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23
Wed, Aug

Why EC abrogated STL contract – Charlotte Osei explains

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei has explained that the contract with Super Tech Limited (STL) was abrogated because it was initially awarded with no price break down before she took over as chairperson.

She explained the initial contract was signed against the 2016 budget of the Commission, which was unknown at the time and that the two Deputy Chairpersons signed two contracts with STL on 6 May 2015 for US$22.3m (BVR) and US$16.4m (BVD) respectively

Responding to a petition filed at the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) by some “concerned staff” of the EC asking for investigations into her leadership, Mrs Osei said when she took over, the finance and procurement departments of the Commission had no knowledge of the execution of the said contracts with STL and that there were many breaches of law in connection with the contract,

She said when she initiated steps to rectify the contract award process after consulting a consultant, STL submitted a new proposal for the services at a quote of US$7.2m and therefore the contract was $7.2 million and not more than $21m as claimed by the petitioners who have also asked President Akufo-Addo to initiate steps to remove her as EC boss.

According to Mrs Osei, it was interesting that, STL has not complained about the abrogation of the contracts but persons, who schemed to cause loss to the state, flout procurement laws with impunity, have turned around to accuse another of acting illegally.

She said when the first contracts were signed, no one in the Commission was involved in the negotiations.

“Quite surprisingly, it is now alleged that their involvement would have resulted in better pricing for the Commission. Was the Chairperson to seek the input of the same deputies who had admitted lack of knowledge in procurement matters and who had earlier failed to follow procurement laws and hastily signed such major contracts?”

Related: The 27 claims made against Charlotte Osei and the responses

Read below the claim made by the concern staff and the response provided by Mrs Osei to EOCO

Claim 6: “The Commission signed a contract with Super Tech Limited (STL) on the premise that the Voters Registration Exercise was going to be electoral area based.

Upon assumption of office as the Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei unilaterally abrogated the said contract without recourse to the same Commission that approved the earlier version.

She single handedly renegotiated the contract with the vendor without involvement of the members of the Commission not even the deputies.

She then awarded the contract to the tune of $21,999, 592 without going through tender contrary to the Public Procurement Act.

The Chairperson re-awarded these contracts without seeking approval from the Commission.

In the opinion of the Commission, these contracts could have been negotiated further down if members of the Commission had been involved.

This is because the change in the 2016 voters registration process required automatic reduction in these contracts.”

Response 6: The two Deputy Chairpersons signed 2 contracts with STL on 6 May 2015 for US$22.3m (BVR) and US$16.4m (BVD) respectively (copies attached and marked ‘CO6A’).

Letters were written to PPA on 15 May 2015 (copies attached and marked ‘CO6B’) seeking permission for sole sourcing AFTER the contracts had been signed.

The contracts contained no price break down and were signed against the 2016 budget of the Commission, which was unknown at the time.

The finance and procurement departments of the Commission had no knowledge of the execution of the contracts (Please see ‘CO6C’ attached).

The Chairperson informed the Deputy Chairpersons of the many breaches of law in connection with these contracts.

The Deputy Chair Operations confirmed the illegalities in an email and also confessed his lack of knowledge of procurement processes (please see ‘CO6D’ attached).

The Chairperson abrogated the contracts in August 2015 (please see ‘CO6E’ attached) and requested the Finance department to re-negotiate with STL and rectify the contract award process.

Upon receipt of the consent of the PPA to sole sourcing, she engaged consultants to advise the Commission on the real needs of the Commission regarding the BVR contract and review the proposals submitted by STL.

The Consultants confirmed that the Commission should spend a maximum of US$7.2m (attached as ‘CO6F’). This resulted in STL submitting a new proposal for the services at a quote of US$7.2m (attached as ‘CO6G’)

Interestingly, STL has not complained about the abrogation of the contracts. It is amazing that persons, who schemed to cause loss to the state, flout procurement laws with impunity, can then accuse another of acting illegally. When the first contracts were signed, no one in the Commission was involved in the negotiations. Quite surprisingly, it is now alleged that their involvement would have resulted in better pricing for the Commission. Was the Chairperson to seek the input of the same deputies who had admitted lack of knowledge in procurement matters and who had earlier failed to follow procurement laws and hastily signed such major contracts?

Writer's email: enoch.frimpong@graphic.com.gh

Follow @enochfrimpong