The Fourth Estate petitions OSP to investigate GHS84m Wi-Fi contract

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The Fourth Estate has petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to investigate the Ministry of Education and Lifted Logistics (formerly Busy Internet) for possible corruption and procurement breaches in the award of an GHS84 million contract to provide internet connectivity to educational institutions across the country.

The petition, submitted by Evans Aziamor-Mensah of The Fourth Estate on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, is on the back of his investigations which revealed that at the time the contract was awarded, Busy Internet owed the state GHS17 million in taxes and Social Security and National Insurance Trust being payments from December 2018 to 2022, making it ineligible to bid for or be awarded any government contract.

Busy Internet was awarded the contract on a sole-source basis, with an agreement to be paid GHS6.3 million by the government every month for internet services for five years.

The Ministry of Education paid Busy Internet GHS63.7 million between 2020 and 2022 and an additional GHS56 million between January and September 2023, for its services at a time when some of these schools had no internet service.

In May 2023, the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) approved an increment in the monthly recurrent expenditure from GHS6.3 million to GHS11.5 million. The PPA transferred the contract from Busy Internet to Lifted Logistics which was not a licensed Internet service provider then.

It has also since been revealed by Member of Parliament for Builsa South and ranking member of the  Education Committee in Parliament, Dr Clement Apaak, that the contract was awarded without parliamentary approval.

“I filed series of questions to the Minister for Education seeking information regarding this policy… these questions were filed in 2021, and I am yet to get responses from the Minister or his representative.

“And the reason why I filed those questions was because as a member of the education committee, we had not seen a contract, we didn’t know the company that government had awarded the contract to, we didn’t know the terms and conditions of that contract, we didn’t know the processes by which the selected company or companies were awarded the contract,” he revealed on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM on Monday, June 10, 2024.

The OSP acknowledged the petition, stating: “Thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of the Office of the Special Prosecutor. We take such reports very seriously. Your complaint will be forwarded to the Special Prosecutor’s secretariat for the necessary action and response.”

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