You are here: HomeNews2018 06 13Article 659943

General News of Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

No wrongdoing in contract for Sammy Awuku’s wife – GFZA

The Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), has debunked claims that it breached procurement laws in awarding a contract to the wife of the National Youth Organizer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sammy Awuku.

The Ghana Palaver newspaper on Tuesday reported that the Authority “vandalized” procurement processes in awarding what it described as a “juicy” and “lucrative” feeding contract to a company owned by Mary Awuku.

“…the Ghana Palaver has stumbled on exclusive and credible information that a lucrative feeding contract has been packaged by the Executive Secretary of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, Michael Okyere Baafi, for a company owned by Mary Awuku, the wife of NPP Youth Leader, Sammi Awuku,” the newspaper claimed.

The newspaper among other things claimed that the Executive Director of the GFZA increased astronomically the number of beneficiaries of the feeding contract from 80 to 140.

But a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the GFZA, Michael Okyere Baafi, rejected the claims.

According to the statement, when management of GFZA decided to provide lunch for its staff, and they received bids from a number of caterers.

The statement said:, “due process was followed in determining the four most competitive of caterers to provide the service on rotational bi-weekly basis.”

The GFZA said a Food Committee was constituted, made up of representatives of GFZA Staff Welfare Association who drew up a criterion for evaluating proposals received from the caterers and handled the entire process.

“JAESM Catering Services, of which Mrs. Mary Awuku is associated, did indeed put in a bid and ranked third after evaluation. Contracts were consequently signed in April 2017 between the GFZA and the four catering services who ranked tops in the evaluation process.”

Mr. Baafi in the statement further added that JAESM provided services for “a total of four weeks based on the rotational timetable and served notice of withdrawing from the contract “beginning August 2017.”

The statement said within the period, a total amount of GHS15,764.00 was paid the company adding that “ample documentation is available to substantiate these facts as provided to debunk your claim that procurement processes and laws were vandalized’ to debunk your claim that ‘procurement processes and laws were vandalized.”

On claims that the board bloated the number of staff, Mr. Baafi insisted that, again, due process was followed and persons recruited were qualified.

The statement also stated that the move formed part of an expansion exercise.

“Upon assumption of duty of the new management, a re-structuring and re-alignment of the GFZA were carried to fit the new strategic direction of the Authority. This included expansion and opening of regional offices in the Western and Ashanti Regions of the country to cater for free zone enterprises in the western, middle and northern zones of the country.”

“To this end, staff had to be recruited to taking care of staffing needs of the regional offices. Due process was followed and the basis of all appointments were the qualifications that were fit for purpose.”

GFZA in the statement demanded an “unqualified apology” from the newspaper as well as a retraction of the publication.

Below is the full statement from the GFZA:

THE EDITOR

THE PALAVER

ACCRA

Dear Sir

REJOINDER ON PUBLICATION CAPTIONED:

“SAMMY AWUKU’S WIFE GRABS JUICY FEEDING CONTRACT AT FREE ZONES BOARD”

Our attention has been drawn to a publication in your newspaper of the 12th of June, 2018 captioned “Sammy Awuku’s Wife Grabs Juicy Feeding Contract at Free Zones Board. It is unfortunate that your paper did not make any effort to verify the [the facts].

We have read with wonder, your newspaper publication with the above caption which at best is an absolute distortion of facts, or a plain and simple bid to cast a slur on the Executive Secretary of the GFZA and mischievously discredit his manner of steering the affairs of the GFZA.

Much as there are other options open to Mr. Baafi, he has chosen to set the record straight with documentary evidence of the twisted ‘truths’ published in your newspaper. We trust that you will exhibit some level of honour in publishing this rejoinder with an equally screaming headline.

The Claims:

That Micheal Okyere Baafi has packaged a lucrative feeding contract for a company owned by Mary Awuku, the wife of NPP Youth Leader, Sammi (sic) Awuku.

The Facts:

A Management decision was taken to provide lunch for staff of the GFZA. Accordingly, a number of caterers were sourced who bid to provide the service and due process was followed in determining the four most competitive of caterers to provide the service on rotational bi-weekly basis. A Food Committee was constituted, made up of representatives of GFZA Staff Welfare Association who drew up a criteria for evaluating proposals received from the caterers and handled the entire process. JAESM Catering Services, of which Mrs. Mary Awuku is associated, did indeed put in a bid and ranked third after evaluation. Contracts were consequently signed in April, 2017 between the GFZA and the four catering services who ranked tops in the evaluation process.

Suffice it to say that from April 2017 when the provision of lunch was instituted, JAESM Catering provided the said services for a total of four weeks based on the rotational timetable and served notice on the GFZA withdrawing their service beginning August, 2017. With that period, JAESM was paid a total amount of GHS15,764.00 for services provided. Ample documentation is available to substantiate these facts as provided to debunk your claim that procurement processes and laws were vandalized’ to debunk your claim that ‘procurement processes and laws were vandalized’.

Perhaps instead of imputing negative connotations in the form of political cronyism to a gesture that was primarily initiated with the GFZA’s employee’s interest at heart, the Palaver would have better served their image by verifying the information.

The Claim

That Ghana Palaver has also gathered that the Executive Secretary has significantly swelled the number of employees of the GFZA from 80 in January 2017 to 140 currently….”

The Facts

Upon assumption of duty of the new management, the a re-structuring and re-alignment of the GFZA was carried to fit the new strategic direction of the Authority. This included expansion and opening of regional offices in the Western and Ashanti Regions of the Country to cater for free zone enterprises in the western, middle and northern zones of the country. To this end, staff had to be recruited to taking care of staffing needs of the regional offices. Due process was followed and the basis of all appointments were the qualifications that were fit for purpose. We hereby request that the Palaver newspaper retracts the publication and renders an unqualified apology for the misleading publication.

Yours faithfully

MICHAEL OKYERE BAAFI

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY