Kumasi Technical University Appears Before PAC Over GH¢3.2m Mysterious Joint Venture
There were stunning revelations at the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament when the contingent of the Kumasi Technical University appeared to answer questions on the Audit Report of the Auditor General on the institution for 2015.
It was revealed that the University disbursed a whooping three million two hundred Ghana Cedis (3.2m) as a joint venture arrangement with a Chinese company, Sonturk, which the delegation could not justify before the Committee.
The former rector of the institution, Professor Nicholas N. N. Nsowah-Nuamah under whose watch the supposed joint venture arrangement and the various disbursements were done gave background that a joint venture agreement was reached between the institution and Sonturk upon a phone call from acquaintances close to the institution and further discussions resulted in an agreement where Sonturk was to help the institution train students on practical aspects of their studies, especially in the assembling of computers, and the joint venture Kumasi Polytechnic Sonturk Electronic Company Limited (KPSECo Ltd).
When probed further by the Committee to ascertain whether due diligence was done before disbursement of monies, the former rector and his team only indicated that they embarked on a visit to the company premises to ascertain whether they are capable of being joint partners. This revealed before the Committee that Sonturk is a local company registered in Ghana here, and not a Chinese company as earlier alluded to by the team.
It was further revealed that page 52 of the Auditor General’s Report, paragraphs 285 and 286 revealed material discrepancies between the stock levels as claimed by management and the physical stock taken by the audit team, and that the Committee was of the view that due diligence was not done, resulting in loss and discrepancies in the entire transaction. The team was unable to produce any due diligence report, only saying that the joint partners only made presentations to the institution and were accepted based on that presentation.
Asked to produce the amount committed to the joint venture, the former rector indicated that, the institution initially transferred one million Ghana Cedis (GhC1m) to the joint venture, albeit without any financial commitment from their joint partners, Sonturk, and additional One Million and Eighty Four Million Ghana Cedis (GhC1,084,000). The institution further went for an Ecobank guarantee that made the total amount of money committed to the deal over GhC3m
The team however could not assert the financial contribution of their partner Sonturk to the joint venture arrangement. The Committee was of the view that a joint venture meant that there was going to be two parties involved, here the University and Sonturk. They wondered why there was no commitment from Sonturk to the joint venture arrangement.
On whether the joint venture agreement was valued, the team answered in the negative, indicating that there was no value to the whole transaction, and that financial commitments were made without clearly knowing the value of the project. The committee further established upon thorough grilling of the team that there was no official feasibility studies, neither did the institution engage an official valuer for the agreement nor normal business practice involving such arrangements were followed.
Representatives of the Auditor General present revealed that total monies sunk into the controversial joint venture agreement which never saw light of the day amounted to Three Million Two Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis.
Meanwhile in another development, Parliament approved the President’s nominee of the Deputy Special Prosecutor, Cynthia Jane Naa Korshi Lamptey
Further details follow subsequently
By: Frederick E. Aggrey