General News of Wednesday, 13 June 2018
The Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) has denied a publication in The Palaver newspaper claiming that the wife of New Patriotic Party (NPP) youth organizer, Sammy Awuku, has been granted suspicious contracts by the Authority.
In a rejoinder to the report, Executive Secretary of GFZA, Michael Okyere Baafi, said it was unfortunate that the Editor of the newspaper failed to verify the facts before going ahead with the publication.
“We have read with wonder, your newspaper publication with the above caption which at best is an absolute distortion of facts, or a plain and simple bid to cast a slur on the Executive Secretary of the GFZA and mischievously discredit his manner of steering the affairs of the GFZA,” Mr Baafi said in the rejoinder.
He has asked the Palaver newspaper to retract the publication and render an unqualified apology for the misleading publication.
Read the full rejoinder below in which Michael Okyere Baafi provides the facts of the matter.
REJOINDER ON PUBLICATION CAPTIONED: “SAMMY AWUKU’S WIFE GRABS JUICY FEEDING CONTRACT AT FREE ZONES BOARD”
Our attention has been drawn to a publication in your newspaper of the 12th of June, 2018 captioned “Sammy Awuku’s Wife Grabs Juicy Feeding Contract at Free Zones Board. It is unfortunate that your paper did not make any effort to verify the [facts].
We have read with wonder, your newspaper publication with the above caption which at best is an absolute distortion of facts, or a plain and simple bid to cast a slur on the Executive Secretary of the GFZA and mischievously discredit his manner of steering the affairs of the GFZA.
Much as there are other options open to Mr. Baafi, he has chosen to set the record straight with documentary evidence of the twisted ‘truths’ published in your newspaper. We trust that you will exhibit some level of honour in publishing this rejoinder with an equally screaming headline.
That Micheal Okyere Baafi has packaged a lucrative feeding contract for a company owned by Mary Awuku, the wife of NPP Youth Leader, Sammi (sic) Awuku.
A Management decision was taken to provide lunch for the staff of the GFZA. Accordingly, a number of caterers were sourced who bid to provide the service and due process was followed in determining the four most competitive of caterers provide the service on rotational bi-weekly basis.
A Food Committee was constituted, made up of representatives of GFZA Staff Welfare Association who drew up a criteria for evaluating proposals received from the caterers and handled the entire process. JAESM Catering Services, of which Mrs.
Mary Awuku is associated, did indeed put in a bid and ranked third after evaluation. Contracts were consequently signed in April 2017 between the GFZA and the four catering services who ranked tops in the evaluation process.
Suffice it to say that from April 2017 when the provision of lunch was instituted, JAESM Catering provided the said services for a total of four weeks based on the rotational timetable and served notice on the GFZA withdrawing their service beginning August, 2017. With that period, JAESM was paid a total amount of GHS15,764.00 for services provided. Ample documentation is available to substantiate these facts as provided to debunk your claim that procurement processes and laws were vandalized’ to debunk your claim that ‘procurement processes and laws were vandalized’.
Perhaps instead of imputing negative connotations in the form of political cronyism to a gesture that was primarily initiated with the GFZA’s employee’s interest at heart, the Palaver would have better served their image by verifying the information.
That Ghana Palaver has also gathered that the Executive Secretary has significantly swelled the number of employees of the GFZA from 80 in January 2017 to 140 currently….”
Upon assumption of duty of the new management, a re-structuring and re-alignment of the GFZA was carried to fit the new strategic direction of the Authority. This included expansion and opening of regional offices in the Western and Ashanti Regions of the Country to cater for free zone enterprises in the western, middle and northern zones of the country. To this end, staff had to be recruited to taking care of staffing needs of the regional offices. Due process was followed and the basis of all appointments were the qualifications that were fit for purpose.
We hereby request that the Palaver newspaper retracts the publication and renders an unqualified apology for the misleading publication.
MICHAEL OKYERE BAAFI