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15.05.2008 Regional News

Kassena-Nankana DCE parries accusations…of hiding tender documents

By William N. Jalulah, Navrongo - Ghanaian Chronicle
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THE DISTRICT Chief Executive (DCE) for Kassena-Nankana, Mr. Emmanuel
Chegeweh, has discredited allegations, that he was manipulating the bidding process of 17 contracts for school projects, for his unbridled gain.

The DCE had been accused of refusing to make open documents for the bidding of some World Bank-sponsored projects, under the Internal Development Agency /Community Based Rural Development Programme (IDA/CBRDP).

Information reached our regional office in Bolgatanga, that instead of selling the bidding documents to different contractors, the DCE was photocopying and selling all the five of them, to only one contractor, with different names, suggesting that there were different contractors bidding for the projects.

The accuser, who pleaded anonymity, also alleged that the DCE took a 10% fee, off each project with one estimated at ¢1.5 billion or GH¢100,500.

He claimed that the DCE for the newly-created Kassena-Nankana West District Assembly (KNWDA), Mr. Edward Nchor, whose district had 15 of the projects allocated to it, reported the matter to the Regional Minister, Mr. Alhssan Samari.

According to him, the Regional Minister told the DCE that there were no adequate personnel in his district to handle the projects, thus, the need to allow the Kassena-Nankana district, which was the mother district of the former, to procure and monitor the projects until their completion.

Speaking to The Chronicle, last Monday in his office, Mr. Chegeweh said as the DCE, he did not have a hand in the sales of forms.

He said it was the District Coordinating Director, and the accountant, who handled it.

He said at the District-Wide Assisted Project (DWAP) meeting, recently organized by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, in Bolgatanga, the KNW-DCE wanted to know whether his district could also handle, and benefit from projects under the DWAP, but it was made clear to him that the capacity of the new district was not known, and that only the old ones would be allowed to do all the procurement and monitoring, until somewhere next year, when the new district would be assessed.

Mr. Chegeweh explained that it was against this background that, when the KNW-DCE requested to secure the bidding documents of projects under the IDA/CBRDP, the Regional Minister also asked him to allow the old district procure, and monitor the projects, until they were completed.

He alleged that the new DCE went back to his district, and delegated the Presiding Member and some Assembly Members, to go and see the Regional Minister to find out why the projects were not being given to his district.

He noted that the Regional Minister then called one Wilson, at the Ministry of Local Government in Accra, who directed that if there was such a problem, then the new district could also bid, by collecting the bidding documents from the old one. They were then given the bidding documents, and were currently bidding.

The DCE explained that it was impossible for one contractor, to buy more than one slot within a particular district. He, therefore, ruled out the allegation that there was some manipulation in the sales of the bidding documents, which suggested that he was selling the forms, to only one contractor with different names, in order to amass wealth for himself.

“Even now, this process that we are going through, how can you collect 10% from somebody? What of if he fails to get the contract?” he asked.

He contended that in the whole of the region, no district had more than four schools, but the KND had 17 schools benefiting from the project.

The DCE said the bidding fee was GH¢ 50.00, and competitive, so the assembly could do photocopies to sell to as many contractors as possible. There were five bidding documents in every slot and 15 slots for all the 17 projects.

According him, each project could cost about ¢1 billion or GH¢100,000.

He said there was one slot with two schools, in two different communities, one in the central district, and the other in the new district.

Mr. Chegeweh said when Wilson, of the Local Government, was contacted on how to handle this, he directed that the documents should be brought to Accra, for them to prepare new bidding documents, but the Regional Minister advised that since the rainy season was fast approaching, there was the need for speedy work on the projects. It was for this reason, he noted, that the old district was asked to carry out these projects.

Mr. Chegaweh said he was the Chairman of the Tender Board Committee, with a responsibility of programming the district, and making presentations for projects to come, as enshrined in the district medium term development plan.

That notwithstanding, he is also tasked to ensure timely execution of projects, and quality work, through the technical monitoring team.

Unlike previous projects, which had members of the evaluating team within the district, he noted that the evaluating team of the projects in question would comprise a representative from the World Bank, to be joined by the District Engineer, and the district education engineering representative.

In order to ensure that all the projects were completed, within a period of six months, before the rains set in, the DCE said one contractor was entitled to one project.

In terms of payment, he said the World Bank would pay the money involved, into the account of the District Directorate of Education.

The opening of the bid comes off on May 16, 2008, and would be followed shortly by the evaluation, before the award of the contracts.

He disclosed that so far about 17 contractors have bid. The projects are mainly classroom blocks, including Kindergarten (KG), Primary and Junior High Schools.

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