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General News of Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Source: Alliance For Accountable Governance

Forestry Commission Sponsors Massive Financial Loss To The State

PRESS STATEMENT
26/04/11



Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.

The Alliance for Accountable Governance(AFAG) wishes to bring to the fore, conscious efforts, taken by the Forestry commission and 3 other companies to deprive the state of 8 million dollars invested in mass afforestation exercise commission by His Excellency John Evans Atta-Mills on 24th July 2009 at Yefri in the Kintampo South District of the Brong-Ahafo Region.

After the Global conference In Copenhagen on Global warming, The World has seen such tremendous initiatives on Afforestation and Environmental protection. It was therefore welcoming news when Government came out with the “GREENING GHANA” Project.

Subsequently, the then Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Collins Dauda announced Government’s plans to expand the National Forest Plantation Development Programme to include areas located outside forest reserves commencing 10th September, 2009.

The Forestry Commission (FC) per their constitutional mandate (Act 269) was tasked with the oversight responsibilities of seeing to the successful implementation of this Programme.

The FC in a letter dated 27th January 2010 Sought Approval from the Hon Minister to Initiate Action on Seedling Production Contracts Which Appeared to Have Delayed.

In this regard, the FC Board On 2nd February, 2010 requested the then Hon Minister to waive the Procurement procedures to enable large Scale Producers to be contracted in raising the Seedlings.

The CEO of the FC then directed The Executive Director of the Forestry Services Division (FSD) to include In the Seedling Production Guidelines the need for groups/individual Nursery Operator Supplying Seedlings for the Programme to be recommended by the respective District Assemblies. The ED of the FSD communicated subsequently this directive to all regional managers on the 5th of February 2010.

However, contrary to all previous arrangements, the CEO of FC applied to the PPA to seek approval to engage ECOTECH Services Limited a company formed barely 3 months earlier to supply seedlings for the Plantations.

The PPA in a letter on 6th April 2010 requested the Ag. CEO of FC to provide the following information about ECOTECH;

1. Profile of the Company
2. How FC Intended to Deploy them and
3. The Estimated Cost of Engagement.

Quite strangely the Forestry Commission and its board totally disregarded the Laid down rules of procurement under sole sourcing and in a bizarre twist handed a juicy contract worth Ghs3, 000,000 Cedis Plus (Thirty Billion Old Ghana Cedis) to a two month old company with no previous industry experience.

This situation led to the incapacitation of the Forestry Services Division (FSD) of the FC to execute this project as scheduled initially, thereby sidelining them and giving way to this unprecedented looting and unbridled Corruption at the FC.

This is a major setback to the fight on corruption by the Mills-Mahama Administration and the President must crack the Whip. As we speak, not a single seedling has been supplied, the deadline for the execution of the project are few days away and we strongly contest also, the award of a 30 billion old Ghana cedis contract to a 2 months old company with no previous working experience in the that industry.

We in AFAG demand therefore with immediate effect the resignation of the Board Chairman and the CEO of the FC to save the Ghanaian tax payers money from further abuse from such greedy and heartless Public officials.

AFAG’s investigations are ongoing to reveal 2 other companies who each have won a 30 billion old Ghana cedis contract for the supply of seedlings and provision of management consultancy services in this regard from the FC totalling to an overall financial loss 90 billion old Ghana cedis to the state to the ‘’Greening Ghana’’ project.
AFAG will use every legitimate means to fight these cancerous cells in our state institutions and will make no distinction between the conspirators and those who support them.

We demand also from His Excellency The President, to set up a probe into this matter and deal with whoever may have a handling the MISUSE, ABUSE and OVERUSE of the Public Purse.

AFAG is willing to make available to the committee of enquiry all documents needed to take action on the perpetrators of this devious crime against the state as we pursue this issue to its logical conclusion.

We are hopeful that having completed all our ongoing investigations on this issue, shortly per press conference, we shall be in the position to reveal to you persons (Political cum Public officials) and companies behind this scandal.
Thanks you and May God Bless us all.

Signed:

Dr.Nana Ayew Afriyie (0244 7803 59)
Kwamena Bomfeh (0244 535472)
Samuuel Awuku (0244252052)
Arnold Boateng (0244294754)
Henry Asante (0248274646)
Davis Opoku (0244861593)
Bright Acheampong (0276374763)

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