Kojo Graham Rubbishes NLA Conflict of Interest Claim
A lawyer and former board member of the National Lottery Authority (NLA), Kojo Graham, has denied that he abused his capacity as a member of the board of the National Lottery Authority (NLA), to award his private company a 15-year contract with the NLA.
According to him, the decision to hire the services of his private company was not a rubber stamp decision by him, but was decided by the entire board together with the procurement authority.
His claim comes on the back of allegations by a group calling itself the Concerned Voters Movement, who accused him of awarding contracts of the NLA to his own company, LOTS Services to the tune of GH¢89 million Ghana cedis between 2013 and 2017, while serving as an external lawyer for the NLA and at the same time, the Chairman of the entity Tender Committee of the NLA.
Leader of the group, Razak Kojo Poku, said the president must urgently cause an investigation into the matter to ensure the country does not lose money through the “dubious contract”.
Mr. Razak Poku also alleged that Kojo Graham was peddling falsehood against the current Managing Director of the NLA, Osei-Ameyaw, after the latter tried to cancel the dubious contract.
But speaking on the Eyewitness News on Wednesday, Kojo Graham said although the positions he held may have appeared to be in conflict of interest, there was no conflict of interest.
“There could be an appearance of a conflict of interest because of the position that I was an external solicitor and a board member, but you cannot, as a matter of fact, come to a logical conclusion that because I was in these positions, anything that happens amounts to a conflict of interest… I never asked to be external solicitor for the NLA…There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a board member and being an external solicitor for the NLA,” he said.
Mr. Graham said the selection of his private company (LOTS Services) for a contract with the NLA, was not taken by the board of NLA while he was serving on it, but by the Public Procurement Authority.
“The Entity Tender Committee is not a rubber stamp, this is a high-level committee made up of 3 board members, senior directors from the NLA as well as a senior state attorney from the AG’s department. In any case, the decision to award contracts are not made by the Chairman of the Entity Tender Committee. It wasn’t the NLA Entity Tender Committee that awarded contract to LOTS, the contract was awarded by the Public Procurement Authority,” he said.
My interest in LOTS was after NLA contract
Mr. Kojo Graham further denied that, his interest in the LOTS Services, was only after the NLA had signed the contract with the company.
“My interest in LOTS Services came in way after the contract had been awarded,” he said.
‘I gave $60,000 loan on humanitarian grounds’
It is alleged that Mr. Kojo Graham gave a bribe of $60,000 to the new Director–General of the NLA, after learning of the latter and the new NLA board’s plan to be more stringent in payments to LOTS services.
But according to Mr. Graham, the money was a personal loan which he gave on “humanitarian grounds” to the new Director General.
We are open to a probe
He said his company was ready to cooperate with state agencies should there be a probe into the case.
“He who alleges must prove. Our doors are as open as the heavens,” he said.