CWatch reflections: Non-performing and corrupt contractors need to be blacklisted.

Imagine this, if you will. A company is given taxpayers’ money to construct a hospital, which should provide healthcare services; or a road for your safe travel; or a school for the training of our children. What happens next? The company either fails to deliver or does a substandard job. Your response I guess will be that they should be sanctioned. Isn’t it? But guess what, the company gets away with it.

This happens more often than not in Ghana and the fix is to blacklist the company but Public Procurement Authority (PPA), appear to be sleeping on the job when it comes to contract monitoring. The PPA does not have its own compiled list of debarred or blacklisted contractors in spite of advertising it on its website through a drop-down menu. 

Instead, the PPA link directs you to a link containing a list of companies debarred by the World Bank and its associates, which has only one Ghanaian company and one Ghanaian individual. Our check with the World Bank shows that if a company or individual is on that list, they cannot perform a contract financed by the World Bank for the period of the debarment. 

However, the big question is: What if the contract executed is fully funded by the Government of Ghana. This is where the PPA comes in because the legal basis for debarring contractors is in Section 3 (q) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).

The law states that “investigate and debar from procurement practice under this Act, suppliers, contractors and consultants who have seriously neglected their obligations under a public procurement contract, have provided false information about their qualifications, or offered inducements of the kind referred to in section 32.”

Indeed, when Ghana signed onto the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2011, one of the key commitments was about blacklisting contractors. In an assessment report, the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) writes regarding blacklisting contractors as follows: “It was difficult assessing this commitment. The Public Investment Division (PID) of Ministry of Finance, (MoF) does not deal directly with contractors and as such cannot blacklist and debar contractors… The institution capable of blacklisting contractors is the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) who is in charge of all procurement for state institutions.”

Meanwhile, it is common knowledge that the Minister for Roads and Highways, Mr. Kwasi Amoako-Atta, has been threatening since 2017 to blacklist contractors. 

Corruption Watch checks showed that no concrete step has been taken or is being taken by the Ministry beyond the Minister issuing threats. 

On the other hand, the Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo is reported to have said in February 2018 that her ministry was developing a database for contractors, consultants and suppliers who bid for government contracts, as well as develop software that will assess the performance of all such contractors. She reportedly added that contractors that appeared to meet the performance criterion would be motivated with more contracts while those who fail will be blacklisted.

To conclude, let me take you back to that list of companies debarred by the World Bank and its associates. Who is on that list from Ghana? Ms. Ohenewa Akosua Nyarku and her company Spring Empire Contracts. They are counted separately so we have two for Ghana. 

They got on this list essentially for allegedly misrepresenting facts about clients that the company had served prior to applying to execute a contract under a project in Ghana financed by the AfDB. Both Ms Akosua Nyarku and the company did not appeal against the decision to debar them.

Consequently, the World Bank has debarred the individual and the company permanently, effective April 9, 2018. 

Source: Frederick Asiamah

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