The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local chapter of Transparency International, on the African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Day, reminds Ghana of alleged corruption cases needing urgent and transparent investigations.
A statement issued by the GII, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the allegations of corruption in the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine (Sputnik V) from Russia was unresolved and that Government’s silence on the matter was deafening.
The public must be reminded that the three-year mandate of the Governing Board of the Office of the Special Prosecutor expired at midnight on 11″ July 2021 without word from the President or the Office to the public.
On Thursday, 12th July 2018 the Board of the Governing Board of the Office of the Special Prosecutor was sworn in by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, supposedly to make “the anti-corruption body now, fully ready to execute its mandate” (July 12, GNA).
Last week, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, admitted a motion from the Minority asking for the constitution of a bi-partisan committee to investigate the purchase of Sputnik V vaccines by the Health Ministry.
The Minority had tabled an urgent motion calling on parliament to probe the Sputnik V vaccine transaction. The motion was based on reports that the government had agreed to purchase the vaccine at $19 per dose instead of $10 per dose.
The sponsors of the bill, including Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu and Ranking Member on the Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh say they want to understand the procurement processes that were used as well as demand value for money for the Ghanaian taxpayer.
On June 3, 2021, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) published that it had documented how intermediaries have obtained the Sputnik vaccine and are re-selling it at a premium. “Through investigations in countries including Ghana, Russia, Pakistan, Guyana and Iraq, VG has been able to document how the Russian vaccines have travelled via a sheik in the Emirates and round the world,” VG reported.
VG’s report investigates the involvement of two persons of interest to Norwegian authorities – Per Morten Hansen (59), a man charged with money laundering and tax offences in Norway and Umar Farooq Zahoor (45), a wanted man in Norway for what the police believe is his role in the spectacular Nordea fraud in 2010, where the conspirators emptied the account of a super-rich widow.
For Ghanaians, the brow raisers from the VG report were the price per dose of the Sputnik V vaccine – going for $19; meaning full vaccination of one person would cost $38 minimum.
The other matter of concern for Ghanaians was that the Ministry of Health had contracted the “Private Office” of Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum (34) for the supply of the Russian-made vaccines.
Coincidentally, when Sheik Al Maktoum sold the controversial AMERI Plant to Ghana via the company Ameri Group in 2015, Farooq Zahoor and the Sheik both signed the agreement.
These details provoked some MPs on the minority side of parliament to move the motion for a bi-partisan committee to probe the contract between government the Sheik Ahmed Al Maktoum.
In the aftermath of the VG report, details of other contracts have filtered through.
It has emerged that the Ministry of Health signed a separate agreement with SL Global Limited for the supply of five million doses of the same Sputnik V vaccine. In the agreement, government agreed to pay $26 dollars per dose of the vaccine, meaning a complete pack will cost $52 per person.
Documents show that this agreement was amended to change the price per dose from $26 to $18.50.
In that agreement, Cedar Point Chemist Limited – a pharmaceutical importer and wholesaler – was designated the “Marketing Authorisation Holder” of the vaccine in Ghana.
Details of a third deal are filtering through. This third deal, our sources claim, has not been fully consummated but could be pushed through soon. It involves a proposal from UK-based Gemcorp Capital LLP in partnership with Cedar Point Company Limited (same one appointed in the SL Global deal) which was submitted in April this year to supply 15 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine at a cost of $12.50 per dose.
A letter dated April 22, 2021 relating to this deal was written to the Minister of Health by Atanas Bostandjiev, the Group CEO of Gemcorp. It was copied to the Secretary to President Akufo Addo.
Corruption Watch sources say that there are more contracts on the books for the Sputnik V vaccine. Some of them, our sources say, have terms that are unfair in the sense that they pose corruption risks, do not assure value for money, and appear as take or pay agreements that could result in huge compensations if cancelled.
Besides, all the three agreements we have highlighted are potentially international agreements. However, none has gone through parliament.
Corruption Watch has discovered that SL Global Limited, which many Ghanaians considered to be a Ghanaian company, cannot be classified as a local company.
Company registration records reveal that Arthur Kweku Ackah-Yensu and Great Continent Holdings International Limited (a company registered in the Gulf) have equal shares in SL Global Company Limited. Ghanaian company and land ownership laws stipulate that a company registered in Ghana with minimum 40 percent foreign ownership shall be classified as a foreign firm. Therefore, the agreement should have been submitted to parliament for ratification.
Before VG published its report on Ghana’s purchase of Sputnik V vaccines in the contract with the Private Office of Sheikh Al Maktoum, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta disclosed the presence of “snake oil salesmen” in the corridors of the Ministry of Health.
Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, a former Auditor-General, has advocated the creation of district and regional budgets as part of efforts to ensure effective fiscal decentralisation.
That, he said, would ensure each district and region received its fair share of the national cake.
“I think over-centralisation is the major contributor to the corruption that we have in our country,” Mr Domelevo said in a virtual presentation at the maiden Domelevo Accountability Annual Lectures held in Accra.
Mr Manasseh Azure Awuni, an investigative journalist, has urged anti-corruption institutions to strengthen collaboration with one another in the fight against corruption.
He said the agents of corruption operate in networks, and therefore, those fighting corruption must also collaborate in order to make the needed impact.
“There have been times anti-corruption agencies are used by the political authority to harass others. What is even strange is that ant graft institutions sometimes fight each other,” Mr Awuni stated in his address at the maiden Domelevo Accountability Lectures 2021.
When 16-year-old Abdul Rahmana Shakina collapsed in 2017, her parents rushed her to northern Ghana’s main hospital. Diagnosed with acute anaemia, Shakina needed an urgent blood transfusion – a treatment supposed to be free. But first, doctors demanded a bribe.
With little in their pockets, Shakina’s parents begged for the transfusion, promising to return the next day to pay. But the doctors refused for 12 hours. When they finally gave Shakina the blood and oxygen she needed, it was too late. During the procedure, she died.
https://corruptionwatchghana.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Transparency-Int.jpg580900adminhttps://corruptionwatchghana.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/CW-logo-100by80.pngadmin2021-07-05 11:26:402021-07-05 11:26:42LOCAL STEPS, GLOBAL GOALS: HOW ORDINARY PEOPLE PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BY REPORTING CORRUPTION
https://corruptionwatchghana.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/judgment-debt.jpg183275adminhttps://corruptionwatchghana.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/CW-logo-100by80.pngadmin2021-07-02 12:33:102021-07-02 12:58:17Ghana hit with another judgment debt; Over $70m to be paid to WAGL
The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) has underscored the need to demand a strict and explicit asset declaration from government officials before and after their service to the Nation.
It said the feasible move would help hold the officials accountable, make them transparent, strengthen the asset declaration law and in that trail curtail the surge of corruption in the Country.
Mr. Bright Sowu, the head of programmes at GACC underscored the need for the government to explicitly demand verification monitoring, publication of assets and sanctioning where any false information was given.
The Private Sector Anti-Corruption Group (PSCAG), an association led institution made up of the main Chambers of Commerce in the country, has held a closed-door discussion with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to strategise to boost the nation’s tax revenue.
The meeting aims to assist GRA in increasing domestic revenue mobilisation and discussing some associated challenges with tax collection.
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Madam Andie Okon, a Community Capacity Building Manager of Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), says procurement is the number one of all corruption risks with 57 per cent of foreign cases of bribery attributed to public contracts.
She, therefore, called for Open Contracting Data Standards in such engagements to curb corruption.
https://corruptionwatchghana.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Corruption-Glossary-Procurement.png5121024adminhttps://corruptionwatchghana.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/CW-logo-100by80.pngadmin2021-06-22 16:32:482021-06-22 16:32:51Procurement is the number one corruption risks – OCP