CHRONICLE intelligence has picked up definite intervention by the Ghana Armed Forces in a suspicious deal involving the award of a contract for the supply of commemorative medallion for the security services for the 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations.
Anxious to retain their integrity and deflect a potential explosion of finger-pointing, the army demanded the cancellation of the contract, citing inter alia, the comparative inferiority of the products being offered by a British company, plus suspicious British pound signs in quotations for the products with questions marks, which had the potential to generate finger-pointing at the Military High Command.
Last year, a British company located in the tax haven offshore location of Jersey in the British Channel Islands and registered in the Bahamas, responded to an inquiry to the Personnel Administration of the Ghana Armed Forces, with quotations for medal sets, for commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Ghana.
The personnel office, which generally does not handle procurement and logistics, received quotation for 53,000.00 medal sets, quoting two pence short of £10.00 a piece- the equivalent of ¢180,000.00.
The response from the company, CLEAVE, jewellers and medallists, which was copied to the Director General, Logistics, gave the total price as £528,940.00 including air freight and insurance (which is generally very minimal), and for the size of the order, could be made inclusive of the order.
Mr. Peter Scott, who signed for the company indicated that he expected fifty percent in advance on confirmation of the order, amounting to £264,470.00, with balance to be paid on completion of the order, and urging that the advance payment should reach them by first week of December, 2006.
Incidentally, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Professor G. Gyan-Baffour, requested the release of funds for the acquisition to CLEAVE and advised the Director of Budget, the Chief Director of the Ministry and the Auditor General to charge the amount against the 2007 investment Vote of the National Security Council.
The Minister, simultaneously directed the Bank of Ghana to transfer the cash to the company and others who were also to supply other anniversary memorabilia and paraphernalia.
The alarming sting in the transaction is the eye-popping discovery that instead of sending £264,790.00 being 50% of the total cost of the medals as requested by Peter Scott of Cleave, the authorisation was for £276,841.00, an unexplained difference of £12,000.00 on the first transaction.
Swiftly, the army chief of Staff, Brigadier R. Winful, wrote within 24 hours to Wereko Brobby's men to halt the transaction.
' I am to request you to disregard Reference 'A' and cancel the order for the medals from Messrs Cleave', the army chief ordered in a letter he signed.
He directed immediately also that the order should instead be given to Hobson and Sons, who are based in Essex near East London because the sample of medal they had sent was of a superior quality.
'I am to explain that a sample of the medal was also received from this company and it is of a better quality, better packaged and even cheaper in price, which would enable us to make an overall savings of over £4,000.00.
A call to Prof. Gyan-Baffuor's office, to seek clarifications on the authorisations was answered by a female who said the deputy Minister was out for a meeting.
For the Ghana @50 Secretariat, calls to Dr. Charles Yves Wereko Brobby, the head and his very recent assistant one Major General N.C Coleman, to find out the state of the transaction, went unanswered.
The Public Affairs Director of the Secretariat, Mr. Henry Wellington Okyne, said he was not well versed with issues related to the acquisition of the medals and so could not comment on it.
Four separate calls were made to the office of the Chief of Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces. On all occasions, the calls were answered by his aides, who consistently said he was either in a meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff or was out of his office.
Finally, the aides requested for a number so that when Brigadier Winful came in, the paper could be contacted. But as at the time of going to press there was no call from them.
Earlier, defence Minister Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, said he had personally seen the intervention document of the Military but advised that the media would be doing a great service to the nation if issues related to the Military were reported with a great deal of circumspection.