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Procurement Boss Hot Over UNIPASS Contract …15 Months To General Elections

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Circumstances under which the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) allowed for a 10-year sole sourced contract to be approved for Ghana Link Network Service Limited with its overseas partners, CUPIA Koria Customs Service (UNIPASS), on the blind side of Parliament and Cabinet has come to the fore in the wake of fresh investigations into allegations of corruption against the Chief Executive of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei.

There are rising calls on the office of the Special Prosecutor to throw its investigative lenses into the award of the UNIPASS contract and any possible involvement of Adjenim Boateng Adjei, especially why it was done on the blind side of the appropriate institutions of state.

The said UNIPASS contract created an embarrassing controversy for government, with stakeholders pointing out clear procurement irregularities, until the Economic Management Team (EMT) stepped in and asked that the contract be sent to Cabinet for the requisite consideration and approval, some nine clear months after.

“The Minister for Trade and Industry and the Minister for Finance [should] bring to Cabinet for the consideration and approval of the Uni-Pass arrangement and the Ghana Link Network Services Limited contract,” the Decision Note signed by Prof. Joe Amoako-Tuffour, Secretary/Member of the EMT said.

On March 29, 2018, the Ministry of Trade and Industry signed a 10-year sole sourced contract with Nick Danso’s Ghana Link Network Service Limited and its overseas partners, CUPIA Koria Customs Service, to take over the Ghana National Single Window with what was said to be a supposed newly built customized superior system.

It was boldly announced on the official website of the PPA, headed by the now embattled Adjenim Boateng Adjei, as a legit contract with no irregularities whatsoever.

Several civil society groups, stakeholders in the trade facilitation sector and think-tanks petitioned government over the said contract, with one of them, IMANI Centre for Policy & Education expressed reservations over the UNI-PASS contract

IMANI, in a petition to the Speaker and leadership of Parliament  expressed surprise that the Trade Ministry awarded the UNI-PASS agreement when a subsection of the Customs (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 923) amending the Principal Act clearly states the  Ghana  Revenue  Authority  (GRA) as the one to manage the  National  Single Window System.

The petition, signed by Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President of IMANI, among other points questioned why the Ministry of Trade was in a hurry to sign a 10-year contract whose fee structure (ad valorem) contravenes the Trade Facilitation Agreement that Ghana just ratified, specifically to the Article on the Disciplines on Fees and Charges.

“What motivated Trade Ministry’s decision to procure a new system instead of strengthening existing systems? What different functions will the new operators offer which is missing from the existing systems (GCNet and West Blue platforms)?”

POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS

Corruption and perceptions of corruption is a key decides in influencing voting patterns in Ghana. For a President Akufo-Addo led-government that was voted into political office with a general trust that the President himself would not condone acts of corruption, it becomes a huge political disincentive for such avoidable blunders that could be politically suicidal.

With some 15 months to general elections, unless the Nana Addo led government is seen to be taking drastic and clear actions against such happenings, it is most likely to suffer the corruption tag that got the John Mahama government out of office.

UNIPASS PROBE

The New Publisher is duly informed that the President ordered a silent probe into the entire UNIPASS saga and the findings were not pleasant.

The entire UNIPASS contract and planned takeover of the ports is one of the issues that still gets tongues wagging and forefingers being tossed left and right when talks shift to issues of perceptions of corruption and irregularities in the awarding of contracts.

Full details of the said investigation would be published soon, UNCENSORED

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