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General News of Saturday, 9 September 2017

Source: thefinderonline.com

Prosecute experts, consultants who supervised inflated contracts - Ace Ankomah

Following revelations of suspected inflated contracts, private legal practitioner Ace Anan Ankomah is calling for severe sanctions against consultants and experts hired by the state and assigned the affected projects.

He explained that since the consultants and experts are hired and paid to protect the interest of Ghana during contracts, in case of infractions, such as padding, the consultants and experts should be made to face the law.

He suspects that the consultants and experts allow the inflated contracts to enable them make extra cut on the side.

Lawyer Ankomah, therefore, charged the state to implement Government Contracts (Protection) Act, 1979 (AFRCD 58) to jail culprits, who should also be made to refund three times what was lost.

He described the law as ex-President Jerry John Rawlings’ biggest anti-corruption legacy, which was rendered impotent because it was never used.

Act 1979 (AFRCD 58)

Government Contracts (Protection) Act 1979 (AFRCD 58) states that a person who is responsible for issuing certificates for the payment of money out of public funds to contractors or any other person in respect of government contracts is jointly and severally liable with that contractor or that other person for the refund of the money so paid where he/she issues the certificate for payment.

This should happen when the person issuing certificates for the payment of money out of public funds to contractors or any other person in respect of government contracts does so knowing that the work/service has not been performed, the goods have not been supplied, the money was not otherwise due under the contract, recklessly careless whether the work had been done or not, as well as the goods have been supplied or not, the money is otherwise due under the contract or not, or where in the issue of the certificate that person was grossly negligent.

Receiver of payment punishable

According to the law, without prejudice to the civil liability, (i) that person, (ii) the contractor, and (iii) any other person who knowingly accepted a payment made in any of the above circumstances is liable to a fine of up to three times the amount of money of the improper payment or to imprisonment of up to 10 years, or to both.

Government Contracts (Protection) Act, 1979 (AFRCD 58) states that where it is proved that the person responsible for the certificate was bribed into issuing the certificate, or that the issue of the certificate was otherwise attended by a corrupt practice, both the ‘bribor’ and the ‘bribee’, and any other person who knowingly participated in the bribery/corrupt practice commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment (between five and 15 years), and a penalty equal to three times the amount of money of the improper payment.

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