Tongue-lashes His Ex-boss On GSA kickback report
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), has described as “shameful and embarrassing,” findings of an investigative committee claiming that the immediate past Executive Director of the Authority, received kickbacks from a contractor.
Mr. Amponsah Bediako told Joy News Editor, Dzifa Bampoh on Top Story, they had been “suspicious” of Dr George Crentsil, his boss all along, but never quite had any concrete evidence of corruption against him.
Mr. Bediako, a civil servant who served as government and New Patriotic Party (NPP) spokesperson in the Kufuor administration, sneaked back to his office as PRO of GSA, upon the defeat of the NPP in 2008.
He had bagged a fat ex-gratia and other government allowances. He remained quiet for the 8 years that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and never heard speaking on issues involving state institution until now choosing to go after his ex-boss; who protected him from the NDC hawks.
Dr. Crentsil, is allegedly cited in a damning details of an investigative report for collecting $1.2 million kickback from a contractor undertaking construction work for the Authority.
The report which was intercepted by Joy News’ investigative journalist Kwetey Nartey suggests Dr Crentsil in two tranches of $1 million and $200,000 collected the kickback from Lemet Construction, the company which won the contract to build a new block of the Standards Authority Training School at a cost of GHC15 million.
A whistleblower from the Authority was said to have triggered the investigation with an anonymous letter to the then Trades Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah who forwarded the complaints to the Board to investigate.
The whistleblower’s letter came at a time when the project had completely stalled with no explanation from the contractor.
The Board instituted an investigation into the matter and found that colossal amounts had been paid as kickback.
Quoting portions of the investigative report, Kwetey Nartey said the Contractor, Johnson Teye admitted to paying some $1.2 million to the Executive Director.
When Dr George Crentsil was quizzed on the allegation, the report said: “the Executive Director admitted taking money from the contractor but refused to state how much, stating it was a sensitive matter.”
In an another anonymous letter sent to Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the whistleblower alleged that the Executive Director collected not less than 30,000 cedis every month using the names of Mr. Sakyitey and Mr. Nargetey on initiations for destination activities for himself for many years now.
When the committee investigated this issue, it established that the 30,000 cedis mentioned in the whistle blower’s petition in relation to initiations for destination activities was spent to facilitate various official transactions.
The matter has shocked many Ghanaians including workers of the Standards Authority.
The PRO Amponsah Bediako said “We have no doubt something went wrong” but called for a higher institution to investigate the matter further.
When he was asked if he could confirm whether or not the amount involved is $1.2million, the PRO said he could not but wanted investigators to get Dr Crentsil to “confess.”
“When it comes to kickback no one will disclose. We were suspicious but had to wait for hardcore evidence.
“We only had some evidence some three weeks ago,” he stated.
He stated, however, that the two projects- the training school and pesticide lab- have both stalled and the Authority is cash-strapped.
Amponsah Bediako who claimed to have had a fruitful working relationship with Dr Crentsil pointed out some strange behavior from his boss at the tail end of his tenure.
Meanwhile, Tamale Central MP and a Member of the Trade and Industry Committee of Parliament, Inusah Fuseini said the matter must be investigated and criminal action taken if a prima facie case is established.