You are here: HomeNews2003 07 31Article 40283

General News of Thursday, 31 July 2003

Source: Chronicle

?700m Shoe Deal Rocks CEPS

Click to read all about coronavirus →

The cost of a thousand five hundred pairs of shoes and socks supplied to some officers of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) has raised eyebrows over it and raised serious questions over the whole transaction.

In fact the make and quality of the items via-a-vis their prices have compelled some of the officers who received them to complain vehemently, calling for a probe into the whole transaction.

Each pair of shoes was supplied to CEPS at ?450,000 while a pair of socks cost ?35,000; thus a total amount of ?727.5 million was involved in the whole contract.

But the reaction to the suspicion of malfeasance wh ich The Chronicle received from a CEPS purchasing committee, headed by the deputy commissioner, Research, Monitoring and Information Technology, Comfort Sarfo Boohene, was that "the transaction was done within the rules governing purchasing in CEPS and that all the rules were complied with.

"The purchasing committee says that it chose the best negotiated price based on the information available to it. The ?450,000 and the ?35,000 for the shoes and the socks respectively, were the lowest, and prices ranged from ?510,000 downwards," said the public relations manager (PRM), Assistant Commissioner Pius Austin.

The items were supplied to officers in October and November last year but some of the officers who used them immediately they were received have stopped using them.

The paper gathered that an officer had one of the heels ripped off in the yard. "It has a rubber sole and does not have any special features that merit the price," said one officer this reporter talked to.

Other officers this reporter talked to challenged the cost of the items and said such a pair of shoes could be, at worst, acquired at ?200,000 on the open market while the socks would not exceed ?15,000, per pair.

This was beside the fact that they were supplied in large quantities, a factor that certainly could further bring the prices down. The chairman of the Senior Staff Association, Mr. Larweh, is reported to have complained about this at a workers' durbar after the new commissioner took office - an issue Larweh confirmed when reached.

Chronicle information that they were imported from India was not confirmed or denied by the PRM.

Two companies - Hold Variety and Distribution Agencies and Yorkshell Limited - supplied the footwear. Hold Varieties and Distribution Agencies supplied 1,000 pairs of gents' shoes and socks while the remaining, 500 ladies' shoes and socks, were supplied by Yorkshell Limited.

The contract to supply these items involving millions was not advertised, a fact CEPS confirmed when contacted; but with the explanation that the service had registered suppliers who were invited to tender.

"The purchasing committee sourced for suppliers and invitation letters were directed to dealer firms and companies registered with CEPS to tender for the required items," said the PRM.

According to him, the tender box was opened on December 12, 2001 while the supplies were made last year. Three companies' tenders were opened on the day in question. They were Yorkshell Ltd, Elsbury Ltd and Hold Variety and Distribution Agencies.

When asked what was so special about the shoes that it cost so much, Asst. Commissioner Austin said "they were part of the services' preventive requirements since they perform paramilitary functions."

Send your news stories to and via WhatsApp on +233 55 2699 625.

Join our Newsletter