Former Youth and Sports minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah says a fresh GHC448m debt owed to a sanitation service provider was not because of his negligence in implementing the president’s instructions.
According to him, the story by Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni that his failure to terminate the contract as instructed by the president resulted in the debt is baseless.
Joy News has evidence that the government continued to pay Zoomlion Company Ltd even though the company had no subsisting contract with government agency, the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).
The controversial contract had ended in February 2013.
A cabinet committee’s report signed by the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations Haruna Iddrisu and sighted by Joy News reveals that:
“…the president directed that the Ministry of Youth and Sports should write to terminate the sanitation contract with Zoomlion Ltd. However, H.E. the President’s directive was not carried out to the letter as a result of which Zoomlion Ltd continued to render services to the State since 2013 to date”.
“This situation had resulted in the accumulation of debt amounting to GHC448,150,762 being management service fees due the service provider (Zoomlion). Out of this sum, an amount of GHC62,000,000 has been paid by the District Assembly Common Fund to Zoomlion Ltd.”
But responding to the allegations, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah was emphatic that the president did not instruct him to cancel the deal as claimed in Mr Iddrisu’s memo to Cabinet.
Referring to a government white paper issued on a ministerial committee report chronicling the staggering mismanagement at GYEEDA, Elvis said he was issued with no more than four instructions.
The first is that all payments to service providers are suspended.
A complete review of all the modules under GYEEDA to establish if the public was getting value for money.
A moratorium on the rolling out of any further modules and lastly secure refund of all monies wrongfully paid to several service providers.
None of these instructions included cancelling Zoomlion’s contract, he stressed and said he obeyed all of these directives set out in the government White Paper.
He raised doubts about Joy News’ reliance on a cabinet Committee report for the story.
According to him, the report may not be authentic and if at all it may not have been accepted by Cabinet. He would also not comment on whether he doubted Haruna Iddrisu’s report insisting that cabinet documents are secret and classified materials.
He explained that at cabinet meetings, different memos and reports are tabled and discussed. It is possible that by the time Cabinet is through with a memo or report significant changes and new conclusions may have been drawn.
For any definitive conclusions to be made on the GYEEDA matter, Joy News ought to refer to the White Paper on the GYEEDA scandal.
The White Paper is the public position of government, conclusive and is legally binding. The White paper sets out the directives given to him by the President.
Myjoyonline.com’s checks reveal none of the directives stated by the former minister are captured in the White Paper.
This notwithstanding, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah cancelled all the GYEEDA contracts by December 2013, including contracts that were still valid and running. It is not clear why the Zoomlion contract was still allowed to run and to accumulate a debt up to 448 million cedis when it had terminated and had not been renewed.