A National Democratic Congress (NDC) Communicator, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, has expressed shock as to how multiple government officials have denied knowledge of the contract agreement between the government and Frontier Health Services at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
He said it is appalling high-ranking officials who are at the frontline of Ghana’s fight against Covid-19 have told the Appointments Committee of Parliament they were no involved in the contract prior to its signing.
During his submission on Thursday’s edition of Metro TV’s Ghana Morning Ghana hosted by Annie Efua Ampofo, the former Deputy Communications Minister said the government should be held accountable.
“The multiple denials from various agencies who should know is simply the masterisation of the concept of plausible deniability. That’s all they’re doing because they know that the Frontier Health contract, is a can of worms. Nobody wants to take ownership of it. If that thing had been a glaring success, I can tell you, they’ll fall over themselves to take credit that’s why they say that: ‘success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan’ Nobody wants to take responsibility for what is a hot-potato can of worms. Nobody wants to be associated with it,’ Kwakye Ofosu said on Metro TV.
He indicated that the fight against covid-19 is a multi-sectoral effort therefore it is not excusable some key government officials have said they had no knowledge of the procurement processes of the company administering antigen at the airport.
Mr Kwakye Ofosu added that “The Health Minister is the lead public official in charge of the fight against Covid-19. Everything that happens at least, the health side, public health and safety side, falls under his purview. He cannot say that he doesn’t know about the contract. It is true he himself may not be a signatory, agencies execute government’s mandates all the time, but as the one in charge of the fight, the one with whom the backstock he must have knowledge of it – as Health Minister. The Finance Minister because ultimately it involves public finances must have knowledge of it.”
“The Attorney General’s Department, because it is a contract and by virtue of the fact that that department is the chief legal adviser of government should have knowledge of it. National Security [Ministry] by virtue of the fact that, that the testing will occur at a sensitive place like the airport, where they have jurisdiction in terms of providing security, And, indeed I’d like to believe if is it not the case I will be shocked that government is viewing this corona[virus] outbreak as a key national security matter. The Office of the President must have knowledge of what is transpiring, so, at least, the five or so officials who have come before this committee [Appointments Committee] should have knowledge of what has happened even if there, not the ones who penned it,” he argued.
The 2020 NDC Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) Parliamentary Candidate believes some officials were aware of the procurement processes but told the vetting panel opposite of truths.
“I am certain that at least, some of them have knowledge of this contract expect that, they are denying it because they found it is a can of worms.”
The reason the officials distance themselves from the contract, Mr Kwakye Ofosu connotes, there are, “powerful forces involved, because we all know part of the narration has been that, the contract was awarded a certain way and there are certain beneficiaries, close to the corridors of power, so, it is those uncomfortable truths that are compelling these high-ranking officials to distance themselves from it in an embarrassing way.”
He stressed “government does not operate like that. The Ghana Airport Authority on its own cannot go and enter an agreement like that committing the government of Ghana and keep it a secret.”
Ghana’s procurement law provides that emergency procurement and donations shall be undertaken in a natural disaster, epidemics and others subject to the Public Procurement Board’s approval in accordance with Act 663, Section 40.
The government engaged Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests following the reopening of the airport to International Passenger flights.
It was at a point said to be operating whilst unlicensed.
“We were not in normal times; we had to do things quickly and rectify them later,” Mr. Agyemang-Manu said of the situation.
“The licensing was even done on my insistence. When I went to do the checks and I found out that it hadn’t been done and I told them to quickly let us go and rectify the anomaly before things get worse.”
The firm charged $150 for the 30-minute PCR test.
The amount was recently reduced to $50 for ECOWAS citizens and but was maintained at $150 for non-ECOWAS citizens.
Mr Agyemang-Manu also said a presidential taskforce was handling the contract.
Four key government officials have denied knowledge of the details of the contract. Health Minister-nominee Kwaku Agyeman-Manu was first to decline knowledge followed by the former Foreign affairs minister then former deputy Attorney General and then former deputy health minister Bernard Okoe-Boye.
By: Bernard Ralph Adams