A former Procurement Manager at the National Lottery Authority (NLA), Benony Bleponny, is accusing the Director-General, Kofi Osei-Ameyaw and Human Resource and Administration Director, Fiifi Amissah, of manipulating the process in order to give 11 contracts to Ram’s Kitchen owned by the former’s in-law.
According to a document authored by Mr Bleponny, five contracts were allegedly taken from two companies – Daises and Danboag – which had won bids and given to Ram’s Kitchen on the instruction of Mr. Osei-Ameyaw.
In the process, the NLA reportedly paid Ram’s Kitchen GHS17,527 more than it would have paid to the two companies which won the contracts. Those five contracts, based on the evaluated bids of those two companies, were worth GHS157,605. But NLA paid GHS175,132 to Ram’s Kitchen to execute those same contracts.
This negates the assertion by Member of Parliament for Effutu constituency, Central Region, Alex Afenyo Markins who had said on JoyNews when the news broke on Joy FM, that the award of contracts to Ram’s Kitchen rather saved the NLA and the state money.
Corruption Watch investigations revealed that the Director General of NLA, Kofi Osei Ameyaw, allegedly involved himself directly in the award of contracts worth more than half a million cedis to his sister-in-law Rama Hassan to supply and distribute end of year packages.
But the contract sum quoted by Rama Hassan was broken down into 11 different contracts, a development some say was done to circumvent provisions of the Public Procurement law, which forbids the NLA boss from approving contracts beyond the GHS100,000 threshold.
The highest of the 11 contracts is GHS99,470.
In a dossier prepared and submitted to the Board Chairman of NLA and intercepted by Corruption Watch, Osei Ameyaw, the Entity Head of the NLA, who is authorized to approve the contract awarded to Ram’s Kitchen, a sole proprietorship, allegedly ordered that lower bids from other companies should be removed from the procurement evaluation. This ensured that Ram’s Kitchen stood out as the lowest bidder.
Mr Bleponny in a recorded interview aired Wednesday, May 9, on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, explained the circumstances surrounding the award of contracts to Ram’s Kitchen, claiming the company won only a portion of the 11 contracts advertised.
“Rams Kitchen won six out of the 11; Daises won one [and] Danboag won four…what happened has Fiifi removed Daises and Danboag invoices from the 11 contracts that were given and then we gave everything to Rams Kitchen,” Bleponny told Frederick Asiamah, an investigative journalist with the Corruption Watch team.
The claim of unjust transfer
When the controversial contract awards came to the attention of the media and the Presidency, Mr. Osei-Ameyaw allegedly ordered the acting Procurement Manager, Benony Bleponny to alter the list of registered suppliers for 2014 to 2016 in order to fix in Ram’s Kitchen, which had never done business with the NLA. He also allegedly coerced the procurement manager to lie to the Chief of Staff to cover up the impropriety.
After the procurement Manager declined to further assist him, he has carried out his threat to transfer him.
On April 17, 2018, Mr. Benony Bleponny, the immediate past Acting Procurement Manager at NLA, received a letter titled “CHANGE OF JOB RESPONSIBILITY…” informing him of his removal from his post.
The following day, he received another letter transferring him to the Volta Regional Office in Ho as “Senior Sales Executive,” an assignment Mr. Bleponny describes as victimisation by Mr. Osei Ameyaw and his main ally, Mr Fiifi Amissah, the Acting Director, HRM & Admin.
Both Mr Osei Ameyaw and Mr Fiifi Amissah did not respond to requests from the Corruption Watch team for a response to the allegations.