Zongo Development CEO Caught In GHC 5m Procurement Scandal

Investigations by anti-corruption private snoops-Corruption Watch has uncovered a can of worms involving a GHC 5 million procurement breach by the Zongo Development Fund (ZoDF) Arafat Sulemana Abdulai.

According to the investigations, the management of ZoDF led by Mr. Abdulai, reportedly inflated contracts and approving contracts that were above the legal threshold of the CEO.

Some GHC 200,000 of the ¢5 million was spent on procuring Covid-19 PPEs, while the remaining GHC 4.8 million was reportedly used to procure office cabinets and ICT equipment and accessories; recruit contractors for the installation of streetlights and drilling of mechanized boreholes; and the engagement of consultants for various services.

According to Corruption Watch, when it contacted  Arafat Sulemana Abdulai, he admitted to having gone beyond his legal limit by approving a GHC 200,000 contract for Covid-19 PPEs.

Sulemana Abdulai, per the Public Procurement Amendment Act, 2016 (Act 914) can only approve contracts worth ¢100,000 or less.

Sulemana Abdulai was appointed in September 2019 as ZoDF CEO following the death of the then CEO, Mohammed Baba Alhassan in August 2019. He was previously the technical advisor to the late CEO.

In the Corruption Watch report, the questionable contract was awarded to Focus Women Network on March 25, for ¢200,000 after which Sulemana Abdulai wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to request for ratification of the contract because he had breached his permissible threshold as head of entity.

Sulemana Abdulai reportedly sidestepped ZoDF’s entity tender committee (ETC) in the award of the contract even though the transaction was beyond the permissible threshold of the head of entity.

The contract apparently raised some eyebrows as it turned out that the purchases were not pre-planned and were at the whim of the CEO.

“During our interview with Sulemana Abdulai on August 10, 2020, he said ZoDF has an approved procurement plan for 2020 but could not say when the ZoDF ETC approved the procurement plan,” Corruption Watch stated.

“He also declined to speak on issues pertaining to alleged inflation of office cabinets, citing the presence of auditors who were still reviewing the Fund’s books; therefore, arguing that it would be inappropriate for him to speak on matters raised by auditors in their initial observations.”

Dozens of appointees of the Akufo Addo administration have been caught blatantly breaching procurement procedures to approve questionable contracts suspected to have personally benefitted them.

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