Northern Development Authority CEO, 3 others arraigned at High Court for procurement breaches
The four people charged for the respective breaches of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) in their operations at the Northern Development Authority (NDA) were today arraigned at the High Court in Tamale.
They are Chief Executive Officer of the NDA, Sumalia Abdul-Rahman; the Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) of the NDA, Stephen Yir-eru Engmen; the Deputy Chief Executive (Finance & Administration) of the NDA, Patrick Seidu and the Chief Executive of A&QS Consortium Limited, Andrew Kuundaari.
They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and the court has granted them bail in the sum of GH¢500,000 each with three sureties each.
The accused persons are to deposit documents covering landed properties at the registry of the court, reports Graphic Online's Mohammed Fugu who was in court today.
The court presided over by Justice Eric Ansah Ankomah, also ordered the accused persons to deposit their passports at the Registry of the court
The case has been adjourned to February 28, 2023.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has charged the four after its investigations following a whistleblowers alert uncovered that the four breached the procurement law.
Related: 4 persons involved in Northern Dev. Authority, A&Qs Consortium contract charged by OSP
An investigative report dated January 24, 2023 by the OSP, found that Abdul-Rahman, Engmen, Seidu, and Kuundaari influenced the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage to A&QS in the procurement for consultants by the NDA under the Infrastructure for Poverty (IPEP) by increasing the approved procurement total contract sum of GH₵5,720,000.00 by an amount of GH₵4,680,000.00 to an amount of GH₵10,400,000.00 without lawful authority.
It also found that Kuundaari’s submission of invoices for the inflated GH₵10,400,000.00 contract sum was borne of mischief.
It said he knowingly submitted invoices on behalf of A&QS in excess of the approved procurement total contract sum of GH₵5,720,000.00) by an amount of GH₵4,680,000.00).
The report added that he succeeded in securing approval for the payment of GH₵8,328,840.00), which exceeded the approved procurement total contract sum by an amount of GH₵2,608,840.00 with a further outstanding amount of GH₵2,071,160.00).
It said the invoices were "the building blocks of a carefully staged design to directly and indirectly influence the public procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage in the award of a procurement contract by NDA to A&QS under the IPEP".
"Mr. Abdul-Rahman, Mr. Engmen, and Mr. Seidu intended their actions to, and their actions did in fact, directly or indirectly influence the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage to A&QS in the procurement for consultants by NDA under the IPEP by pushing through and/or approving and/or contributing to approve and/or contributing to cause the approval for payment to A&QS two (2) invoices totaling Eight Million Three Hundred and TwentyEight Thousand cedis Eight Hundred and Forty cedis (GHC8,328,840.00) and exceeding the approved procurement total contract sum of Five Million Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand cedis (GHC5,720,000.00) by an amount of Two Million Six Hundred and Eight Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty cedis (GHC2,608,840.00) with a further outstanding amount of Two Million Seventy One Thousand One Hundred and Sixty cedis (GHC2,071,160.00), without lawful authority," the report reads.
"Mr. Engmen intended his actions to, and his actions did in fact, directly and indirectly influence the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage to A&QS in the procurement for consultants by NDA for consultants under the IPEP by purporting, without lawful authority, to accept on behalf of NDA, an offer from A&QS for consultancy services for the design and supervision of construction infrastructure works and engineering services under the IPEP at a time when he was fully aware that NDA had not applied for PPA approval for the procurement of A&QS and PPA had not approved the procurement of A&QS by NDA".
The report signed by the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Kissi Agyebeng also commended the complainant, Mr Martin Kpebu for his public spiritedness and sense of duty.
It will be recalled that on July 1 last year, the Special Prosecutor directed the Controller and Accountant General to immediately freeze payments to A&QS under NDA’s implementation of the IPEP until the close of the investigation.
The report noted that while lifting that directive in principle, the Special Prosecutor advises all public officers in the approval chain to advert their minds to the tenor of a January 16, 2020, PPA approval for the procurement by NDA of A&QS and to ensure value for money. The tenor stated that the prescribed full contract price for the procurement of A&QS was GHC5,720,000.00.
Read also: OSP drags NDA CEO, 3 others to court; Accuses them of bloating GH¢5.72m contract to GH¢10.4m
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