Controversial musician and a member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Asare Obeng, popularly known as Kwame A Plus, has fingered Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central in the massive chop-chop, involving the Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA).
According to the musician-turned politician who is said to have first leaked the documents covering the outrageous expenditures by the D-G on social media, contrary to claims that he has just set out to destroy Mr Owusu, he had no knowledge who he was, until he was called by Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, ostensibly to go slow on him.
Speaking on the issue on Joy FM’s News Night programme recently, A Plus rejected claim that he mischievously leaked the documents, saying he was only playing his “ Be a citizen not a spectator” role preached by President Akufo-Addo during his inaugural address on January 7, 2017..
A Plus told Evans Mensah that amidst the controversy, he had a call from the lawmaker, who revealed the D-G, who is the Group Chairman of the Luxe Suites Hotel, was his very good friend and promised that he would give him his phone number so that he speaks with him. He said that was how much he knew about the D-G.
He, however,could not say if indeed, the MP, sent him the contact or not, but he emphasized that the first time he was spoken to about Mr Owusu was that call from the MP, who prides himself as an anti-corruption campaigner and a maverick.
Mr Agyapong, has been described as a very integral part of the NPP administration and that every contract that needs to be embarked upon by the government, needs to pass through him for his cut, else hell will break loose.
He had in the past taken credit for exposing Alfred Agbesi Woyome’s GHC51 million judgement debt.
But some topical corruption allegations such as the ones involving the former BOST boss, Alfred Obeng, the National Identification Authority (NIA) contract, former Ghana Football Association (GFA) boss investigative piece that led to FIFA banning him for life, have had the legislator’s name mysteriously coming up.
It would be recalled that in the case of Mr Alfred Obeng, the MP decried the treatment being meted out to the then Managing Director (MD) and threatened that he would expose the government’s illegitimate means through which it won political power in 2016, if it touches him by way of removing him.
According to the loud-mouthed lawmaker, Mr Obeng was instrumental in NPP coming into power, revealing he donated funds for the campaign to get President Akufo-Addo elected.
Interestingly, in the case of the Maritime boss, Mr Agyapong, has been quiet, though in the past, he has been loud on other issues.
Meanwhile, A Plus has dared Mr Owusu to sue him over claims that the Authority spent GHS10, 652 on food for eight people in a single meeting and another GHc135, 000 for an end of year party for staff of the Authority. A Plus said: “I am ready for any legal battle on this matter; he should go ahead and sue me.”
“Does he know the number of times people have threatened to sue me, but never went ahead with it? He should find out. I am being a citizen and not just a spectator. I will continue to expose rot in the country irrespective of the government in place.”
Mr Owusu took over the media space about two weeks ago after news broke that he saw to the wasteful expenditure of taxpayers’ money last year.
He has also been accused of spending a whopping GHc1million to renovate his 2-bedroom official bungalow and 11 air-conditioners acquired for his comfort.
He has in the midst of all the allegations, said he did nothing wrong as per his status, he deserved even more than what he is being accused of. Some have already called for his removal, as they say his posture and conducts defeats the President ‘protecting the public purse’ mantra.
This paper had discovered that the Maritime Authority boss, had actually spent GHC168, 500 on food and drinks, bought from his private hotel, Luxe Suite Hotel in Accra.
Documents from his office, indicates that he renovated his official bungalow in an extravagant fashion, raising eyebrows after which he outrageously purchased and fixed as many as 11 Air-Conditioners on the two bedroom, and a Boys Quarters building which he had built in a record time.
The GMA spent over GHC1 million on the renovation of the state bungalow. Specifically GHC1.077.655.1 on the building alone. This excludes GHC168, 500 on food and drinks, bought from his private hotel.
Documents available to The Herald put the cost of the 11 Air-Conditioners at GHc24, 650, 00. They were purchased from a company called St. John Technical and fixed to “the newly renovated official residence of the Director-General” for his luxury and comfort less than year into his appointment.
A November 8, 2017 memo signed by one Rhoda Atiah had justified the purchase saying “Comparing the price quotation from St. Johns Technical’s Super Vision Ref and Air Condition Services, J.K Technical Services, St. Johns Techinicals, has the lowest quotations. I therefore suggest the purchases be made from them”.
It concluded that “all the invoices are attached for your perusal and approval, please.”
Indeed, the invoice from the St. John Technicals dated November 7, 2017 to the GMA, had mentioned that six 2.5 Horse Power NASCO air-conditioners at a unit price of GHC2,700 and a total cost of GHC16,200.
Three pieces of the two horse power NASCO Air-Conditioners were bought at a unit price of GHC1,850 at a total cost of 5,550, while two one and half Air-conditioners were purchased at GH1,450 were also bought at GHC2,900 per unit prices for the Mr Owusu’s official bungalow.
The memo from Rhoda Atiah, was sent to the Director-General for his immediate approval just a day after the St. John Technicals invoice suggesting those behind the extravagant purchase had made up their mind they were going to buy the air-conditioners from this particular company.
According to documents obtained by the Authority, the two-bedroom bungalow, located at No. 6-5 Circular Road Cantonments, was renovated with an amount of GHc176, 156. 76 and a total of nine air-conditions provided for the D-G’s comfort.
This paper cannot independently tell where in Mr Owusu’s official bungalow all these air-conditions whether they are fixed in the bedroom, kitchen, toilet, bathroom, boys quarters, security or where.
The Ministry of Works and Housing allocated the building to Mr Owusu, but as usual with state officials, “The building requires renovation and expansion to suit the purpose”, a document sighted by The Herald has said.
A September 4, 2017 in the custody of this paper, which give details of the renovation work on the official bungalow for Mr. Owusu’s comfort at a cost of GHC293, 594 to settle Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited which was handpicked the GMA for the work.
One other document, dated October 26, 2017, mentioned that the GHc481, 206.5 which came from Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited, was the lowest compared to Na-Asam Ltd, Mills Sarfo Company Ltd and an estimated value of GHC487,362.60 that from the Public Works Department (PWD). This was for phase two of the project.
The was also a “phase three” of the renovation work captured in another document dated October 26, 2017, in which Mills Sarfo Company Limited, was awarded the contract build the boy’s quarters at the cost of GHC278,204.00.
This means that all three companies namely Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited, to Na-Asam Ltd and Mills Sarfo Company Ltd handpicked by the GMA, at various times got contracts from the GMA to execute.
Indeed, documents upon documents authored by Director of Administration, Rhoda Atiah titled, “Renovation and expansion of building for D-G’s residence (No 6, 5TH circular road, Cantonments, Accra)”, give the Authority away for not subjecting the renovation contract to any serious competitive bidding.
A September 4, 2017, signed by the Director of Administration, Rhoda Atiah, had also disclosed that the Bills of Quantities were submitted to the PWD for estimate adding “the PWD conducted an independent estimate for the cost of the renovation and extension and arrived at a total cost of GHc292, 647. 29”.
She said “Comparing these quotations to the estimate from PWD, Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited, had the lowest price of Two Hundred and Ninety-Three Thousand Five request for 60% of the total amount (GHC176, 156. 76) to pay Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited as mobilization fees to start the work.”
The second phase of the renovation was awarded to Na-Asam Limited at the cost of GHC481, 206.5, after it was handpicked together by the GMA together with Mills Sarfo Company Limited and Kusi Appiah.
According to Madam Atiah, “The PWD conducted an independent estimation for the cost of the renovation and extension and arrived at a total cost of GHc 487, 362. 60. Comparing the quotations from the companies to the estimate from PWD, Na-Asam Ltd has the lowest cost of Four Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand Two Hundred and Six Ghana Cedis and Five Pesewas (GHc48, 206. 5).
We therefore request for 60percent of the total amount GH288, 723. 9) to pay, Na-Asam Ltd as mobilization fees to start the work”. The second phase involved the fixing of doors, kitchen cabinets, plumbing, electrical installations, painting and decoration.