So far, more than five government Ministers in the first term of the Akufo Addo administration have admitted they were not privy to the details of what went into awarding the dubious contract to Frontier Health Service Limited to begin testing for Covid-19 at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
The Minister of Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botwe, the Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame Yeboah and the Procurement Minister, Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, have all denied being privy to details of the Frontier contract.
The denials are leading to confirmation of earlier speculations that the deal that is charging an outrageous US$150 on every inbound travellers to Ghana through KIA for COVID-19 test, was cooked at President Akufo Addo’s own office because the owner of Frontiers is the President’s friend.
For instance, when grilled by Parliament’s Appointment Committee, the Ghanaian Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu claim he did not know that Frontier was asked to commence COVID-19 testing at the KIA without them having a proper license to carry out the delicate task.
“When I went round to do the checks and found out that this hasn’t been done, I said No. Quickly let us go and rectify it before things get worse,” Agyeman Manu told the appointment committee.
Last Friday, Godfred Dame, who is the Attorney General-Designate also denied knowledge of the deal, “Mr Chairman, I’m not in the position to tell whether indeed it was referred to the office of the Attorney General. Even this afternoon, I have indicated that the Agyapa agreement, we spoke about it extensively, I was not the one who worked on it because the Attorney General assigns work as and when necessary,” he explained.
The same tone was taken by the then Foreign Minister, Ayorkor Botwe and Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, who was supposed to be President Akufo Addo’s Chief Advisor on issues relating to procurements and international contracts.
Investigations by Whatsup News uncovered some connection between Frontier Health Service Limited and President Akufo Addo government.
Benedict Peters, the Nigerian Billionaire behind the ownership of Frontier is a mutual friend of President Akufo Addo and former Nigerian President, Gen. (Rtd.) Olusegun Obasanjo.
Critics have concluded that this familiarity was responsible for the preferential treatment given to Frontier Health Services.
The company is charging a whopping US$150 for every inbound passenger at the KIA. Even though the company is virtually using the staff and facilities of the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), the Ghana Health Services and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, it gets to keep the lion’s share of the loot of over US$13s per passenger and leave the three state institutions to split some US$ 14 per passenger among themselves.
The entire process of setting up Frontier Health Services was in a questionable manner in which the Akufo Addo government the contract to the company proper procurement processes or tender processes, raising serious questions of cronyism, to which civil society groups such as IMANI Africa has raised endless red flags.
Incidentally, the point man at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) who facilitated the entire deal to hand over the contract to charge each traveller to Ghana US$ 150 each in the guise of a mandatory COVID-19 test, is a cousin to President Akufo Addo-Professor William Kwabena Ampofo.
Professor Ampofo is the Coordinator of the National Laboratory for COVID 19 Testing at Noguchi. This publication has obtained an August 27, 2020 letter addressed to Prof. Ampofo, from Frontier Healthcare Services “requesting for covid-19 testing support at Kotoka International Airport”. The letter was signed by Dr. Emmanuel Acquaye, a Director at Frontier Healthcare Services.
Frontier Health Services (with registration number CS1144092020) was incorporated In Ghana on July 21, 2020, and received its certificate to commence business the same day. Its parent company, Healthcare Solutions Services Limited was also incorporated in the same fast-tracked manner on June 3, 2020.