The Deputy Procurement Officer of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Araba Kudiabor, has admitted her outfit’s guilt for by-passing the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to procure 10 Great Wall Hovers vehicles through sole-sourcing at a total cost of GH¢546,000 for the GHS .
The Service also bought 332 Pick-up vehicles valued at GH¢10.4 million without tender and spent GH¢1.4 million on condoms.
However, DAILY GUIDE learnt that the condoms were even rejected by the Ministry of Health because they were almost expired.
The revelations, contained in the Auditor-General’s 2011 report, indicated that the Health Service handpicked its preferred supplier – Auto-World Ltd – without obtaining approval from the Public Procurement Authority.
The auditors observed that if the GHS wanted to adopt sole-sourcing and skip the legal requirement to advertise for companies to express interest, it should have sought permission to do so.
The audit report noted that the 332 Great Wall Pick-ups were obtained on hire purchase at GH¢10.4 million and 10 Great Hovers at more than GH¢530,000. Another company was also selected to supply condoms valued at more than GH¢1 million without following the law.
Answering queries on the procurements at yesterday’s sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Ms Araba Kudiabor said it was an emergency situation and apologised to the Committee for that infraction.
Again, two procurements of male condoms at the cost of GH¢1,450,000 did not go through tender nor the Public Procurement Authority, which the Director-General of the Ghana Health Services, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, said constituted serious infraction and therefore referred the matter to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for investigation.
The Procurement Unit of the GHS was also faulted for engaging insurance brokers without prior approval by the PPA, which committed the GHS to annual insurance premium of GH¢321,867 for 325 vehicles that were insured.
The Deputy Procurement Officer also admitted guilt in that transaction and apologised to the Committee.
The chairman of the Committee, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, and the vice chairman, Samuel Atta Akyea, were not happy at the serious infractions by the Procurement Unit of the GHS and said the Committee would not hesitate to make recommendations to the Attorney-General to start prosecuting public officers who are implicated by the Auditor-General’s report.
According to them, there were so many cases of supply of sub-standard drugs and sole-sourcing at the GHS which the Committee took serious exception to, especially when the health of Ghanaians is concerned.
According to Atta Akyea, Section 92 of Act 663 is very explicit that any officer who is found to have breached the Procurement Act could be convicted to summary sentence of 1,000 penalty units or five years’ imprisonment or both.
He cautioned procurement officers in public service to have that at the back of their minds when conducting business on behalf of the state.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr