It’s A Big Joke – Foto-X Boss Tell AG
Management of Foto-X, the IT company contracted by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to print biometric driver's licence, has denied any wrongdoing in the deal saying that the order to refund some money is a big joke.
It follows an order by the Attorney General for the company to refund an amount of GH¢15.5 million from the monies paid to it back to the state.
This was after investigations by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOGO) had revealed that Foto-X, which executed the contract, was paid far in excess of the contract sum.
EOCO had established that although the company was supposed to be paid an amount of GH¢5,544,000, the DVLA paid it a whopping GH¢20.9 million between the year 2006 and 2012 – the duration of its first contract with Foto-X.
Auditors had uncovered that the contract sum had been inflated beyond imagination.
What is however, yet to be established is why and how the then chief executive officer (CEO) of the DVLA, Justice Amegashie and management of the state-run organization paid Foto-X far in excess of the entire contract sum of $3.3 million to $9.9 million – three times the value.
The controversial payment came to light when the former DVLA boss was dragged to the Transport Committee of Parliament to answer probing questions about the deal.
At the time, the man was literally on his knees begging for forgiveness over his inability to account for the massive leap in the contract sum.
Not even his 'to err is human' plea could save him public anger as he suffered a huge backlash for allegedly causing financial loss to the state.
That was what caused EOCO to make recommendations for the AG's department to take legal action against Foto-X.
A report from the AG's department subsequently described the contract as fraudulent and issued directives for its cancellation, which was renewed in 2012 by Justice Amegashie under strange and bizarre circumstance.
But as a turn-key project, the AG's department indicated that the contract should not have been extended since the company (Foto-X) had built a system to print driver's licences.
It is for this reason they had instructed that no payment should be made to Foto-X for the second contract as renewed in 2012.
Foto-X Boss Fires Back
But chief executive officer of the beleaguered company, Dr Ian Kluvitse, has made a mockery of the AG's report, describing as a joke its claim that the contract with DVLA was illegal.
This followed the AG's department's indication that the second agreement ($9.9 million contract), could not be enforced because some conditions precedent had not been satisfied.
In an interview with Joy FM, Dr Kluvitse said, “I'd say this is a big joke,” insisting the parties (his company and DVLA) had satisfied the conditions.
“Yes, there was that Memorandum of Understanding but matters went far beyond that; Foto-X did have meetings; the issues that were being referred to were ironed out; Foto-X went ahead to procure equipment; the equipment was customised for the Ghana DVLA by the supplier under the approval of the DVLA,” he explained.
Dr Kluvitse was prepared to show host Kojo Yankson a document that he claimed had 12 signatures approving every stage of the customisation of both the software and the hardware saying, “Not only were these items approved, but when the manufacturers finished their job, the DVLA chief executive actually did travel to Germany with Foto-X to accept the equipment.”
According to him, there are letters showing that the DVLA asked his company to install the equipment for which reason it sounded strange to him if anybody said that was not finality.
He also disagreed to claim that the contract sum was inflated. The project, he asserted, was a build and operate one and that the contract sums were actually what Foto-X was investing in the project.
He indicated that under the terms of the contract, his company was entitled to 80% of all proceeds of printing of licences from the 22 centres and could therefore not fathom what had generated the furore.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu