It is curious that the Minority in Parliament who claim to be advocates of good corporate governance in state institutions have remained mute on the $72 million software scandal at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), but are commenting on other matters, Mustapha Hamid, Minister of Information, has said.
The Minority had accused the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government of blatant disregard for the procurement laws of the country in the award of contracts and loans.
This follows the alleged approval of a GHS10,459,500 million loan from the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to the McDan Shipping Company by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, September 5, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the action of the Finance Minister is a breach of the procurement processes and rules since most of the boards and Council of State institutions have not been constituted including the ADB Board.
“Serious questions arise as to whether they have demonstrated respect to our procurement processes. Was the contract awarded using the sole-sourcing process? If the answer is yes, then the law requires the approval by the Public Procurement Authority.Where is the board of the Public Procurement Authority? We are not aware that it has been constituted,” he stated.
But their statement comes at a time it has been established that the management of SSNIT, during the reign of former President John Mahama, signed a questionable $72 million software deal; a deal which is currently under investigations by the Economics and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).
Responding to the Minority’s claim while speaking on the Executive Breakfast Show on Class 91.3FM on Wednesday, September 6 Mr Hamid said: “In any case, in the past few weeks we have seen several issues that have bordered on how people have taken moneys unlawfully from our nation; from dust bins to all sort of things, to SSNIT software and yet the Minority didn’t bother.
“They who are concerned about good corporate governance didn’t do a press conference to just state their position? It is logical for the Ghanaian people to argue that they who are concerned about good governance in corporate organisations do not see SSNIT is not a corporate organisation. The SSNIT issue, in my view, perhaps is more important, arguably, than even the ADB issue because that is where your father’s money goes to and so we should be more concerned about that.
“And that one it is taking the Minority several weeks to study but for the ADB issue it has taken them 24 hours to study. We will leave the judgment to the Ghanaian people.”
Commenting the issues raised by the Minority, Mr Hamid said: “The case is not what the Minority was trying to say, that Ken Ofori Atta, on his own, imposed his will on the bank. How will he know how many people would have applied to a bank for a loan?
“So the bank sought his permission or if you want his approval, because it is the credit bureau of every bank that analyses the risks associated with disbursing a certain loan and come to a conclusion that it should be given, and once that conclusion has been reached, he thought that the assessment had been done and then he gave the approval.
“When a board doesn’t exist, it shouldn’t grind the activities of an organisation to a halt and somebody can act in the interest of the board. When the board comes, all those decisions will still be tabled before the board for ratification and so I don’t find anything so anomalous.”
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