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General News of Monday, 3 June 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

CHRAJ report on Zoomlion corruption missing at A-G's office

A report on alleged corruption relating to waste management company, Zoomlion, is missing at the Attorney-General’s Department.

Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) which investigated Zoomlion and the Office of the Administrator of the Common Fund said it submitted the report in June 2018.

But the Attorney-General office says it is yet to receive the report.

It took CHRAJ years to investigate Zoomlion after a whistleblower from the Tano South District of the Bono Ahafo Region alleged the company was colluding with the assembly officials to defraud the state.

The allegation was based on JoyNews’ investigations into the Sanitation Improvement Package contract in which Zoomlion was required to dispose off waste containers in all 216 district assemblies at that time.

JoyNews investigations by Manasseh Azure Awuni, titled Robbing the Assemblies, found evidence the company was paid even before it lifted the waste containers using monies deducted from Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

The practice had been going on for at least 10 years.

In almost all the 53 assemblies JoyNews visited, the assemblies say Zoomlion does not lift the containers in time, resulting in spillage of refuse. As pressure from residents grows, the assemblies are often forced to moblise extra funds to lift the containers.

The whistleblower believes Zoomlion was paid for no work done. The value of the contract remains unspecified but it said to run into several millions.

But CHRAJ’s investigations survived failed attempts by Zoomlion to use the courts to halt the process.

The report, the CHRAJ boss Joseph Whittal said, is confidential but pointed out it is “in the interest of the state” because of “probable loss of funds.”

He said despite the protracted investigations, CHRAJ is not mandated by law to follow up at the Attorney-General’s department.

It would suggest the Commission has an interest, he explained.

Joseph Whittal is nonetheless frustrated the Commission lacks the mandate to prosecute. “We should have been able to proceed on our own,” he said after signalling its findings were based on allegations of corruption and conflict of interest relating to Zoomlion.

He said the Commission has evidence showing the report was delivered at the Attorney-General’s Office for close to a year.

“It is long gone,” he said but stressed the Commission won’t quibble over the location of the report. CHRAJ is willing to re-submit a copy of the report to the A-G, he said.