Gov’t Descends On Azeem
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development says Vitus Azeem, a leading anti corruption campaigner and Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative is ignorant in respect of procurement laws in the country.
Mr. Azeem’s questioned the deal that allowed an Information Technology (IT) firm SUBAH Info-Solutions, which had already won a government contract, to have a sister company to supply motorbikes.
Some people have raised concerns about the activities of the IT firm and the sister company, Street Naming Company Ltd, all said to be owned by the Jospong Group of companies.
Street Naming Company Ltd won the contract to provide motorbikes and other office equipment for the national street naming exercise.
In the ensuing debate, Mr. Azeem suggested that there were some malpractices in the procurement process and questioned why government contract should be awarded to Subah Info-Solutions in the first place.
‘We should be concerned. When you register a company you state what you plan to do with the company,’ he insisted.
He added that the supply of logistics, including motorbikes, was not part of the advertised services by Subah Info-Solutions at the Registrar’s General Department.
‘People should be worried,’ he said.
The ministry subsequently issued a statement describing Mr. Azeem’s position as ‘as very regrettable,’ and added that ‘comments are sad to say the least.’
The statement signed by Isaac Dupey, Public Relations Officer of Ministry said, ‘It is sad that Mr. Azeem should question why Subah Info-Solutions should be awarded a contract because of alleged controversies surrounding the previous contract.’
‘How does that previous experience stop Subah from participating in any other contract? It must be noted that as far as the MLGRD is concerned Subah has not been disqualified by any law in Ghana from participating in the tender. Subah, as all other companies, bid on their own merit and won,” the statement said.
It asked Mr. Azeem and other anti-corruption agencies to ‘address themselves to the legal implications of their statements and do proper investigations into matters before they come public.’
Mr. Azeem, however, defended his earlier statements during Citi FM’s news analysis programme The Big Issue. He added that there was evidence to show there was no transparency in the award of the contract to Subah Info-Solutions.
‘I decided to check at the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) website. The only award of contracts for the procurement of motorcycles by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) were awarded to the Delovely Company Ltd in Accra. The contract was awarded in four batches to the tune of GH¢6,351,500.00 about the same amount that the motorcycles in the recent saga are reported to cost,’ he said.
He could not fathom why Subah Info-Solutions’ contract was not on the PPA website.
‘Does it mean there was no contract? Is it another possibility of a payment for no work done (goods supplied)?” he quizzed.
By William Yaw Owusu
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