The Member of Parliament for Pru East, Dr Kwabena Donkor, was boiling with rage on the floor of parliament.
He is the ranking member of the Employment and Labour Relations Committee of Parliament and had sighted a breakdown of payments made to beneficiaries of the Sanitation Module of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA).
He was shocked at the fact that the government of Ghana, through the YEA, paid Zoomlion Ghana Limited GH₵ 600 per person per month, but the company paid each worker GH₵ 180 and kept the rest of the GH₵ 420 as management and logistics fees.
He said it was an injustice being done to the poor women who swept the markets and streets and asked parliament to have a look at it.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban S.K. Bagbin, directed the Employment and Labour Relations Committee, to investigate the matter and report to the House in February 2022.
Here is the video of Dr Kwabena Donkor’s submission:
Background of Contract fraught with allegations of Fraud
The anomalies with this contract were first revealed in 2013 by Manasseh Azure Awuni in the GYEEDA Corruption Scandal.
The contract was being renewed every two years. The 2011 to 2013 contract expired in February 2013.
Within the period, the government of Ghana investigative committee, which probed the scandal after Manasseh’s investigations found the contract to have been inflated by at least GH₵ 74 million (or 21 million US dollars at the time). The committee recommended discontinuation of the contract but the government did not act on the findings.
The Akufo-Addo-led NPP criticized the contract in opposition but in government, they extended it without addressing the malfeasance they criticised.
Between March 2013 and February 2019, that deal cost the nation GH₵ 1.62 billion (or $400million) without any written agreement or approval from the Public Procurement Authority.
Before the terms of the contract were changed slightly after 2019, the government was paying Zoomlion GH₵500 a month, and the company paid the sweepers GH₵ 100 and kept GH₵ 400 as management fees.
GYEEDA was investigated.
The GYEEDA investigative Committee asked for a breakdown of the management fees in 2013 and after analysing the figures, the Committee came up with the following in its report.
On page 131 of the GYEEDA Report that got Abuga Pele and Philip Assibit jailed, the Committee made adverse findings on Zoomlion’s contract. This is what the committee said:
“A schedule provided by Zoomlion to support the amount of management fees raises serious value for money issues. We have analyzed below a few of the cost lines within the schedule to reveal the significant windfall profits that Zoomlion is making. In the schedule that Zoomlion provided, Zoomlion suggests that at a management fee rate of GH₵400, it is making a loss of circa GHS18 per beneficiary. Aside being illogical, this claim is also inaccurate and deceptive.
“By Zoomlion’s own admission, the cost of a fully fitted tricycle is GH₵1,200 and they are replaced every two years. The total number of tricycles in circulation is less than 10,000 (about 6,000). Even assuming 10,000 tricycles, Zoomlion requires only GHS12m every two years to replace them but charges the MOYS GH₵37.5 million, an excess of over GH₵25.5m”
“By Zoomlion’s own admission, the tricycles are robust and hardly breakdown yet MOYS pays GH₵22.82m over the term of the contract to repair them. The cost of repair is almost double the cost of purchase. This is inappropriate.”
“Zoomlion suggests that it buys motorbikes for its supervisors (numbering about 600) and replaces them every two years. Zoomlion suggests that the cost of a motorbike is circa GH1500, meaning that Zoomlion requires GHS900K to replace them every two years. MOYS however pays GH₵49.64m over the two years period for motorbikes. This is an overcharge of circa GH₵48.7m.”
Despite these findings, no attempt was made to retrieve the monies or prosecute the government officials and private sector players that were responsible for these amounts.
The Akufo-Addo administration campaigned on the scandal but continued with the contracts when it won power in December 2016.
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