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Innovative Teachers, ATAG petition CHRAJ to probe GES’ laptops procurement

BY: Graphic.com.gh

Innovative Teachers and the All Teachers Alliance Ghana have jointly petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the procurement of 280,000 laptops by the Ministry of Education (MoE).

The laptops, a TM1 brand costing GH¢1,550 each according to the Ministry, are meant for distribution to teachers on a 70/30 percent cost sharing basis between government and the teachers respectively, however, the teachers suspect proper procedures and due diligence have been sacrificed, leading to a what they believe are inflated costs.

According to teachers, “The request for investigation has become necessary due to the fact that the procurement of two hundred and eighty thousand (280,000) laptops ought to result in a significant reduction in the price for teachers and the taxpayer to pay.

“The cost of each laptop is purported to be 1,550 cedis and we suspect that this amount is inflated. A thorough investigation into the procurement will vindicate our position.”

The two teacher unions’ petition signed by Christian Aidoo, and Albert Dadson, secretaries for Innovative Teachers and All Teachers Alliance Ghana respectively, argue that in their estimation, the TM1 laptop should not cost more than GH¢600 “given the specifications of this laptop and the colossal number of 280,000 laptops,” adding also that “It is trite knowledge that manufacturing of electronic gadgets in large quantities makes the price per item very low.”

Read also: Teachers group kick against government’s laptops distribution project

They wondered why private businessmen are able to procure products at good prices and at “huge discounts but when it comes to the use of the taxpayers' money to procure same electronic gadgets the story is the direct opposite.”

The petitioners requested CHRAJ to request the Ministry of Education to provide all documents concerning the procurement of the TM1 laptops and also for quotations from at least five companies in the country that the TM1 laptops are being produced.

“We would like CHRAJ to weigh the response from Ministry of Education to our petition based on Procurement of Information Technology Products by the Public Procurement Authority issued in 2019 and the procurement Act as amended.”

According to the teachers’ petition, they want the Ministry of Education to answer some 19 questions, along with “any other questions the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice may deem appropriate in its investigation.”

1. What is the name of the IT company or the IT consultant who worked on the procurement of the TM1 laptops?

2. Did the Ministry of Education contract a company to supply the TM1 laptops or signed the contract directly with the manufacturer of the TM1 laptops?

3. On which date was the tender invitation published and where is the copy of the tender invitation if the tender was through competitive tendering?

4. What is the name of the company that won the contract to supply the laptops if the procurement contract was given to a company?

5. Which year was the company that won the contract incorporated, the names of the Directors, Secretary, the company's valid business registration certificates, valid tax clearance certificate and VAT Registration certificate?

6. What is the name of the manufacturer producing the TM1 laptops?

7. Why did the Ministry of Education bypass Dell, Toshiba, Acer, hp, Lenovo and other established brands with reputation for producing quality laptops of global acclaim for this manufacturer?

8. In which country are the TMI laptops being manufactured?

9. Did a delegation made up of procurement officers from the Ministry of Education and technical experts visit the manufacturer to conduct due diligence to ascertain the competence of the manufacturer to produce the laptops?

10. What was the report of the delegation that visited the manufacturer if a delegation visited?

11. What is the name of a customer of the manufacturer who gave good testimonial about the performance of the TMI laptops since TMI is not a known brand?

12. What is the track record of this company in the manufacturing of laptops and how many years have they been manufacturing laptops?

13. Was the contract given through single-source tendering or competitive tendering?

14. If it was through single-source tendering did it meet the following conditions as set out in section 40 of the Public Procurement Act (663)
(a) Is the TMI laptop a proprietary product that is manufactured by that company only?
(b) What is the urgency in the procurement of the laptops for teachers?

(c) Has the Ministry of Education bought TM1 laptops from this company before and the company gave a good price for this laptop and as a result the company got this contract to manufacture?
(d) Has the Ministry of Education entered into a research agreement with this company to produce unique laptops with patented features to specifically aid teachers in teaching?
(e) Does the procurement of the laptops a National Security matter which must not go through competitive tendering?

15. If the Ministry of Education resorted to single-source tendering or competitive tendering we would like to request for a copy or copies of the contract bids from the Public Procurement Board pursuant to section 40(2) of the Public Procurement Act, 663.

16. Did the Ministry of Education write to Public Procurement Authority asking same to grant it the permission to single-source the laptops citing reasons based on the Procurement Act as amended and did Public Procurement Authority give authorisation for the single-source tendering?

17. What is the name of the IT company or the names of IT consultants who authorized the mass production of the TM1 laptops when the samples were brought to the Ministry of Education for examination?

18. Has the Ministry of Education signed services and maintenance agreement with the manufacturing company concerning the TM1 laptops in accordance with Procurement of information Technology Products?

19. Is there an invoice from the manufacturer detailing specific numbers of laptops with different prices? For example 10,000 laptops = y dollars 100,000 laptops = x dollars.