A scheduled meeting between former Minister of Education and Sports under the erstwhile Kufuor administration, Yaw Osafo Maafo, and officers of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, yesterday, was called off at the last minute.
Mr Osafo Maafo was on Monday, February 6, 2012 invited by the police to help in ongoing investigations into the strange circumstance under which self-acclaimed financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alfred Agbesi Woyome, who is now in police custody, was paid GH˘51.2million as judgment debt.
Pro-government media outlets had earlier reported that the former minister had virtually abandoned his home and gone into hiding, ostensibly to avoid being arrested.
He subsequently granted a couple of radio interviews in which he said he was more than ready to avail himself to the police anytime they needed him.
But minutes to the meeting which was scheduled for 11am yesterday, the police called it off with unexplained reasons.
Counsel for the former minister, Godfred Yeboah Dame, who confirmed the incident to Daily Guide, said they were on their way to the CID headquarters when they received a call from the officers that the meeting be rescheduled for another day.
The police however did not give any specific date and time for the next meeting except to tell Mr Osafo Maafo, they would inform him in due time.
Contrary to claims that the former minister abrogated the contract of Vamed Engineering, one of the two firms which were recommended for the construction of the stadia at Tamale and Sekondi-Takoradi without cause, DAILY GUIDE has sighted documents which indicate that the former minister indeed assigned reasons for his action.
In a letter dated August 22, 2005 and signed by Mr Osafo Maafo, and sent to the Managing Director of VAMED Engineering which had its offices in Vienna-Austria, he noted, “We regret to inform you that the MOES (Ministry of Education and Sports) is unable to continue with the tendering process due to the high financial commitments implied in the submissions the inconclusive and the non-assuring nature of the financial submissions.”
Copies of this letter were forwarded to the then Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Secretary to the President and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning at the time.
Mr Osafo Maafo stated in the letter that “the Ministry was not in a position to re-tender for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008 because of time constraints.”
Indications are that the minister had the consent and approval of the Public Procurement Board (PPB), as evident in a letter dated October 19, 2005, in which he requested the body to approve ‘single source procurement’ (sole sourcing) for the construction of the two stadia, proposing Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) as the company to take over the construction works since it was said to be having the technical capability to execute the project on time at a lower cost.
This was preceded by earlier letters to that effect dated August 22 and 28, 2005.
Given what the Chief Executive of the PPB at the time, Agyenim Boateng Adjei, said was ‘the self explanatory letter’ from Messrs VAMED regarding their inability to execute the stadia contract, in view of the fact that the construction of hospitals portion of the original tender will not come on, he wrote a letter dated October 26, 2005 to approve the sole sourcing.
“In view of the time bound nature of the project and for the fact that re-tendering at this point will be impractical and in reference to the notes given in points 1-6 above, the Board hereby wish to grant you approval to proceed with Messrs Shangai Construction Group on sole source basis in accordance with Section 40 1 (b) of Act 663 on the assumption that there is firm contract between Messrs Shangai Construction and the government of Ghana prior to this request for approval.”
The approval was therefore in consonance with Section 40 (IB) of the Public Procurement Act which states inter alia, “A procurement entity may engage in a single source procurement under Section 41 with the approval of the Board; (1b) where there is an urgent need for goods, works, services and engaging in tender proceedings is impractical due to unforeseeable circumstances giving right to the urgency which is not the result of dilating conduct on the part of the procurement entity.”
The Vamed contract is what Woyome stood on to defraud the state, claiming he financially engineered €1.2billion for the stadium projects and hospitals which never arrived in Ghana.
Source: Charles Takyi-Boadu
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