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General News of Thursday, 12 October 2017

Source: The Herald

Flagstaff House boy caught in scandalous over-age cars deal

The Herald, has chanced upon documents, indicating the Office of The President, acting through the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) is purchasing 1,800 over aged Fiat Panda vehicles from a private company with a questionable financial capacity.

Details of the documents signed on August 10, 2017, between MASLOC and Dextro-Impex Company Limited, reveal the lack of financial stamina on the part of the supplier to execute the contract to deliver the 1,800 cars, which are over 6 years old.

But despite the financial incapacity, MASLOC, through its Chief Executive, Steve Amoah, is strangely providing a bailout for the company by giving it a Letter of Comfort to enable it go in search of a loan to procure the multimillion dollar over-aged vehicles contract.

The Herald, has seen both the agreement and copies of the Letter of Comfort; (an assurance about a debt, short of a legal guarantee, given to a bank by a third party) signed between MASLOC and Dextro-Impex.

MASLOC, it has been argued, could have prevented increasing government’s liability by going to purchase the vehicles directly from the dealers of Fiat Cars in Ghana, rather than using a third party; Dextro Impex to purchase the 6-year old cars.

Apart from the lack of due diligence on Dextro Impex, the new managers of MASLOC, appear to be in an indecent haste to have the cars supplied by Dextro Imprex. It is not clear, if the deal was advertised through a competitive tender.

This has led to some officials of the Office of The President, raising red flags and asking President Akufo-Addo, to have the transaction properly investigated to avoid any future embarrassment, since MASLOC, is under his office.

Interestingly, the same MASLOC management, has left a huge number of cars purchased from MAC Auto & Spare Parts in a state facility behind the National Security Secretariat Castle Annex in Accra, to rot away.

The vehicles bought from MAC Auto & Spare by the previous management, were meant for the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), but the Steve Amoah management, has refused to ensure its quick distribution to the drivers, despite many appeals from them to have the car and pay for them.

Meanwhile, issues making the rounds on the Dextro Impex transaction are, why MASLOC, is buying second hand vehicles from a third party, which has no track record. It was also said that, key officers, including the legal department of MASLOC and their officers, were not part of the drafting and signing of the contract.

The legally binding contract was witnessed by officials of the Finance Department.

MASLOC, should have been dealing with an authorized Fiat dealer in Ghana, with guaranteed and certified road worthiness from the manufacturer for the 1.800 cars, and not an inexperienced Dextro Impex with a huge profit motive.

It was also identified that, MASLOC, currently is without a management board to approve this huge transaction. More so, the Board of Public Procurement Authority, is also yet to be constituted to give approval for this transaction.

Some have also questioned the capacity of Steve Amoah, to commit the government to such a financial burden, by providing a Letter of Comfort without recourse to the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori–Atta.

But the contract between MASLOC and Detrox Impex Company Limited, has already been signed for the latter to bring in the vehicles to be sold at GH ¢16,000 each to supporters of the ruling party, who are giving the government pressure to give them vehicles.

“There shall be a first shipment of 300 units of the cars with the remaining quantity (1,500) shipped over a period of 5 months. 300 units of the cars, shall be shipped every month over a period of Five (5) months”, part of the agreement signed stated.

It further stated that, “MASLOC shall make an initial payment of 10% of the value of the cars with the remaining 90 percent payable over the period indicated”.

There are many questions arising out of this contract, chief among them is, how Detrox Impex, was the company chosen to import the vehicles.

This paper’s own investigations indicate Detrox, was not chosen through tender as the law stipulates.

Detailed checks on Dextro Impex revealed that, the company was first registered on July 24, 2008. The company never renewed its registration at the Registrar Generals department until 2016.

It hadn’t paid Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Value Added Tax (VAT) for the past eight years.

The directors are; Clifford Tagoe, Silas Boahen, Jeffery Ocran, and Elis Aloryi.

The NPP, has already shouted from roof-tops that it will not give contracts to companies through sole-sourcing, but it is obvious that is what has been done in this case.

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