Charlotte Osei Blows $14m On Offices

Charlotte Osei

The sacked Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, awarded contracts far in excess of the approved amount by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), the committee that recommended her removal has stated.

The value of the said contract for the construction of pre-fabricated (Pre-Fab) District Offices for the EC was quoted at $7.5 million in the letter to the PPA, but by the time the contract was awarded, the total sum had jumped to $14.3 million, raising serious questions.

The outrageous increment flies in the face of the procurement law with Charlotte Osei paying the price.

Entity Tender Committee

The five-member committee set up by the Chief Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo to investigate complaints against the deposed EC boss and her two deputies, Alhaji Amadu Sulley, in-charge of Operations and Mrs. Georgina Opoku-Amankwah, for Corporate Services, said Mrs Osei awarded the contracts without reference to the Entity Tender Committee as required by law.

Justice Anthony Alfred Benin of the Supreme Court led the committee, which included Justices Samuel K. Marful-Sau and Justice Agnes Dodzie, both of the Appeal Court, as well as Welbeck Abrah Appiah, a renowned banker and Rose Karikari-Annan, former Executive Secretary, Ghana Employers Association.

It said the excess amount awarded without approval was a whopping $6,837,962.53.

The contract for the construction of the pre-fabricated offices was divided into four lots and the chairperson personally awarded all four at the higher rate of a total of $14,337,962.

There were said to be the construction of three regional offices, as well as 100 pre-fabricated (Pre-FAB) offices in some districts to accommodate staff, equipment and election materials.

EC Boss’ Request

The sacked EC boss wrote to the PPA for restricted tender approval on July 21, 2016 and listed five companies, including Solar Eco Limited, Clicotech Limited, Remscon Limited, Business Pros Limited and Cads Contract & Services Limited as contractors for the projects.

In the said letter with reference C/EC/PROC/01/SF.24/V.3/11, the EC Boss had stated that the EC staff in the affected areas lacked the needed infrastructure to work effectively, posing security, political and other related threats to their smooth operations and needed those facilities without delay ahead of the 2016 elections.

PPA Reply

The PPA, through then Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Sallas-Mensah, in a letter with reference PPA/CEO/08/1851/16, granted the approval for the EC to use $7,500,000 for the projects.

Curiously, after the PPA had approved $7,500,000 for the EC on the entire project, the contracts were rather signed later on December 19, 2016 when the general elections for which the EC Boss applied the restricted tender rule were well over.

The committee said the EC boss could not prove that she went back to the PPA to seek approval for the extra spending.

Main Contractors

Documents available showed that only two out of the five companies presented to the PPA by the commission for the restricted tendering were given the contracts, but none of the contracts was signed before the election was held on December 7, 2016.

The first company, Cads Contract & Services Limited got $2,447,114.80 contract for the construction of Pre-fad offices in Lot 3 in Greater Accra (3), Central (9) and Western (7), as well as another for $3,204,402.14 in Lot 4 in Volta (6) and Eastern (17).

For Clicotech Limited, a contract worth $4,278,340.61 was awarded for the construction of Pre-fab offices in Lot 1 in Upper West (7), Upper East (10), and Northern Region (12), as well as another $4,181,104.98 in Lot 2 in Brong Ahafo (17) and Ashanti Region (12).

Petitioners Angle

The petitioners, in their statement said “one of the contractors by name Messrs Contracts & Cads Limited is related to Mrs. Charlotte Osei.”

“Upon receipt of advance mobilization under the approval of the chairperson, the company has failed to meet the contract terms, the company has requested for additional payment, which the chairperson approved,” they claimed.

DAILY GUIDE understands that it was based on the rejection of the request for additional payment put in by Contracts & Cads Limited that the Director of Finance at the EC, Dr. Joseph Kweku Asamoah, got into the bad books of Charlotte Osei causing his spurious suspension by EOCO.

The petitioners said that “the Director of Finance stopped the payment of this request.  This accounts for one of the reasons of the chairperson’s disaffection for the Director of Finance.”

By William Yaw Owusu

 

 

 

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