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Akufo-Addo's gov't exploiting Ghanaian taxpayers under cover of COVID-19 – Minority

BY: Graphic.com.gh

The Minority in Parliament has accused the Akufo-Addo led government of using the COVID-19 pandemic as a cover to exploit Ghanaian taxpayers.

At a press conference in Accra Thursday, [October 22, 2020] addressed by the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the caucus questioned why the government paid GH¢10,309,919 as insurance premium to Enterprise Insurance, a subsidiary of the Enterprise Group, of which Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is associated, to provide insurance for frontline health workers who were active participants in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“We all know the faces behind Enterprise Group. At least, we know that the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, and cousin of President Nana Addo, is a beneficiary owner of the Enterprise Group”, Mr Iddrisu said, adding: “This is quite revealing”.

“This is because we have a President who touted that he was not coming to public service to enrich himself or family but he is doing the exact opposite”, he explained.

“At a time that Ghanaians and their companies are struggling due to COVID-19, our President did not find it necessary to, at least, open up to other companies in the insurance industry through a competitive bidding processes.

“All the President did is to hand-pick his cousin’s company and doled out GH¢10 million-plus under the cover of insurance premium for health workers”, the Tamale South MP said.

Additionally, the Minority raised concerns about the contract given to The Peters Family Company Limited, a company that was registered a few months ago, to carry out COVID-19 tests at the Kotoka International Airport at a fee of $150 per person.

The company, which the Minority claimed was registered on 21 July 2020, “just some few weeks to commence operations”, is “owned by Healthcare Solutions Services Limited, which is owned by The Peters Family Company Limited” and “was also incorporated on 3rd June 2020, a month earlier”.

“The Peters Family Company Limited itself is registered as an offshore in Dominica. It is trite knowledge that The Peters Family Company Limited is owned by Nigerian businessman Benedict Peters; a friend of President Nana Addo.

“The Minority is not only concerned about this shady deal, which is a well-crafted scheme to cash-in on poor Ghanaian travellers who are desirous of returning home but also about the ability of the Frontiers Healthcare Services Limited to deliver the very services for which the poor Ghanaian passenger pays one hundred and fifty dollars (US$150) each”.

“The simple fact is the company has no capacity to conduct a single COVID-19 test”, Mr Iddrisu said.

Below is a copy of the full press statement:

PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE MINORITY CAUCUS OF PARLIAMENT, ADDRESSED BY THE HON MINORITY LEADER, MR HARUNA IDDRISU AT PARLIAMENT OF GHANA, PARLIAMENT HOUSE, OSU ON 22 ND OCTOBER, 2020

“NPP GOVERNMENT EXPLOITING GHANAIAN TAXPAYERS UNDER THE COVER OF COVID-19”

Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, the Minority Caucus of Parliament has invited you to this Press Conference to address some matters of grave national concern.

The Media would appreciate that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority has been very supportive of attempts by the NPP Government to combat COVID-19.

Indeed, the Minority has exercised its legislative, deliberative and financial roles as legislators to ensure that the State was better placed to fight the deadly pandemic.

The NDC, like other well-meaning Ghanaians, have noted a major concern relating to the NPP attempt to fight COVID-19 – the award of contract.

Today, we would address you on two main contracts: 1. Provision of insurance policy for Frontline Health Workers; and 2. Testing of passengers on arrival at Kotota International Airport.

Provision of insurance policy for Frontline Health Workers

You would all recall that President Nana Addo on Sunday, 5th April 2020 announced an insurance package for all frontline health workers.

Typical about this Government, prior to the announcement, this was communicated to Heads of Agencies of the Ministry of Health by the Minister for Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu. [See letter of 28th March 2020].

This was at the time that government was not yet certain which health worker qualified as a frontline staff and the total number of frontline health workers in the country.

In the midst of the controversy, Government was able to engage an insurance company, agreed on the premium and paid a whopping ten million, three hundred and nine thousand, nine hundred and nineteen Ghana cedis, ninety-four Ghana pesewas (GHS10,309,919) as insurance premium to no other company but Enterprise Life, a subsidiary of the Enterprise Group.

We all know the faces behind Enterprise Group. At least, we know that the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, and cousin of President Nana Addo is a beneficiary owner of the Enterprise Group.

This is quite revealing.

This is because we have a President who touted that he was not coming to public service to enrich himself or family but he is doing the exact opposite.

At a time that Ghanaians and their companies are struggling due to COVID-19, our President did not find it necessary to, at least, open up to other companies in the insurance industry through a competitive bidding processes.

All the President did is to hand-pick his cousin’s company and doled out GHS10 million-plus under the cover of insurance premium for health workers.

Testing of passengers on arrival at Kotota International Airport

Friends of the media, you would recall that the Minority raised concern regarding the award of contract to Frontiers Health Care Services Limited.

This company, which was registered on 21st July 2020 just some few weeks to commence operations. The company is owned by Healthcare Solutions Services Limited which is owned by The Peters Family Company Limited, was also incorporated on 3rd June 2020 a month earlier.

The Peters Family Company Limited itself is registered as an offshore in Dominica.

It is trite knowledge that The Peters Family Company Limited is owned by Nigerian businessman Benedict Peters; a friend of President Nana Addo.

The Minority is not only concerned about this shady deal, which is a well-crafted scheme to cash-in on poor Ghanaian travellers who are desirous of returning home but also about the ability of the Frontiers Healthcare Services Limited to deliver the very services for which the poor Ghanaian passenger pays one hundred and fifty dollars (US$150) each.

The simple fact is; the company has no capacity to conduct a single COVID-19 test.

The company solicited the support of the National Coordinator of the National Laboratory Network for COVID-19 testing to enable them do their work. [See letter of 27th August, 2020].

Indeed, the Noguchi Medical Research Institute is said to be conducting the test for and on behalf of the Frontiers Healthcare Services Limited.

So, the question is: why did the NPP Government not simply allowed Noguchi to conduct the test at a much reasonable and cheaper fee?

Why would the Nana Addo-led NPP Government cleverly conjure a scheme to exploit innocent Ghanaian passengers?

The National Democratic Congress is desirous of supporting the Government to combat COVID-19.

Parliament, especially the Minority group, has a duty to exercise oversight over the Executive to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of the resources allocated to the NPP Government.

To this end, even as we try to unravel the mystery surrounding the award of the above two contracts as well as other similar ones to the family and friends of President Nana Addo, we call on the NPP Government to account to the good people of Ghana how the COVID-19 moneys, including loans, grants, allocations and donations have been expended.

COVID-19 has not, in any way, outlawed due process, transparency and accountability in Ghana.

The NPP Government must account for every pesewa received and or spent.

Ghanaians want to know.

More importantly, the NPP Government should ensure transparency in the award of contracts.

Ghana deserves better.

Thank you for your attention.

#GhanaVotes2020