The New Patriotic Party (NPP) yesterday alleged a dubious deal between the government of Ghana and waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited.
At a press conference in Accra, Policy Advisor to the party, Boakye Agyarko, made shocking revelations of how the government and for that matter, President John Mahama, has committed to pay a whopping GH¢448,150,762 (GH¢448.2 million) purported to be management service fees to the company, although there is no contractual agreement with the State.
Already, an amount of GH¢62 million is alleged to have been paid to the company, raising eyebrows, while cabinet has reportedly given the green light for 10% of the District Assembly Common Fund allocated to the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) to be used to pay 45,000 workers who are actually on the payrolls of the various district assemblies.
Mr Boakye Agyarko quoted a letter dated November 29, 2013, signed by the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, addressed to the CEO of Zoomlion and copied to the Chief of Staff, the Attorney General and the Executive Director of GYEEDA at the time, Kobby Acheampong which sought to suspend payment of the contracts on the ICT and Sanitation modules.
“In his May 2016 memo to Cabinet, Minister of State Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah made it clear that the GH¢448m that the NDC has prioritized payment for Zoomlion now is for a period that the sanitation company had no contract with the state. In fact, the Minister said in the memo that the Executive Chairman of Zoomlion Ltd admitted in a meeting with the Committee that Zoomlion’s two-year renewable contract, which began in 2006, was not renewed in 2013,” he said.
Mr Afriyie-Ankrah was said to have indicated that “he confirmed to the meeting that payment had not been made for services rendered from 2013 to 2015 (i.e. the period for which a binding contract did not exist between the company and the State).”
The memo further informed Cabinet that the Board of YEA was looking at a payment plan “to offset the indebtedness to Zoomlion by using the 10% allocation disbursed to it under the Regulation of the National Youth Agency by the DACF.”
Since then, the Youth Employment Agency has been instructed to, as it were, “take all necessary steps to ratify the sanitation contract for 2013-2015 [that never existed]” and to go ahead and negotiate and sign a value for money contract for 2015-2017.”
Cabinet has also given the go-ahead for “YEA Board’s decision to allow the District Assemblies Common Fund to continue to service the debt owed Zoomlion by using part of the 10% allocation made to it under the new YEA Regulation 2016 to amortise the accumulated debt due Zoomlion Ltd.”
In effect, the NPP chieftain recounted, “The public was told after the ministerial committee report on GYEEDA in 2013 that the contract had been terminated.”
Mr Agyarko commented: “This pre-election decision to pay off GH¢448 million demonstrates that the associated presidential directives were a lie.”
Interestingly, sometime in August this year, President Mahama issued a number of directives regarding corruption and blatant reported misappropriation of public funds at GYEEDA.
He directed the scheme to place a moratorium on the creation of new modules; suspend all payments on GYEEDA contracts; secure refund of all monies wrongfully paid to or misappropriated by any individual or company; undertake a complete review of all GYEEDA modules and accompanying contracts to ensure value for money and cancel all contracts that do not stand the value for money test.
Mr Agyarko, a former Vice President of the Bank of New York, quizzed, “Why should Ghanaians be saddled with a debt to the tune of GH¢448 million when both the government and Zoomlion admit that there was no contract to that effect?”
He and the NPP consider this as just another creative means of resurrecting a scheme created in the mode of what he described as “bogus judgment debts.”
“We wish to remind President Mahama that Ghanaians will not just sit idly for him to recreate that huge record budget deficit of 12% in the 2012 election year, which completely dislocated the economy and the country is yet to recover from after a whole four years,” Mr Boakye Agyarko declared.
Elections are not a do-and-die affair for which reason he (Mahama) would run the country into bankruptcy in a desperate pursuit to buy votes and to create, loot and share, he insisted.