AFAG Fights Auditor General Over Procurement Breaches
Pressure Group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) is 'begging' the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to investigate procurement breaches at the Auditor-General's Department.
The pressure group says the Auditor-General allegedly violated procurement rules in the purchase of some goods for the office.
AFAG in a statement said its investigations have revealed that “as far back as 3rd January, 2019, the Board of the Public Procurement Authority, in a letter authored by the Board Secretary informed the Auditor-General of flagrant breaches of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended by the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 914) committed by him.”
AFAG expressed surprise that the Attorney General has not taken a decision on the alleged breaches since January 2019.
Director of Operations at AFAG, Davis Opoku said in an interview that the group had given the Attorney-General a two-week ultimatum to investigate the matter or face their wrath.
“If the watchman of the state will clearly violate the rules that we have put together, we expect the Attorney General to act and act quickly and that is our call. We have given an ultimatum, failure to which we will write to the President.”
AFAG in the statement also asked for the report to be made public.
Below is the statement from AFAG:
IS AUDITOR-GENERAL COVERING UP FOR ITS OWN PROCUREMENT MISDEEDS?
As the President and the Republic fight to clean the system of abuses, breaches and corruption, the Auditor-General has been caught right in it. Procurement breaches are firmly rooted at the Auditor-General's office.
AFAG investigations have revealed that as far back as 3rd January, 2019, the Board of the Public Procurement Authority, in a letter authored by the Board Secretary informed the Auditor-General of flagrant breaches of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended by the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 914) committed by him.
AFAG has gathered that a letter was delivered to the Auditor-General in January 2019, deploring the conduct of the Auditor-General in the procurement breaches and referring the report of the PPA to the Attorney General for the appropriate action. AFAG is surprised why the Attorney General has not taken?
The PPA, pursuant to sections 3(d) and 89(1) of Act 663, caused an investigation into the procurement and other related records of the procurement of goods, works and services by the Ghana Audit Service for the period January 1, 2018 to August 31, 2018.
In the course of carrying out its investigations, the PPA reviewed documents relating to the procurement of goods and consultancy services by the Ghana Audit Service, visited the general stores of the Audit Service and interviewed various stakeholders and senior officials of the Audit Service.
The report, which is dated 20th December, 2018 and submitted to the 8th Board Meeting of the PPA in December, 2018, cited the Audit Service for various breaches of the Public Procurement law relating to:
i. Failure to establish Entity Tender Committee in the manner set out in the First Schedule of Act 663 and in accordance with the categories set out in Schedule 1B of Act 663.
ii. The use of the unlawful composition of the Entity Tender Committee set up by the Auditor-General, Daniel Domolevo, to carry out procurement contrary to Act 663. In simple terms, what exists at the Auditor-General's office looks like a family and friends entity tender committee, and AFAG cannot condone such a situation.
The implication of this severe and blatant violation of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act by the Auditor-General is dire. The Audit Service's failure to comply with Act 663 means that all procurements approved by the unlawful composition of the ETC purportedly put in place by the Ghana Audit Service are null and void. This is a serious breach, which needs urgent action to redress. It also renders the Head of the procurement entity, the Audito-General, Daniel Domelovo liable for criminal prosecution, because a breach of any of the provisions of Act 663 constitutes an offence.
In the Report in question, the PPA further faulted and held as unlawful, a contract by the Ghana Audit Service for the purchase of Toyota vehicles at an estimated contract sum of GHC6, 183,559.20. This is because the PPA determined that the evaluation panel, which carried out the procurement activity by the Audit Service did not have the competence or capacity in terms of the Public Procurement Act to discharge the exercise. Quite seriously and in what evinces a clear intention by the Audit Service not to comply with the Public Procurement Act, the evaluation panel set up by the Auditor-General also failed to use the predetermined evaluation criteria published in the invitation to tender and the tender documents as required under section 20(e)(2 of Act 663.
The contract was also awarded and the goods delivered before the Audit Service wrote to the Central Tender Review Committee for concurrent approval contrary to Section 20(4) of Act 663 as amended.
AFAG has learnt that the Auditor-General had approached the PPA with the view to obtaining a ratification of these grave and reprehensible procurement practices. The Board of the PPA flatly refused this, in view of the severity of the violations. AFAG wishes to quote a section of the PPA's Board response dated 3rd January, 2019 notes as follows:
“The Board's attention was drawn that the Ghana Audit Service had written to request for ratification in accordance with section 90(3)(c) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended by the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 914). This request was duly discussed and rejected by the Board .
The Board deplored the conduct of the Ghana Audit Service in breach of the Public Procurement Law and recommended referral of the Report to the Attorney-General's Department for appropriate action.”
1. AFAG calls on the PPA to make the report public.
2. We challenge the Attorney General to within one week commence criminal investigations into the procurement breaches of the Auditor-General.
3. Furthermore, in the coming days, AFAG would present a petition to the President concerning these breaches and failure of the Attorney General to faithfully execute her duties.