Massive corruption outbreak in Akufo-Addo’s government

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The list of corrupt cases involving appointees of the Akufo-Addo government, is growing by the day, with the latest being the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Emmanuel Sin-Nyet Asigri, caught in the procurement malpractices web.

He has since being sent packing from the NYA by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, after a crunch meeting last week Friday in the Office of the President which he and his board chairperson, Francisca Oteng Mensah, who doubles as the New Patriotic Party (NPP)Member of Parliament for the Kwabre East Constituency in the Ashanti Region, attended.

Emmanuel Sin-Nyet Asigri, according to The Herald’s sources, had awarded a multimillion Ghana cedi contract to a company; Prefos Ghana Limited owned by his friend on “Single Source Procurement Method” and made part-payment without the board approval, having failed to submit budget details.

Interestingly, it has been established that an amount of GHC1. 810 million out of over GHC11, 750 million was paid to Prefos Limited by Sin-NyetAsigri on March 4, 2019.

The contract was to train some young people selected from some 254 district assemblies across the country to be able to install streetlights and also repair.

The board had approve the project, but had not approve the budget and payment for the transaction from its 5percent allocation it is currently receiving from the Common Fund for young development programme.

After dishing out the contract, The Herald is informed Sin-Nyet Asigri, had allegedly tried to use his contacts at the beleagued Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to give a retroactive approval to the contract after it was detected by the board and commenced an investigation into the transaction, but the PPA through a letter dated June 20, 2019, kicked him out and decided to probe the deal instead.

The suspended PPA boss, Adjeinim Boateng Adjei, had in a letter titled “Re: Request for ratification for use single source procurement method” addressed to Emmanuel Sin-NyetAsigri stated “Your letter No. NYA/PPA/VOL.3/76 of 27th May, 2019 requesting for ratification of your use of the Single Source Procurement Method to engage Prefos Ltd for the training of five hundred (500) young people in the areas of streetlight installation, maintenance and repairs refers.”

“At the Board Technical Committee Meeting No.27 (027/2019) held on Wednesday, 19th June 2019, the Board noted the content of your request and decided that, a team of investigators from the PPA should be assigned to your firm to investigate the circumstances that gave you cause to undertake the procurement activity without prior approval of the PPA to enable us to process your application”.

The board, as far back as March 28, 2019, discussed the contract after detecting some breaches and fraud in the transaction and raised alarm.

The board demanded some document from the management of the Authority led by Sin-NyetAsigri with Bright Acheampong, Deputy in-charge of Programmes and Operations with Rocky Obeng, Deputy in-Charge of Finance and Administration.

The Herald’s findings are that, two committees on the board; legal and finance were task to jointly investigate the issue and submit to the board. While the Legal Committee was led by one Lawyer Dennis Owusu-Appiah Ofosuapea, the Finance Committee was led by Mustapha Ussif, who is the National Service Scheme (NSS) boss.

On March 28, 2019, when it became clear that Sin-NyetAsigri, was not forthcoming with documents and on transaction, Mr Ofosuapea, at a Board meeting asked the CEO to inform the board about the kind of information and supporting documents he had, concerning the requests by the committee.

The board minutes available to The Herald also captures the NSS boss, as rehashing “the specific documents the Committee needed to finalize on the work”.

The documents, include the MOU on the streetlight training, Evidence of registration of the training center, Breakdown of the cost, the specific motorbike as has been projected by management and all documentations on the step (i.e training provider etc).

Mr Ofosuapea, is captured again to have asked for the source documents that informed the various project estimates.

This paper is informed that on the day Sin-Nyet Asigri, was billed to meet the committee with the documents, he rather dispatched one of his deputy to the meeting, but he could not produce the expected items.

A report detailing the alleged breaches and fraud, was eventually compiled and submitted to the board for action, but as the board was delaying in making a decision, petitions were sent to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Chief of Staff, the Ministry of Youth and Sports among others.

Following this, a meeting was called by the Chief of Staff last Friday where Sin-Nyet Asigri was told to resign, but it is, however, unclear if the government is instituting a full scale investigations into the matter and for a criminal prosecution if some culpability is established.

The Herald is informed that Sin-Nyet Asigri’s conduct is what led to the resignation of Arnold Boateng, one of the board members recently citing “real issues” at the Authority.

The pro-NPP New Statesman newspaper with ties to the presidency last Saturday reported that the resignations of Arnold Boateng and Sin-NyetAsigri, follows a petition brought to the attention of Chief of Staff regarding a questionable procurement procedure which thePPA has been called in to investigate.

The Chief of Staff summoned the chairperson and the CEO of the NYA to her office last week but both were out of town. An official letter was sent to them to appear yesterday (Friday August 30), which both of them did.

The meeting was also attended by Deputy Chief of Staff Samuel Abu Jinapor.

The NYA chair, Francisca Oteng, confirmed one procurement in which the CEO had allegedly breached procedures, awarding the said contract without the knowledge of the board.

This matter was referred to the PPA last month to investigate. The PPA assigned a team of investigators to gather information on it.

The NYA board acted following receipt of a petition from one Ibrahim Ofori alleging corruption relating to procurement. The board met to confer on the matter on July 2 2019.

The NYA chair followed this up with a letter to the Minister of Youth and Sports on July 10.

In contention is the procurement method used to engage Prefos Ltd for training 500 young people o install, maintain and repair streetlights. The value of the procurement in question is GHS4.5 million.

The Daily Statesman also understands that the matter has been reported to National Security.

Security officials will look to the PPA investigation to determine whether the matter should be reported to the Ghana Police Service’s Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation.

From the board minutes it was clear that members were concerned about the issues as several paragraphs were dedicated to it with various members demanding documents upon documents on the transaction.

The Herald noted that Mr Boateng at March 28, 2019, board meeting, had also demanded for copies of the MOU between COTVET, NYA and NBSSI on the training programme.

He further asked for the list of various modules, how the prospective trainees will be selected, the certification process and the mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation.

Another board member Joshua Gmayenaam Makubu, also drew the board’s attention to the fact the first quarter of the year was almost exhausted. He therefore called for a fast tracked process for the committee to finish its work, for the necessary approval process to go through for management to carry out its expected action.

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