Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo’s over US$1 million vaguely defined contract to “Kroll Associates UK Limited to review electronic evidence, identify assets abroad and manage a joint Civil and Criminal Asset Recovery process”, through a Single Source Method, is turning out to be a massive raid on the public purse, with officials of the private firm paid hourly rates.
The highest ranked officer of Kroll was paid US$750 an hour by the Akufo-Addo government.
The Herald has sighted two separate documents from National Security Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah and the suspended Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Public Procurement Authority (PPA) Agyenim Boateng Agyei, saying the contract to Kroll Associates, was to last for twelve months, but another document by the Senior Minister contradicted them, saying the contract is rather for four years.
Interestingly, Mr Osafo-Maafo’s document, creates a confusing situation with questions as to his duties and responsibilities in the Akufo-Addo government.
Indeed, one is lost with respect to whom namely; the National Security, the Attorney General or the Office of Senior Minister, has the power to order forensic investigations into suspected criminal conducts of members of the previous administration.
The PPA document and that of the National Security Minister, confirm that the over US$1 million contract was awarded to Kroll Associate, by the Senior Minister, long before he sought approval for it from the PPA, in the name of the National Security Secretariat.
Indeed, Osafo-Maafo, says the Kroll investigative reports are in his custody, and he has since invited the Auditor-General to come and see them, describing them as “privilege and confidential information and report which will be produced in the Court at the appropriate time” during criminal “prosecution”.
However, the most shocking revelation on the contract is captured by the document from the PPA, that Kroll Associates UK Limited, charged the Ghanaian taxpayer “hourly rates for its Consulting Staff for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the commencement of the assignments”.
The PPA document signed by Mr Agyei confirmed the staff of Kroll Associates UK Limited, were literally given blank cheques by the Akufo-Addo government to cash US$750 an hour for its Senior Managing Director, US$695 an hour for its Managing Director, US$650 for its Practitioner/Principal and US$520 an hour for its Senior Director.
Other officials of Kroll Associates such as the Director, Associate Director, Senior Associate, Associate and Analysist, are cashing US$430, US$370, US$330, US$270 and US$140 respectively, an hourly rate.
Interestingly, aside their titled, the names of the Consulting Staff of Kroll Associates, were mentioned in the PPA document dated November 14, 2017 to help determine who they are and their expertise, especially so when Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo, has insisted there was no evidence to prove the work Finance Minister; Ken Ofori-Atta, made payment for.
The PPA document titled “approval request for single source procurement of professional services” was in response to another document dated November 7, 2017 from the Minister for National Security, who had also responded to another letter dated October 18, 2017.
The PPA document had said “in consideration of the explanation provided in your response, management grants approval to the National Security Council Secretariat to use Single Source Method in accordance with Section 72 (5) of Act 663 (the Public Procurement Law) as amended”.
But the suspended PPA boss, warned the National Security Minister “you are required to ensure that all documentation regarding the procurement is appropriately kept to facilitate future procurement and tax audits. The necessity for posting the contract awarded notice website is waived”.
Another interesting thing noticed was that, the PPA document failed to mention the personalities the Kroll And Associates were investigating, although The Herald’s intelligence, has established that Dr. Stephen K. Opuni, ex-Chief Executive of COCOBOD and Dr. Kwabena Duffour, a former Minister of Finance under late President John Mills, were key targets.
Another document dated November 16, 2017 authored and signed by the National Security Minister, addressed to the Senior Minister, and Minister of Justice and Attorney-General; Gloria Akuffo, had notified the two ministers that the PPA had “granted approval for the National Security Council Secretariat to use Single Source Method to engage Kroll Associates UK Limited for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months”.
Responding to the Auditor-General that he led the government to pay Kroll Associates $1 million for no work done, Mr Osafo-Maafo’s letter dated October 8, 2019, sought to set the record straight on the matter involving the private firm.
He said, approval for request for single-source procurement of professional services was obtained, contrary to claims by the Auditor-General that he failed to seek approval from the PPA.
He failed, however, to mention that the approval was obtained many months after he got the company to start work, he also failed to mention in his document to the Auditor-General that the said approval was gotten through National Security and not Ministry of the Senior Minister, which had awarded the contract to Kroll in February 2017.
On the accusation that the Senior Minister through the Finance Ministry, made full payment of more than $1 million to Kroll and Associates with no proof of work done, Mr Osafo-Maafo, charged that “Proofs of work done by Kroll and Associates are contained in their respective reports submitted to the office of the Senior Minister, COCOBOD, Bank of Ghana and Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO). The Consultancy services with Kroll [are] ongoing and expected to continue for a period of four years”.
The Senior Minister’s letter also revealed “one of Kroll’s reports for work done was in respect of LITHOvit agro-chemicals supplied by SeiduAgongo to COCOBOD for $106,541,589.82 which is now the subject of a case in the High Court (The Republic vrs. Dr. Stephen K. Opuni. Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and SeiduAgongo)”.
“The work done by Kroll, in this case, included Bank Analysis and Supplier Overview which disclosed that 90% of the revenue SeiduAgongo earned from COCOBOD was from agrochemicals sales amounting to $106,541,589.82 which has turned out to be worthless.”
Mr Osafo-Maafo’s response also said that “Kroll Associates are still conducting investigations into several other cases for the Government of Ghana. They are considered as privileged and confidential information and reports which will be produced in the Court at the appropriate time. They are however, available at the office of the Senior Minister for your inspection and or study”.
Under the heading “Assets Tracing (Identification of Asserts)”, Mr. Osafo-Maafo letter said “The work of Kroll Associates under the agreement include asserts tracing and assets searching – that is identification of assets held by relevant individuals and/or entities. Kroll Associates have done considerable work on this which will be produced in Court as evidence for prosecution and are therefore considered as privilege and confidential information and reports. They are, available at the office of the Senior Minister for your inspection”.
Another headline reading “Other Investigations in progress” the Senior Minister in his response said Kroll Associates are conducting investigations into cases to assist in assets recoveries and prosecution. These are, however, very confidential and classified security matters which cannot be disclosed at this stage. They will be available after the investigations for your inspection and study”.
One William Asante, said to be a friend and business partner of the Senior Minister, is said to be the brain behind Kroll Associates, which appears different from Kroll, Duff & Phelps of America based in New York.
More to come!