…For Allegedly Awarding Multiple Contracts To Cronies
Trouble is brewing in the Biakoye District of the Oti Region over poor management of the rather young district’s scarce resources.
Residents, led by some angry Assembly members elected recently are up- in-arms against the authorities in the District for what they described as the looting of the coffers of the Assembly in the name of contracts.
They are therefore gearing up to stage a massive demonstration against the administration of Chief Executive of the District, Comfort Atta, whom they described as rendering a disservice to them in the District.
Following reports of several administrative lapses associated with the management of the Assembly, residents are calling for a forensic audit into the financial expenditure of the Assembly.
Amongst the issues being raised against the administration of the Hon District Chief Executive include, abuse of office, arrogance, misappropriation of the Assembly’s funds and procurement breaches as well as corruption.
This paper gathered that, contracts, including the award of six-unit classroom block at Kotokope, construction of a kitchen facility at Bowiri Senior High Technical School at Bowiri and a critical staff quarters at Nkonya Ahenkro, were all done in secrecy with details of contractors and the execution companies still being hidden from the public, particularly the Assembly members.
What has angered residents in the District and the Assembly members the more, has to do with the construction of a six-unit classroom block for the Seventh Day Adventist School at Ahenkro, which construction has been altered to cater for a three-unit facility and cladding of an existing three-unit classroom block structure.
That contract, according to documents made available to us, was to cost a whopping five hundred and fifteen thousand Ghana cedes (GHc 515, 000, 00).
A visit to the project site by our Editor, and PRINPAG President, Mr. Edwin Arthur as well as other journalists revealed an on-going shoddy work being executed by the contractor, who was on site at the time of the visit.
A probe further revealed the contractor’s identity as Peter Baah operating under the company name of ‘ICONA PLUS ENTERPRISE’.
What our investigations have established is that, owner of ‘ICONA PLUS ENTERPRISE’ Mr Peter Baah owns additional three companies, which he allegedly uses to ‘receive’ contracts from the Assembly with the assistance of the District Chief Executive, Hon Comfort Atta and the Assembly’s Engineer, one Mr Ashiagbor.
This means that, no other company is given the opportunity to tender for any job in the District. This, some Assembly members and members of the New Patriotic Party in the constituency have described as fraudulent and an affront to transparent administration.
This paper can reveal on authority that, contracts related to maintenance and supply of street lights, supply of items for 2018 and 2019 farmers’ day celebrations, items purchased from the disability fund for onward distribution to these disadvantaged people, are all contracts that were awarded allegedly without due process and in breach of the procurement laws, to the same owner of ‘ICONA PLUS ENTERPRISE,’ Mr Peter Baah.
An old Assembly member, who has retained the mandate of his electoral area, and a member of F&A Committee of the Biakoye District Assembly, in a rather angry mood, disclosed that, in a whole year, the Assembly sits only once and described that situation as unfortunate.
According to him, a young District like Biakoye must see a very high level of seriousness and commitment from its managers and decried the level of corruption within that institution.
He revealed further that, there is no openness with the administration of the assembly and revealed of absenteeism on the part of the District Chief Executive.
Not too long ago, there were calls from stakeholders in the District for the arrest and prosecution of brother of the District Chief Executive, one Papa Obroni. Even though Papa Obroni is not a staff of the Biakoye District Assembly, the District Chief Executive released an Assembly vehicle to him. According to information and evidence available to this paper, the vehicle was reported to have collided head-on with a 23-seater sprinter bus heading from Hohoe to Nkwanta.
The accident claimed four (4) lives and injured several others. What we have gathered is that, one of the accident victims, Madam Rebecca Gyemawu has been paralysed from the waist down after suffering several fractures in both legs in the accident.
Again, a twenty- eight (28) year old national service personnel also lost a seven months old pregnancy, her husband suffered a fracture in the right leg while her three year (3) old son was injured in one of his arms.
It is against the above and other damning administrative lapses that have heightened the anger and rancour amongst residents and members of the New Patriotic Party in the Biakoye District.
They are therefore urging the President to take action by instituting an independent investigation into the conduct of the managers of the Biakoye District Assembly.
Meanwhile, in his attempt to take responses from the District Chief Executive of Biakoye, Hon Comfort Atta, Andrew Edwin Arthur, Managing Editor of The New Independent Newspaper, who also doubles as the President of the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana, was met with stiff opposition.
“You are not the one who appointed me. Am with my chiefs….do you expect me to react to the issues here? What has journalists got to do with award of contracts? If you want any information contact my District Engineer,” the DCE told the Editor on phone.
Several calls placed on the District Engineer’s phone went without any response and he has since not returned the calls.