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General News of Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Source: Chronicle

'Kuluulu' At Ghana@50 Exposed

The commission investigating the activities of the Ghana@50 celebrations was stunned Monday, when it came out that a company by name Appointed Time Screen Printing was given over GH¢37 million contract, after its tender for the same contract had been rejected by the tender board.

This came to light when the Managing Director of Skilled Force Limited, Naa Adjeley Laryea, who was almost in tears, told the Commission that the tender she won to supply Melanin cups was slashed by 50 per cent and the other half given to Appointed Time, who lost to her company during the bid process.

The decision according to her, came as a surprise since she had already ordered her suppliers in China to produce the 5,400,000 souvenir cups. She lamented that her bankers wanted to sell her Dansoman estate residence, a three storey building and another two storey building that was used as collateral to secure loans to execute the contract.

She intimated that her company paid $150,000 for the airlifting of the cups in order to meet the date for the celebrations with no cost charged on the Secretariat. Naa Laryea therefore requested from the Commission that her claim for the sum of GH¢1, 780,000 being the balance due her under the contract, be settled with interest at the prevailing bank rate from November 1, 2008 until the date of final payment.

She further demanded that the National Planning Committee of the Secretariat should pay Prudential Bank Limited the sum of GH¢6,685.04 transfers that she made to her suppliers, Taitop, together with interest. Madam Laryea did not mince words in demanding a compensation sum of GH¢l, 350,000 for the unauthorized use of its sample cup for the benefit of Appointed Time, and loss of profit for the wrongful reduction in the awarded contract.

She contended that Skilled Force created and submitted a specially designed sample cup, adding that "Appointed Time could not have submitted theirs and did not submit a bid under the said tender for the same sample cup submitted by Skilled Force."

The Skilled Force Managing Director insisted that her company's specially designed sample cup was given to Appointed Time without their consent, stressing that the latter produced inferior imitations of Skilled Force's cup which were distributed by the Secretariat to school children.

The Managing Director of Appointed Time, Madam Catherine Aguda confirmed that her company participated in the contract bidding, but lost to Skilled Force, noting that they were later informed that part of the contract given to Skilled Force had been given to them, together with a sample of their cups to guide them in producing the required cups.

She said the total contract sum was ¢32.4 billion but it was later increased to ¢37.8 billion due to express production and speedy delivery, adding that ¢13.9 billion had been paid by the Secretariat while the outstanding debt of ¢23.8 billion remained. She later clarified that Jospong Printing Press was a sister company to Appointed Time, with the shareholder being Mr. Joseph Siaw Agyapong, the owner of Zoomlion. All three companies won contracts from Ghana@50 secretariat.