Two Million Six Hundred and Eight Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty cedis (GHS2,608,840.00) with a further outstanding amount of Two Million SeventyOne Thousand One Hundred and Sixty cedis (GHS2,071,160.00), without lawful authority.”

The report also noted: “Mr Kuundaari intended his actions to, and his actions did, in fact, directly and indirectly, influence the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage to A&QS in the procurement for consultants by NDA for consultants under the IPEP by knowingly submitting invoices on behalf of A&QS in excess of the approved procurement total contract sum of Five Million Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand cedis (GHS5,720,000.00) by an amount of Four Million Six Hundred and Eighty Thousand cedis (GHS4,680,000.00), and he succeeded in securing approval for the payment of Eight Million Three Hundred and TwentyEight Thousand cedis Eight Hundred and Forty cedis (GHS8,328,840.00), which exceeds the approved procurement total contract sum by an amount of Two Million Six Hundred and Eight Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty cedis (GHS2,608,840.00) with a further outstanding amount of Two Million SeventyOne Thousand One Hundred and Sixty cedis (GHS2,071,160.00).”

While “Mr Engmen intended his actions to, and his actions did in fact, directly and indirectly, influence the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage to A&QS in the procurement for consultants by NDA for consultants under the IPEP by purporting, without lawful authority, to accept on behalf of NDA, an offer from A&QS for consultancy services for the design and supervision of construction infrastructure works and engineering services under the IPEP at a time when he was fully aware that NDA had not applied for PPA approval for the procurement of A&QS and PPA had not approved the procurement of A&QS by NDA.”

The SP has therefore directed that “the Controller and Accountant General to immediately freeze payments to A&QS under NDA’s implementation of the IPEP until the close of the investigation. While lifting the directive in principle, the Special Prosecutor advises all public officers in the approval chain to advert their minds to the tenor of the 16 January 2020 PPA approval for the procurement by NDA of A&QS and to ensure value for money.

It further directed “the criminal prosecution of the persons named” for respective breaches of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).

As part of its campaign promise to reduce poverty, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) initiated the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme.

The Ministry for Special Development Initiatives was created three development authorities – Coastal Belt Development Authority, Middle Belt Development Authority and Northern Development Authority, which replaced the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority.

The NDA was intended to mobilise resources for the accelerated economic and social development of the Northern Development Zone, comprising the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper West and Upper East Regions.

It has its headquarters in Tamale, Northern Region.

Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu requested the SP to investigate the operations of NDA and the actions of its Chief Executive and Board Chairman.

The Private legal practitioner alleged that NDA awarded a contract to A&QS Consortium Limited on Tuesday,28 January 2020 for consultancy services for the supervision of some constituencies in the Upper West Region under the IPEP for the sum of GHS5,720,000.00.

Upon the exit of the then Acting Chief Executive who executed the contract, the contract sum was illegally increased to GHS10,400,000.00 by the removal of the page containing the original figure of GHS5,720,000.00 and its replacement among other allegations.

Akufo-Addo sacks two deputies  

It came to light recently that President Nana Akufo-Addo sacked the two Deputy CEOs of the Northern Development Authority in late December 2022.

Mr Stephen Yir-engu Engmen was given his marching orders in a letter dated 21 December 2022.

A letter signed by the Chief of Staff, Ms Frema Osei-Opare, said Mr Yir-engu Engmen is expected to comprehensively hand over his duties and any official property to the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Development Authority before his departure.

“We wish to inform you that, H. E. the President has decided to terminate your appointment as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Development Authority with effect from 21st March 2023.”

Mr Yir-Eru Engmen has been in office since 2018.

He was sacked along with his fellow Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Northern Development Authority, Mr Patrick Seidu, effective Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

A letter from the Chief of Staff, Ms Frema Osei-Opare has asked Mr Seidu “to comprehensively hand over your duties and any official property in your custody to the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Development Authority before your departure.”

Ms Osei-Opare also noted: “We thank you for your services and we wish you the best in your future endeavours.”

 

 

Source: classfmonline.com/Elikem Adiku