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General News of Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Zoomlion clashes with Auditor-General over Ghc184 million surcharge

Lawyers for Waste Management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, have made their case before the Accra High Court challenging the decision of the Auditor-General to surcharge the company
Ghc184million.

On October 27, 2018, the Auditor-General issued a surcharge and disallowance against Zoomlion for over Ghc184 million for a fumigation exercise it carried out for the Ministry of Health (MOH) but which was paid by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

That was after an audit conducted by the Auditor-General on the accounts of the NHIA made findings that Zoomlion had between the year 2007 and 2018 allegedly been paid a total amount of GH?184,901,650.00 devoid of due process.

The Auditor-General’s case was that Zoomlion continued to receive payment for the fumigation exercise up to August 2018 even though the contract between the latter and the Ministry of Health was a four-year contract which started from August 2009.

Zoomlion appealed the decision of the Auditor-General at the Accra High Court on October 29, 2018.

Contract still exists

At Wednesday’s hearing, counsel for Zoomlion, Mr Osafo Buabeng, said that the contract ended after four years and was not renewed.

He, however, argued that Zoomlion continued to work up to August 2018 and was duly paid by the NHIA.

It was his contention that the contract was still in force because both parties maintained a contractual relationship.

“It is our submission that by maintaining their respective contractual relationship, both the MOH and Zoomlion impliedly renewed the contract.”

He backed his argument with a Supreme Court decision in 2007 between Social Security Bank Limited and CBAM Services Inc.

No opportunity to respond

Mr Buabeng further argued that he Auditor-General did not give Zoomlion the opportunity to respond to the allegations levelled against the company.

He said a management letter written by the Auditor-General on June 19, 2018 to the MOH and the NHIA which detailed all the alleged infractions by Zoomlion was not copied to the company.

That he said was in breach of Regulation 37 of the Audit Service Regulation, 2011 (C.I 70).

He argued that Zoomlion only saw the letter when the Auditor-General responded to its appeal at the court.

The court, presided over by Justice Georgina Mensah - Datsa, adjourned the case to July 15.

Lawyer for the Auditor-General, Mr Vincent Odikro Nyame, is expected to present the case of the Auditor-General on that day.