The 2015 Auditor General’s report has made adverse findings on a fumigation contract between the Local Government Ministry and Zoomlion, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of companies.
The findings mirror and corroborate damning revelations made by Joy News’ Manasseh Azure-Awuni on the same matter.
The report which is currently being scrutinized by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament suggests that the waste management company failed to fumigate many of the Assemblies despite receiving payment.
Auditors found from many of the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies across the country that the contract had either not been executed at all or has been ineffective in the places where attempts were made to execute the contract.
The findings by the Auditor-General confirm the details of an ongoing investigative series by Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni titled “Robbing the Assemblies.”
The nine-month investigative piece shows that despite an existing fumigation contract with Zoomlion, the Local Government Ministry went ahead to sign another ¢98 million cedis contract with 11 companies, all subsidiaries of the Jospong Group to provide the same service under the guise of preventing a cholera outbreak.
Under the existing contract with all the 216 MMDAs, Zoomlion Ghana Limited in a year receives GhȻ161,000 from each district assembly; GHȻ184, 000 from municipal assemblies; with the Metropolitan assemblies paying GHȻ207,000 each, for fumigation.
There are Six Metropolitan Assemblies, 55 Municipal Assemblies, and 155 District Assemblies. So in all, Zoomlion is paid GHȻ36.3 million cedis to spray refuse dumps, public toilets and markets to curtail the outbreak of diseases such as cholera.
Even though the objective of this contract was among other things to improve sanitation and fight cholera, the country witnessed its worse cholera outbreak in decades which killed over 100 people across the country in 2014.
Despite the shortcomings in the execution of the contract, the then Local Government Minister Collins Dauda in 2015 wrote to the Finance Ministry to release ¢98 million to 11 new companies all belonging to Jospong Group for a 4-month fumigation exercise ostensibly to fight cholera.
Checks by the Assembly members indicate that neither the old nor the new contract was satisfactorily executed by the companies.
Some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across the country are as a result, calling on the government to, as a matter of urgency, cancel the fumigation contract which it signed with Zoomlion Ghana Limited.
Auditor General’s Report
It has emerged the 2015 Auditor General report made findings that were not different in substance from the Manasseh investigative piece.
According to the report, “the DACF Administrator deducted a total amount of GH¢2,871,534.70 from the allocations of six Assemblies for the provision of certain items, equipment and services such as fumigation, training among others. The items and equipment were not delivered and evidence could not be produced to show that the services had also been rendered attesting to claims made by some of the Assemblies that fumigation had not been done at their places."
On deductions by the Common Fund Administrator without the Assemblies benefiting from the supposed services, “our audit revealed that a total amount of GH¢5,835,631.00 was deducted at source from the allocation of 16 Assemblies for the provision of services such as fumigation, sanitation, NALAG dues, training and waste management among others but these services were not rendered," the report detailed.
Again the report says “Part VI, Section 11 of the Financial Memoranda for Assemblies provides that a head of entity shall vouch expenditure to ensure that the services specified have been performed to substantiate payment.
“On the contrary, the Administrator of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund made some source deductions totaling GH¢1,017,845.33 from Tamale Metropolitan (GH¢155,250.00), West Mamprusi District (GH¢480,194.33) and Bunkpurugu-YunyooDistrict (GH¢382,401.00) for sanitation and fumigations services etc. We, however, noted that the affected Assemblies were yet to benefit from the deductions. We further noted that these activities have not been captured in the Budgets, Medium Term Development and Action Plans of the Assemblies.
“We noted during our audit that the DACF deducted a total amount of GH¢1,807,406.62 from five Assemblies’ share of the Common Fund releases for the supply of goods and services. However, there were no records to show delivery of the items to the Assemblies neither did activities like fumigation, sanitation improvement packages etc., take place in the districts. As such the Assemblies have not received value for money for the expenditure,” the report stated.