SADA Broke Procurement Laws In Award Of 32.4 Million Afforestation Contract To ACI – Audit report
The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority has been accused of violating procurement laws in awarding a 32.4 million afforestation contract to ACI Construction Limited.
ACI Construction Limited, which is a subsidiary of the AGAMS Group of Companies, was handed the contract without going through any competitive bidding.
A recent audit report on SADA indicates the award of the contract violates the country's procurement law and recommends sanctions against former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SADA, Gilbert Seidu Iddi.
In Joy FM's series titled the “Sad SADA Story”, Manasseh Azure Awuni reported that in June 2012, SADA awarded ACI Construction Limited, a contract to plant five million trees on 300 project locations in five regions.
These included the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East, Upper West and the Volta regions.
The contract was worth 32.4 million Ghana Cedis and was for one year subject to renewal.
Explaining why ACI Construction Limited was chosen to undertake the project, the former CEO of SADA, Gilbert Seidu Iddi told Joy News that information made available to him indicated the company had been involved in tree planting projects in the coastal area of the central region.
Enquiries made by Joy News, however, revealed that the company did not have any track record of successfully undertaking such tree planting projects.
ACI Construction Limited was registered in June 2010 by Roland Agambire and Miriam Ajavon.
Its authorized areas of business, according to information at the Registrar General's Department were roads and building construction, civil engineering, plumbing and electrical installation, as well as dealers in building materials.
Joy News also intercepted a contract signed between ACI Construction Limited and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology for the youth in coastal sanitation and waste management project.
The-two-year contract was to be renewed based on satisfactory performance, but that was not done.
Some key stakeholders of SADA have expressed concerns about how SADA selected ACI Construction Limited and other projects to execute its projects.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Limuna Mohammed Muniru is of the view that the project should be made to go through proper tender processes and the right company selected on merit, to perform the required job.
“They must have the capacity to do it. We don't just give it to few individuals, who are already known in the system. We must open it up and get the right people to do the job”, he asserted.
Former SADA CEO, Gilbert Seidu Iddi, however, defends the decision to use sole sourcing in selecting ACI Construction Limited for the execution of the project.
“For instance, if we had decided to go through competitive bidding, I am sure that the first tree planting would have been sometime this year.
“The process of going through bidding and all that is so long and tedious”, he noted, further explaining that the bidding process was not a failure.
Additionally, the audit report says although the procurement law makes room for sole sourcing, ACI Construction Limited did not qualify under the law to be awarded the afforestation contract.
It says the company did not have the capacity to execute the afforestation project, hence its failure.
It recommends that management institute action to invoke sanctions against the former CEO, Alhaji Gilbert Iddi, who signed the contract.
However, when questioned on what he would do differently if he was put in charge of SADA again, Alhaji Iddi, surprisingly, responded differently from his earlier defense of the contract.
“The whole process of choosing a technical service provider and using sole sourcing, I will frown on it, as far as the tree planting process is concerned.
“That is the biggest problem. Everything about the tree planting process is alright, except that people have questions about the person we have chosen. Not because we have chosen him but there are question marks about him which [was not known] and [was not factored] in at the time [of taking that decision]“, he noted.
Credit: Manasseh Azure Awuni/Myjooyonline