The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority Caucus in Parliament has announced plans to launch a bipartisan parliamentary probe into the award of COVID-19 testing contract to Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) by the government.
The NDC Caucus said at a press conference in Accra that it was surprising that four different Ministers Designate, who held the positions in the last Government of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for which they have been re-nominated for same or changed ministerial appointments declined knowledge of details of the contract deal during their vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu Constituency, who addressed the journalists at the Parliament House, in Accra, accused the Government of being evasive and lacking sincerity in discussions on the deal.
At least, three of the Ministers Designate have parried queries on the deal during their vetting to other ministers, a position the Ranking Member called a “comedy of unreliable referrals”.
With no one ready to explain the dynamics of the contract, the Minority said it would move a motion for an enquiry into the contract, when the House, currently on a shut-down due to reported cases of COVID-19, resumes sitting next month.
“We have decided as a Caucus that when the House reconvenes, we are going to move a motion demanding a full-scale inquiry into the Frontiers Healthcare Services contract at the Airport,” Mr Ablakwa said.
He mentioned the Health, Gender and Social Protection, and the Information Minister as some ministers who have asked the queries to be directed to other ministers or entities.
He doubted the credentials of Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited as not being registered at the time it was given the contract, and said the Government breached Section 41 of the Public Procurement Authority Act and the Fees and Charges Act.
The charge for test, fixed at US$150 was also not brought before the House for approval, and that made it illegal.
“Already all the laws have been broken so far as this contract is concerned. The $150 that is being charged needs to be approved by the House, but it wasn’t approved by Parliament. So this $150 charge is illegal,” the legislator said.
In a related development, the Minority Caucus at separate pressers called for immediate dismissal of Dr Alhassan Sulemana Anamzoya, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Development Authority (NDA) for award of contracts to members of the NPP, with strings of payments of additional monies from contractors who were party cronies.
Mr Alhassan Suhuyini, MP for Tamale North, also a member of the panel vetting the nominees, showed to the journalists communication from Mr Sule Sambian, Northern Regional Secretary of the NPP to the CEO of the Authority with an order to give contracts to identified Party faithful.
He also cited a letter from the NDA CEO demanding five per cent extra payments from the said contractors to finance the Party’s 2020 campaign, and produced supposed letters asking CBG to make available loans to contractors who did not have the financial capacity for such projects.