A-G’s Dept orders suspension of payments to Foto-X/Digimarc

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
Payments of moneys to a private drivers’ licence printing company has been put on hold by the Attorney-General’s Office.

The Attorney-General’s Department has ordered the suspension of all payments to a drivers’ licence printing company until the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) is furnished with its advice on whether or not there was fraud in the award of a contract to the company.

“We wish to further state that in respect of the termination of the contract with Foto-X/Digimarc Ltd, the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) should hold on till you receive advice from the Attorney-General’s Office on the proper procedure for termination of the contract,” a letter dated November 5, 2015, addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of the DVLA from the Attorney General’s Department directed.

A final report from the EOCO to the Attorney-General’s office said the EOCO initiated investigation into alleged fraudulent contract transaction involving the DVLA and Messrs Foto-X/Digimarc Ltd during the period between 2006 and 2012.

 

The report said the contract, which was for the design, installation, maintenance and servicing of the system for the personalisation and production of driver’s licence (temporary and full), material supply, personalisation and production of driver’s licence for a period of six years; was on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.

Under the initial terms of the $2.7 million contract, the printing company was to build, operate and transfer equipment to the DVLA after the expiration of the contract, but the renewed contract sum shot up from a DVLA board approved sum of $3.6 million to $9.9 million.

It said, “…, the contract which was to have ended in 2012 was further renewed for another 10 years in 2012 by then Chief Executive, Dr J. M. Y. Amegashie without adhering to the approved sum of US$3, 600,000 by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).” The new contract was to last until 2022.

Prosecution

Findings of the EOCO included alleged fraudulent financial proposal, fraudulent contract, wrongful payments, overpayments and discrepancies in the first contract.

The EOCO has subsequently recommended the prosecution of Dr J.Y. Amegashie and the Chief Executive Officer of Foto-X/Digimarc, Dr Ian Kluvitse.

A highly-placed source at the Attorney-General’s Office told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that the EOCO forwarded a docket on the criminal aspect of the case to its outfit two weeks ago for study and advice.

Officials of  Foto-X were on record to have denied complicity in the matter.