To err is human; Former DVLA boss begs about inflated Foto X contract

BY: Mark-Anthony Vinorkor
Mr Justice Amegashie — former DVLA boss

A former Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Mr Justice Amegashie, yesterday failed to state how the figure in a contract he had signed with Foto-X Limited, a company contracted by the authority to supply equipment for the printing of driving licences, changed from $3.6 million to $9.9 million.

Making an appearance before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, Mr Amegashie could not explain the jump in the contract sum.

He also could not provide the contract document for the committee on demand. All he could tell the members of the committee was that there had been mistakes on his part in the entire deal, adding, "To err is human." The DVLA first signed a contract with Foto-X Limited in 2006 for the production of driving licences.

Mr Amegashie, who retired from the DVLA in 2013, a year to his exit from the establishment, sought the permission of the Public Procurement Authority to engage in sole sourcing with regard to a renewal of the  contract with Foto-X Limited.

Under the deal, Foto-X Limited was to supply materials and equipment for the printing of the licences.

The contract was a turn-key project in which the consultant (Foto-X Limited) was to hand over the system and equipment to the DVLA to manage by itself at the end of the contract in 2012. But the consultant failed to do so.

The contract sum quoted was $3.6 million. However, the contract document to which both parties appended their signatures quoted $9.9 million, an obvious inflation of the contract sum.

Following a detection of the inconsistency, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) initiated investigations into the matter.

The Attorney-General later directed that the contract be terminated and no payment made to the company.

Explanations

Mr Amegashie and the immediate past Chief Executive of the DVLA, Mr Rudolph Beckley, could not state how the figures changed. Mr Amegashie said he did not authorise the variation in the figures and added that he did not realise that the figures had changed.

Committee

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, Mr Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, agreed with the EOCO that the deal was a bad one and demanded the contract document from the DVLA.

He advised state institutions which entered into agreements with entities to be diligent to ensure that the deals they engaged in did not result in financial loss to the state.