How a brand new Ghanaian company with no history or experience managed to win a 518million Ghana cedi contract on a sole-source basis only after a few weeks of its incorporation has shocked anti-corruption advocates who are demanding answers from Education Minister Dr. Emmanuel Adutwum and the Ghana Education Service.
The new company K.A. Technologies, just like its counterpart which got a contract to supply 853,000 mathematical sets at Ghc75 each, got a contract to supply 280,000 laptops at a cost Ghc1,500 (later inflated to Ghc1,851) making a total of Ghc518,000,000 for the whole contract. Government will bear 70% of the cost while teachers pay the remaining 30%.
The cost of the laptops which has a mere Celeron 1.0 speed processor, a 4GiG Ram among others is believed to have been inflated by more than 300% according to two teacher unions, who are also protesting the fact that the laptop cost will be deducted from the Professional Development allowance of Ghanaian teachers against their will.
Checks at the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) revealed K.A Technology registered with the state procurement agency on 4th November, 2020 and had no prior business activity having been registered only days earlier. It lists its only clients as Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service. It registered its web domain on 20th November 2020 and started updating it on 30th June 2021 through one Kwabena Nana Kwarteng.
Nana Kwabena Kwarteng the suspect front used for the contract is a supposed man of God with an IT company, Enigma, based on the Spintex Road, same address perimeter for K.A Technology Limited, which appeared to have been hurriedly incorporated for the sole purpose of winning the Ghc518million laptop contract.
Copies of the contract bids from the Public Procurement Board pursuant to section 40(2) of the Public Procurement Act, 663 have been hidden from the public whereas the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and the Public Procurement have jointly refused to make public further details of the contracts for scrutiny as required by law for contracts of this nature. Suspicion was heightened when two teacher unions’ investigations revealed the contract was sole-sourced.
Further checks by MyNewsGh.com revealed that the Mandatory Eligibility Criteria set forth in Section III (C) of the procurement of the Information Technology Product document issued by the Public Procurement Authority was not met by K.A Technology Ltd. before grabbing the half a billion contract.
K.A Technology which claims to be theactual manufacturer of the Teachers Mate 1 (TM1) laptop failed to obtained clearance from the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to certify the quality standard and durability of the laptop it is supplying and to confirm whether the laptops are being indeed produced in Ghana or being imported from China surreptitiously but branded “Made in Ghana” and at what cost.
The GSA certification is more important especially when the Education Ministry bypassed brands like Dell, Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, HP, Lenovo and other established brands with reputation for producing quality laptops. As at today, 21st November, 2021 that has not been done. MyNewsGh.com is reliably informed the company is now trying to obtain a certification after a first batch has already been distributed.
The same K.A Technology was revealed to have unlawfully obtained a tax clearance certificate to facilitate its legitimization of the dubious sole contract it was awarded.
Further checks from SSNIT revealed the company only recently obtained a certificate from the state company.
These were all after two teacher unions petitioned CHRAJ to probe how the new company won the contract, when it was incorporated, the names of the Directors, Secretary, the company’s valid business registration certificates, valid tax clearance certificate and VAT Registration certificate.
There is strong suspicion among various teachers that the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), and the Coalition for Concerned Teachers (CCT) have all been somehow silenced or compromised regarding the said contract.
Two Teacher Union groups- the Innovative Teachers and the All Teachers Alliance Ghana believe that per the laptop specifications given, the laptop contract has been inflated by more than 300% and are in court and at CHRAJ to challenge it.
Sole-Sourcing a conduit for corruption- Boakye Agyarko
In 2016, then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) accused the Mahama-led Administration of abusing the country’s sole-sourcing procurement rules for personal gain. The party said government is capitalizing on the procurement rules to engage in corrupt business practices.
“Anything you do by sole sourcing is not the most efficient. When you sole source, you are not getting the best competitive rate.” Then Policy Advisor to the NPP flagbearer, Boakye Agyarko told Citi Breakshow Show host, Bernard Avle. He said then Mahama’s government’s practice of procuring goods and services through sole sourcing has resulted in the country getting bad competitive rates.
Mr Boakye Agyarko said, an NPP government will restrict the over-reliance on sole sourcing as a procurement tool as a way of reducing corruption in the country.
Math Set contract
The Education Ministry is no stranger to dubious contracts doled out on sole-sourcing basis. MyNewsGh.com was the original website that broke the news of the maths sets contracts and the arrest of Kwadwo Darko-Mensah, which all other websites picked from.
This scandal came up over the sole-sourced procurement of 853,000 pieces of Kapek Mathematical Sets Instruments at Gh¢75 each, which Africa Education Watch revealed Liberia and Sierra Leone procured the same sets from the same company even at retail price got it cheaper than what Ghana got for wholesale of 853,000 pieces.
MyNewsGh.com was also informed that the person behind the contract is the wife of big man who owns a big beach resort in Ghana but used Bluegrass Limited owned by Onasis Kwadwo Darko-Mensah as a front.
In a rather dramatic twist, Africa Education Watch also revealed that the actual price government planned to pay for the Mathematical Sets was Gh¢93 and not Gh¢75 as the Ministry of Education even claimed.
This excluded a free tax exemption of $3.6million granted to the contractor, one Kwadwo Darko-Mensah.
CEO of Africa Education Watch, Mr. Kofi Asare said it is “very funny” for Education Ministry to justify the price of the mathematical sets using Kapek scientific calculator as decoy, as the same package costs far less in Liberia and Sierra Leone which also operate under WAEC.
The difference between KAPEK and the real scientific calculator is, KAPEK has no memory and cannot be programmed; Just to prevent students from putting stuff on then into the exam room. That is all.
So it is cheaper than the regular scientific calculator which is programmable. As for the plastic mathset it comes with, we know the price. Just go to Makola. Its less than GH 20. Infact, a similar KAPEK Mathematical Instrument sells for $10 In Liberia and $12 in Sierra Leone at retail; not wholesale. (Both WAEC member countries)
This Blue Grass Company bought ours at international distributor bulk order quantity of 850,000 and still supplied to government at $17 (inclusive the taxes*)
The unit cost is not GH 75; its GH 93. The GH 17 million tax exemption must be added to the GH 63 million and divided by the 853,000 pieces. He explained.
He said WAEC also didn’t make it compulsory to acquire the math sets as claimed by the Mathew Opoku Prempeh to justify the contract.
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