The last-minute contracts awarded by the previous Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in the cocoa sector are beginning to come to light.
The recently-sacked Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni, is said to be the main brain behind the award of the contracts totaling about $512 million during the transition period.
The brazen attempts by some functionaries in the previous Mahama administration to award government contracts without recourse to value for money have set tongues wagging.
Almost all the contracts awarded by COCOBOD were sole-sourced or restricted tendering which with time became the modus operandi of Mahama’s NDC administration and there appeared to be no transparency in the processes leading to the award of the contracts.
The contracts are in the areas of road construction, upgrading and surfacing of roads, supply of materials as well as the supply of agro-chemicals for the cocoa sector.
A document sighted by DAILY GUIDE showed that the contracts were awarded between October 3, 2016 – in the heat of the 2016 electioneering campaign – and January 6, 2017, when the NDC government had miserably lost the elections and was on its way out.
Between October 2016 and early January 2017, the COCOBOD management had awarded a total of $512,925,373.26 worth of contracts in the sector through sole-sourcing or restricted contract.
By December 23, 2016 when the NDC had lost power, the COCOBOD management’s sole-sourced awarded contracts alone was GH¢120,253,117.04 equivalent of $27,606,317.04, another $159,396,000 was sole-sourced as well as another for 1.5 million pounds sterling ($1.957,070.71).
On January 6, the COCOBOD management awarded restricted tendering contract of GH¢1,138,272,377.42 ($261,311,381.41) and another restricted tendering contract for $62,654,604.10.
The sole-sourced contracts, according to available documents, were done at the blind side of the Transition Team, and against the advice of some senior technocrats at COCOBOD.
The road contracts were mostly done on restricted tendering basis when the default position of the Procurement Act is competitive tendering.
An example was the contract for the rehabilitation of an 8.4 kilometre Sunyani Senior High School (SHS) and Asana Roads, in the Brong-Ahafo Region, awarded on January 6, 2017 at the cost of GH¢19,092,779 million to Ousman Inusah Company, while a contract worth GH¢19,889,530.05 was also awarded to ERDMAC Company Limited on the same date for the surfacing of the Sankore-Kwabeng feeder road, also in the Brong-Afafo Region, where Stephen Opuni is believed to hail from.
A computation of the sole-sourced and the restricted tendering in a common currency (US$) comes to about $512 million in just three months.
Interestingly, the only reason given for the sole-sourcing was that those items were of a “proprietary nature.”
Most of the agro-chemicals contracts were also awarded on sole-sourced basis between December 3 and December 23, 2016.
About 22 companies were given contracts to supply chemicals such as Kocide 2000 Fungicide, Pridapod Insecticide, Metacide Super WP Fungicide, Liquid Fertilizer, Defender Fungicide, Fungikill 50WP Fungucide, Natural Organic Fertilizer, Cocofeed Fertilizer Akatemaster Insecticide as well as Akate Asar Insecticide.
The rest include the supply of Duapa Fertilizer, Acati Power Insecticide, Adon Cocoa Fertilizer, Lithovit Liquid Fertilizer, Adehye Cocoa Fertilizer, Champion 50 WP Fungicide, among others, at a whopping total cost of GH¢120,253,117.04; $159,396,000 and 1,550,000 pounds.