PPA busts road contractor using fake certificate

A road contractor has accused the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) of wrongly suspending and blacklisting his company over a contract in which his company did not participate.

Chief Executive of Markyei Company Limited, Kofi Kyei Baffour has told Corruption Watch that his company did not bid for the three road contracts that the PPA cited in a suspension notice. 

Recently, Corruption Watch discovered that the Public Procurement Authority had “suspended and blacklisted” Markyei Company Limited “from participating in any government project or tender” in the country.

According to a notice published on the PPA’s website (https://ppa.gov.gh/) on September 22, 2021, the PPA has “suspended and blacklisted” Markyei Company Limited for a period of one year. 

The PPA notice stated that the sanctions commenced on August 11, 2021 and will last until close of business on August 11, 2022. 

According to the procurement ombudsman, it has suspended and blacklisted Markyei Company Limited for submitting “fake PPA Supplier registration certificate, in a tender by the Department of Feeder Roads (DFR) for resealing and upgrading of roads in the Kwahu East and South and Birim South District, Eastern Region.” 

According to the PPA, the company’s behaviour constitutes “A fraudulent action and an infringement of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended.”

The Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, (Act 914) prescribes the “Suspension of a supplier or consultant.” In Section 22A (1) (b), the PPA may suspend a supplier or consultant from engaging in any public procurement or disposal process for a period determined by the Board… “where it is determined after a special audit or by a court, that a tenderer is engaged in corrupt or fraudulent practices.”

September’s publication of the suspension and blacklisting of the contractor by the PPA was received as a positive development for the Republic of Ghana in view of commitments that the country made under the Open Government Partnership (OGP). 

However, Corruption Watch has discovered a bizarre twist to the story of the suspension and blacklisting of Markyei Company Limited.

In an interview with Corruption Watch, Chief Executive of Markyei Company Limited, Kofi Kyei Baffour claimed that an errand boy created and attached a “fake PPA Supplier registration certificate” to documents that he had presented for a contract at the Department of Feeder Roads. 

A PPA supplier registration certificate costs three hundred Ghana cedis (GHC300). 

Kyei Baffour reasons that because the errand boy committed the alleged act on his own volition, Markyei Company Limited should not bear the consequence. 

In addition, Kyei Baffour claims that his company did not even tender for the three contracts assigned to him in the PPA notice. Instead, his company tendered for a separate contract, which it won with the same “fake PPA Supplier registration certificate.” He said he is currently executing that project. 

He then accused officials of the Department of Feeder Roads for using his documents to support the award of a contract to another company without his prior consent. 

Kyei Baffour defended his company in an interview he granted to Corruption Watch on October 12, 2021. 

Corruption Watch interview with Kyei Baffour, Chief Executive of Markyei Company Limited

Meanwhile, a senior officer of the Department of Feeder Roads has denied the allegation that the Department used Markyei Company Limited’s documents to award a contract to a separate contractor. Instead, Markyei Company Limited was one of the companies listed in a letter written in July 2021 to seek permission from the PPA for a restricted tender for the resealing and upgrading of roads in the Kwahu East and South and Birim South District, Eastern Region.

However, the Department for Feeder Roads did not notify Kyei Baffour of the inclusion of his company on the list, according to the senior official. 

The senior official said as far as the department was concerned the PPA supplier certificate that Markyei presented was valid because it had not expired. The senior official admitted that the PPA had passed the same document earlier, leading to Markyei winning a tender to construct town roads in the Abuakwa North municipality. 

However, the PPA, which is the issuer of that particular document, found the copy on the file of Markyei to be fake. Thus, the Department defers to the PPA and upholds the suspension of the company. 

The senior official of the Department of Feeder Roads said the tender for resealing and upgrading of roads in the Kwahu East and South and Birim South District has been put on hold because of the suspension of Markyei. He said the department would submit to the PPA a revised list of companies for the restricted tender.

Information on a copy of the said PPA supplier certificate, which is in the possession of Corruption Watch, shows that the alleged “fake” certificate was issued on November 30, 2020 and would expire on November 30, 2021. The document bears the signature of A.B. Adjei, whom President Akufo-Addo dismissed on October 30, 2020 on the recommendation of CHRAJ.  

Old Supplier Certificate

In a more bizarre twist, Kyei Baffour secured a new PPA supplier registration certificate two days after the PPA announced the company’s suspension and blacklisting. 

The PPA published the notice of the company’s suspension on September 22, 2021 while it issued a new PPA supplier certificate, signed by Acting Chief Executive of PPA Frank Mante, to Markyei Company Limited on September 24, 2021. 

New Supplier Certificate

This occurred even though the PPA announcement said that the company’s suspension and blacklisting commenced more than a month before the announcement – on August 11, 2021 and is valid until August 11, 2022.

Corruption Watch was unsuccessful on two attempts in getting comments from the PPA. Marian Oteng, Officer, Corporate Affairs and Facilities Management at PPA, informed Corruption Watch that the acting Chief Executive of PPA Frank Mante had declined to speak on the matter.

Story by Frederick Asiamah, Journalist, Corruption Watch 

E-mail: f.asiamah@cw-ghana.org

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