Eight top officers of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) have been cited by a Criminal Investigations Department (CID) report of the Ghana Police Service for breaching the Procurement Act in the awards of contracts.
The officials named in the procurement fraud are Mr. William Brown Acquaye, a former Chief Fire Officer, a Deputy Fire Officer (DCFO), William Jesse Mensah, an Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO), Mr. Michael Yarquah, a Divisional Officer I (DO I) Joshua Nguah and DO II Mr. James Emmanuel Quao.
The rest are DO III Mark Brako-Appiah, DO III Joseph Tetteh Freeman, Mr. Alfred Oliver Mensah, Head of Accounts, and one Mr. Samuel Kofi Buabeng, the Managing Director of Samkobua Trading Enterprise.
According to the report, the act was committed between the period of July 13, 2009 and June 14, 2010. Adding that though the contract sum totaled GH¢626,953, items worth GH¢406,953 were supplied by Mr. Samuel Kofi Buabeng.
The report, dated November 4, 2010, recommended that the culprits be “prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to other public servants in responsible positions.”
The officer, according to the report were involved in procurement breaches in the supply of band instruments for the GNFS Band.
The GNFS, the report said, did not submit to its Tender Committee a procurement plan for approval in respect of the band instruments.
“DCFO William Jesse Mensah, ACFO Michael Yarquah, DOII Joshua Nguah and DOII James Emmanuel Quao knew this, yet they initiated the procurement process which was approved by CFO William Brown Acquaye for the band instruments to be supplied by Samuel Kofi Buabeng”, the report revealed.
The cost of the instruments, the report, signed by then Acting Director-General of the CID, Prosper Agblor, noted that the cost of the items supplied far exceeded the ceiling for both Head of Entity and the Entity Tender Committee.
Being aware of this limitation, Mr. Acquaye, Mr. Mensah, Mr. Yarquah and Mr. Nguah made twelve separate lots to evade this ceiling requirement which is contrary to section 21(5) of the procurement law, the report said.
That section of the procurement law states that “a procurement entity shall not divide a procurement order into parts or lower the value of a procurement order to avoid the application of the procedures for public procurement.”
Mr. Acquaye, Mr. Mensah, Mr. Yarquah, Mr. Nguah and Mr. Quao, the 13 page report said engaged in single-sourcing procurement without providing justification to do so in accordance with the law.
Considering the cost involved, Mr. Acquaye, the report said “should have referred the procurement to the Ministerial Tender Review Board as provided for under schedule 3 of the procurement law but this was not done.”
As an accountant of the Entity Tender Committee, Mr. Oliver Mensah “should have advised the committee when sections of the Procurement Act were being breached, but he failed to do so.”
“The Head of the Internal Audit Department DO III Mark Brako-Appiah and his Deputy DO III Joseph Tetteh Freeman glossed over the malpractices which characterized the procurement of the band instruments”, the report added.
It said of Mr. Buabeng that knowing that there was no tender, yet “when he was informed in the first instance by DCFO William Jesse Mensah that his company had won the bid to supply specified band instruments to the GNFS he did not decline the offer and went ahead and executed the contract.
“He did this on several other occasions. He can therefore not escape blame”, the report said.
By Julius Yao Petetsi