The Chief of Staff, has been petitioned over certain developments at the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) under the Ministry of Communications, bothering on the good cooperate governance and ethical breaches on the part of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abraham Kofi Asante.
In a petition sent to Madam Akosua Frema Opare, some staff of GIFEC, asked the Office of the President to cause some investigations into the affairs of the organization, which recorded procurement irregularities, mismanagement and daylight thievery of state properties with superior officers, either looking on unconcerned or deeply involved in the crimes against the state.
The workers, who identified themselves as supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), revealed that there has been several of his transgressions, which are too numerous to mention.
According to them, if these breaches were leaked to the media, it also has to potential damage the image of the President himself, “the party and the numerous unsung heroes who toiled and labored to bring this party to power we have decided to use the appropriate channels to vent our concerns”.
The petitioned was sent to the Flagstaff House in March this year, ahead of Mr Asante’s official retirement as the Administrator of the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications in June 2019.
Insiders revealed to The Herald that, the petition to the Presidency was strangely snubbed, and an application for an extension to remain as the Head of the Organisation, was approved for Mr Asante.
The staff of the organization, had in their two-page petition said “we humbly write to request for a rejection of his request” but their request was not granted.
So far, the procurement of some solar laptop computers at the price of GHC4 million is in limbo although a substantial amount has been paid to the private companies involved. They four companies per documents available to The Herald are owned by the same the same directors. Since 2017, none of the four companies have supplied a single solar laptop computer to GIFEC.
Per the agreement, the companies awarded the GHC4 million supply contract to the four companies, were to delivered goods within months but till date they have not.
The companies are; A Comp Service Limited, Energonex Limited, Prudmen Company Limited and Power World Limited, They were to supply some 2,000 Wewi brand Solar Laptops at a cost of GHC4 million, but two years have passed and not even a single computer, has been delivered to the offices of GIFEC.
In line with the contract terms, a total of GHC1,170,000 was paid to the four suppliers as an advance mobilization, however, for two years, not a single computer, has been supplied by any of the four companies, leaving behind speculations that the money might have been cashed and shared by the various actors in the transaction.
No sample was delivered to GIFET for examination, The Herald. A claim by the Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Hadzide at a “Meet The Press” session that the goods were on transit to Ghana, has been disputed.
Mr Hadzide’s claim that the laptops had arrived and were supplied to GIFEC, but had failed a test conducted by technicians at GIFCT, has also been disputed. Insiders demanded waybills, shipping documents, charges, names and dates the deliveries were made to GIFEC.
It has also emerged that, a total of 302 computers and 13 air condition have been stolen from a warehouse where the institution kept them and there are attempts to cover up the theft. Internal investigation were close to catching the suspects but management failed to make them available to the committee. Same management has largely remained uncooperative with a police investigation ongoing at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
The cost of the HP computers and the Air Conditioners run into several thousands of Ghana cedi, The Herald. While the computers were priced at GHc2, 500 per a unit, the air conditioners were said to have been bought from GHc 2000 per a unit.
In the petition, there is “no involvement of senior executive members in managing the office. No meetings at the Executive Committee level, doesn’t communicate his whereabouts both within and outside of the country to his deputy and other Directors. Total disrespect to his executive”.
It said “He has seconded an official driver fully paid by the organization to his wife’s company”, adding “though he has the right to use any vehicle, assigning five official vehicles to himself ignoring the constraints of vehicular challenges in the office smacks of greed”.
It said Mr. Asante “has assigned every official assignment to his ex-second wife and in many instances disregarding the hierarchical and governance structures in the office. Currently Ms. Abena Nyamesem has the following tasks:Secretary to the Board of Trustees, Secretary to the Sub committees, Secretary to the Audit Committee, Chairman of Procurement Committee, Chairman of Procurement evaluation committee as and when constituted for procurement evaluations
She is also a member of Entity tender Committee as well as Head of Corporate Affairs
“In addition to these, she heads the Sustainability and Partnerships which has been made extensive with numerous local field visits and occasional foreign trips”, and questioned rhetorically “how can one person be in charge of almost every activity in the office?
It mentioned “excessive travelling both within and outside the country by the Chief Executive. In 2018 for instance, he travelled over 15 times abroad and in some instances for a period of four weeks”.
According to them, “for in country travels, they were uncountable last year and these are done under the pretext of monitoring projects. This has become major drain on the budget of the organisations as his per diem and related costs are becoming costly. Between January and April of 2019, he has travelled about 7 times abroad. None of the trips has impacted directly on the organization as they were mainly conferences, seminars etc. This is a complete abuse of the public purse and just an avenue to make money through perdiem. This shouldn’t be encouraged”.
It said that “as the first Administrator, he was paid all his entitlements including an official vehicle as a giveaway in line with the conditions of service. Having used the vehicle for 10 years as personal car, he has brought it back for it to be auctioned while the current official vehicle which he uses is being prepared for him to takeaway as a replacement for the first one. This is unethical and a gross abuse of public resources. Such indiscipline acts should not be countenanced as the president is not noted for such acts”.
It accused Mr. Asante administration as a “Reign of Terror” saying “he operates a Divide and Rule system which has resulted in extreme polarization of the office. Though as a public service, partisan politics is not encouraged, because of his NDC antecedents, he is very biased even towards the NPP sympathisers. To the extent that some staff who were even appointed by the President and were outstanding in the party’s quest to power have become his prime targets and preys through vindictive strategies”.
In this regard, the GIFEC workers said “We respectfully and humbly appeal to the President to cause some investigations into the affairs of the organization. Several of his transgressions which are too numerous to mention here could have been leaked to the media but for the potential damage to the image of the president, the party and the numerous unsung heroes who toiled and labored to bring this party to power we have decided to use the appropriate channels to vent our concerns. We should not be swayed by his media and publicity stunts since they are calculated to court the attention of the appointing authorities.
The workers appear not to have any confidence in Madam Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications, who is the chairperson of GIFEC board.
Many of the workers, had accused her of not being on top of her supervisory responsibilities, and had mostly been dismissive, hence their resort to the Chief of Staff.
More to come!