On Luxurious Cars & Others; Hungry Workers Cry Over Neglect
President Akufo-Addo’s ban on the purchase of vehicles by state institutions, has been defied by the management of the National Service Scheme (NSS) by needlessly buying luxurious Toyota cars for themselves, borehole machines, tractors and bulldozers, while the workers, complain of poor remuneration, hunger and neglect.
The total amount blown on the items is, Twelve Million One Hundred Seventy Four Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Nine Ghana Cedis, Ninety Five Pesewaas (GH¢12,174,299.95).
Interestingly, some of the cars, could have been rented to do the jobs for which they were procured saving the state additional expenditure in terms of fuel, labour and maintenance.
What is mind-blowing is that, the NSS, has some of the equipment procured, but have abandoned them unrepaired after they broke down.
From the documents perused by The Herald, it was clear that management was only interested in purchasing the items for their personal and selfish interests, thus cared less the additional expenditure it puts on the NSS.
The management of the scheme led by the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Yabaga/Kubori, Mustapha Ussif, is seen by the staff, as only interested in their personal comfort, hence engaged in wasteful expenditures, while imploring them to tighten their belts and bite the bullet waiting for a better tomorrow.
But in the midst of the workers’ poverty, the NSS Executive Director, has purchased for himself two officials cars; fresh 2018 V8 Toyota Land Cruiser and a sleek 2018 Toyota Camry salon car and got V8 2018 Toyota Prado cars for his deputies.
Five fresh 2018 Toyota Camry cars, have been bought for the directors in charge of Policy Planning and Evaluation, Human Resources and Public Relations.
The Executive Secretary and his deputies, also got their 2018 Toyota Camry cars in addition to their V8 Toyota Land Cruiser and V8 2018 Toyota Prado cars. A total of 10 vehicles were bought for the comfort of the NSS boss, his deputies and directors, some of who are New Patriotic Party (NPP) fanatics thrown state appointments as spoils of war.
As much as 12 Toyota Hilux Double Cabin Pickup Cars, have also been purchased by the NSS.
Gifty Oware Aboagye, the Deputy Executive Director of the Scheme in-charge of Finance and Administration, confirmed purchasing the cars.
She told The Herald that the 10 luxury cars were official duty cars for herself, her boss; Mustapha Ussif and various directors, while the Toyota Hilux Pickup Cars, were bought for the Free SHS Secretariat through Ghana Education Service (GES) with the involvement of Buffer Stock.
There are reports that the money used to purchase the cars, came from the scheme’s allotted funds from the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme aimed at promoting growth in food production and job creation across the country.
The Deputy NSS boss disclosed to The Herald, that the Toyota Hilux Pickup cars, are going to Regional Coordinators and Directors to monitor various Agric projects under the NSS to supply food to SHS across the country as part of the Free SHS programme.
But there are also suspicions that, the contract for the purchase of the cars, did not go through proper competitive tender process as required by law, for the state to derive value for money if at all the vehicles were needed.
Interestingly, the purchase of the cars, have been described as wasteful because, the scheme under Michael Kpessa–Whyte procured some Toyota Hilux cars two years ago, and most of them are still on the road, including being driven by the drivers of the NSS boss and his deputies. Those not on the road, only required minor repairs.
However, most of the new Toyota Hilux cars, have been driven and handed over to the Ministry of Education which has a supervisory responsibility over the NSS.
It was claimed that, the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, is deeply involved in the purchase of the 22 vehicles to enhance the delivery of the 14 Toyota Hilux cars to his ministry.
As the NSS boss and his deputy, Gifty Oware Aboagye, engage in the wasteful expenditures at the scheme, the workers complain, they have no service conditions, especially medical care for themselves and their families.
According to the angry NSS staff, two of their colleagues; Lawrencia Amoakowa Appiah and John Sam, recently passed away and are yet to be buried.
They revealed, how they as workers had to contribute financially to support their colleagues’ medical bills until they each passed on.
According to them, their colleagues delayed in seeking medical attention, due to the poor service condition at the NSS, which management is not working at addressing, but rather engaged in frivolous spending.
The NSS management is further accused of having a penchant for awarding contract without going through tender.
Not long ago, state bungalows were renovated for them by their own selected contractors at amounts determined by them with expensive fixtures determined them.
They barely sit in the offices and work. They are mostly out of the country upon the least opportunity to travel at the expense of the NSS.
Last year, Mustapha Ussif, led a team of government official who had nothing to do with the scheme on a training programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spending US$300,000.
Meanwhile, tender documents shown to The Herald by Gifty Oware Aboagye, confirmed that the purchases went through tender. However, the tenders were done at the headquarters of the NSS by a panel of six members.
From the document cited by The Herald, the contract which was named “Procurement of Farm Equipment, Machinery and Vehicle”, took less than a month to be decided upon by the panel comprising, Paul Appiah Owusu, Ivy E. Tsregbe, Dorinda Akpene Agar, Poku Wisdom, Bani K. Glory and Albert Oteng-Owusu.
Per a Ghanaian Times newspaper advert dated Wednesday November 29, 2017, the NSS announced its intention to buy the items which eventually cost it GH¢11,120,296.45.
The advertisement stated Monday, 4th December 2017 as the day on which tender documents be inspect and obtain by eligible tenderers at the National Service Scheme at a non refundable fee of GH¢500.00 cash.
The advert stated that “Tender must be delivered….. before Thursday, 21st December, 2017. Tenders shall be valid for a period of 120 days after the deadline of the tender submission. All tenders must be accompanied by Tender Security….. adding “late tender will be rejected. Tenders shall be opened in the presence of the Tenderers or representative at 10:30am on Thursday, 21st December, 2017.”
The documents showed that two days later specifically on Saturday, 23rd December 2017, the entity tender committee decided on the companies to be awarded the contracts. The decision taken on a weekend has also left room for doubts and suspicions as to whether or not there was ever a meeting on that day.
A company called Agrimat Limited, supplied the tractors and Row Planters at a cost of GH¢ 545,675.00 and 3199, 29.00 respectively. NEL Supplies sold the Refrigerated Van to NSS for GH¢12,174,299.95.
A borehole rig and Support Truck, which could have been rented from the open market for use by the NSS were rather bought at a total of ( Three Million Five Hundred Eighty Six Thousand, One Hundred Fifty Eight Ghana Cedis Forty Five Pesewaas ( GH¢3,586,058.45). interesting as we speak the NSS has borehole rigs broken down and unrepaired.
Another company called, DEM Ghana, was awarded the contract to supply Bulldozer at a cost of One Million Eight Hundred Fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢1,850,000), while Scania West Africa, was awarded a One Million One hundred fifty four Ghana Cedis (GH¢1,054,003.5) contract to supply a Low Bed Truck.
Toyota Ghana Limited, supplied a Cross Country Station Wagon for a mouthwatering GH¢449,070.00.
Among the companies, Luxury World Auto Ghana, got the major deals at the NSS, supplying Double Cabin Pickups cars for Two Million three hundred Ninteen Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢2,319,000.00.
Same Luxury World Auto Ghana, was made to supply another Toyota Saloon cars at a cost of Nine Hundred and Twenty Eight Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢928,500).
The same Luxury World Auto Ghana, again supplied Cross Country Station Wagon for GH¢569,764.00 and GH441, 000.00.
In all Luxury World Auto Ghana got paid as much as Four Million Two Hundred Fifty Eight Thousand, Two Hundred Sixty Four Ghana Cedis (GH¢4,258,264).
The Luxury World Auto Ghana, came across as highly favoured by the management of NSS with Toyota Ghana Limited, CFAO Ghana Limited, Hyndai Motors Limited, Stelin Automotive, Auto Parts among others playing second fiddle.
More to come!