Akufo-Addo must fire Zongo Development Fund CEO over alleged procurement breaches – Edward Bawa

A member of Parliament’s Poverty Reduction Committee is calling for the arrest of Chief Executive for the Zongo Development Fund over alleged procurement breaches.

Edward Bawa also wants investigation into Arafat Sulemana Abdulai’s tenure at the Fund.

The MP’s call comes in the wake of a Corruption Watch investigation which uncovered that the Fund, headed by Arafat Sulemana Abdulai, engaged in malpractices in the purchase of goods, services and works worth ¢5 million.

The management of ZoDF allegedly superintended procurement breaches such as inflation of contract figures and breaching of entity head’s threshold.

Corruption Watch established that ¢200,000 of the ¢5 million was spent on a contract for personal protective equipment for Covid-19.

Chief Executive Officer of the Fund conceded in an interview with Corruption Watch that he “went beyond” his threshold in the approval of the ¢200,000 contract for Covid-19 PPEs.

But the MP has urged President Akufo-Addo to fire Mr Sulemana Abdulai over the incontestable evidence gathered by Corruption Watch to show his much commitment to rid the country of the corruption under his administration.

“There is clear evidence that some of the items that were procured were above market prices. With all this even if the Minister incharge of that sector isn’t acting, the president must be acting now,” he said.

Acknowledging the need for the laws to be applied, the Member of Parliament for Bongo explained that “the person should have been out of office, handed to the state security to investigate and timelines given for the findings. And based on the findings, the Attotney General can take a decision to prosecute.

Edward Bawa also indicated that the alleged misapplication of the fund by the CEO is a disappointment to residents in Zongo communities across the country.

“If you have a situation where GHS5 million has been misappropriated and all laws associated with the expenditure of such monies have been broken and there is an admission by the CEO of the fund that yes he is aware that the procurement laws that govern the expenditure of such monies were breached and the person is still in office and has not been handed over to the police for investigation, then this is a slap in the face of people who live in the Zongos,” he said.

The MP is of the view that the Minister for Inner-Cities and Zongo Development should have stated its position on the matter.

Sulemana Abdulai, as the “head of entity” of ZoDF, per the Public Procurement Amendment Act, 2016 (Act 914) is permitted to approve procurements that are worth ¢100,000 and below.

The procurement of the Covid-19 related items, namely bottles of sanitiser, bottles of liquid soap and bundles of nose masks is one of the major transactions he has overseen.

The contract was awarded to Focus Women Network on March 25, for ¢200,000 after which Sulemana Abdulai wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to request for ratification of the contract because he had breached his permissible threshold as head of entity.

Speaking to JoyNews, Edward Bawa also raised suspicion that many assemblies across the country have used Covid-19 as an excuse to shortchange the country.

“All the district assemblies were given GHS166,000 and a second batch was GHS50,000 to buy some of these PPEs. Most of the district assemblies cannot account for this money,” he told Joseph Opoku Gakpo.

He further lamented that the unapproved expenditure was executed at the expense of the activities which may have gone a long way to improve the lives of dwellers in Zongo communities.

Source: Kenneth Awotwe Darko (myjoyonline.com)

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