Three top officials of the Ministry of Health alleged to have defrauded the state to the tune of GH¢646,000 have been arrested by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).
The officials, who are alleged to have forged documents, engaged in corrupt procurement processes, and willfully caused financial loss to the state, are facing prosecution at the High Court (Financial Division).
They are the Director of Administration, Mr. Robert Azumah, Director of Internal Audit, Mr. Christopher Kofi Elleblu and the Head of Estate, Mr. Michael Kyere-Yeboah. The fourth accused, Ben Atsu Elleblu, is a businessman.
The charge sheet from the Attorney-General’s (A-G) Department intercepted by The Ghanaian Times indicated that the syndicate perpetuated the crime from 2008 until they were busted through investigations conducted by EOCO.
It said through an internal memo dated July 9, 2008, the Director of Administration, one of the accused, submitted to the then Minister of Health, the late Major Courage Quashigah, a proposal for a planned periodic maintenance work on 52 training institutions under the ministry.
The objective of the proposal, it said, was to cut cost and prevent the practice of carrying out maintenance works on need basis which always attracted huge costs.
“Part of the proposal was for private enterprises to be engaged to undertake the routine preventive maintenance on an annual basis for five years,” it said and added that the proposal was approved by the then minister on August 1, 2008.
The prosecutors indicated that contracts were awarded to cover each of the schools at various costs which ranged between GH¢20,000 and GH¢40,000 per annum.
“Investigations revealed that the contracts were not advertised but were awarded to Anvalex, Dansy, Mantosa, Betyros and P-Takon Enterprises in accordance with the approved proposal,” it said and added that invoices in respect of the five entities which won the contracts were submitted by Mr. Elleblu (the Director of Administration at the Ministry).
It noted that Dansy Enterprise owned by the Director of Administration, which won 14 out of the 52 schools through a fraudulent procurement process, was not duly registered and unknown to the Registrar General’s Department.
It said the remaining entities, though found to have been duly registered in other people’s names, were used by the Director of Administration to secure the contracts without their knowledge or permission.
In his caution statement, Mr. Elleblu admitted that he generated invoices for these companies himself without the knowledge of the lawful owners.
The prosecutors said per the proposal, advance mobilisation fees of 50 per cent of the annual charge for the first year in 2008 was to be paid to the entities and alleged that the 50 per cent of the contract sum totaling GH¢647,000 was paid by Mr. Michael Kyere-Yeboa, the Head of Estate at the ministry via the ministry’s payment voucher as advanced mobilisation fee for the 52 maintenance contract awarded.
“Investigations revealed that although these payments were made, maintenance works were not carried out in some of the institutions and in some cases, a few of the training institutions were non-existent,” the prosecutors said.
By Yaw Kyei