Whatsup News has intercepted parts of the 22-page agreement that dubiously ushered in private company Frontier Health Service Limited to be charging US$ 150 for each Covid-19 at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
Strangely, despite the state of emergency that the outbreak of COVID-19 caused in Ghana, not even the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Services or any health parastatal was involved in the contract, rather it was the Ghana Airport Company (GACL) that gave the authorisation to Frontier to be taking genetic samples from Ghanaians an inbound travellers at KIA.
The agreement dated September 1, 2020, was specifically signed between Frontier and the GACL and is titled “The Provision Of COVID-19 Testing Service…” at KIA.
According to the GACL agreement, Frontier had proven its “competence and skills to conduct the mandatory COVID-19 test”, this is despite the fact that at the time of the agreement, Frontier did not even have a license authorising it to undertake such a delicate procedure.
Also, Frontier had no track record whatsoever, having been registered just two months earlier and had no staff nor laboratory to undertake the task.
The curious agreement was signed by Mr. Yaw Kwakwa, the controversial Managing Director of the GACL.
Also questionable is the fact that despite the GACL claiming to have been the one giving the contract to Frontier, GACL is earning just US$10 per test from the US$150 that Frontier charges every passenger that arrives KIA.
Whatsup News gathered that Frontier gives another paltry sum not more than US$10 per test to the Ghana Health Services and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) although all its staff, equipment and know-how were sourced from NMIMR.
The other questionable part of the entire transaction is that none of the government ministers who are responsible for the health and national security situation caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana were aware of the contract or its details.
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 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.
Godfred Dame, who is the Attorney General-Designate also denied knowledge of the deal. The same tone was taken by the then Foreign Minister, Ayorkor Botchwey and Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, the minister responsible for all government procurement contracts.
Investigations by Whatsup News uncovered some connection between Frontier Health Service Limited and President Akufo Addo’s 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.
The entire process of setting up registering Frontier Health Services in Ghana and them securing the contract, some three months after officially registering to operate as a company in Ghana, appeared pre-planned and could have only been possible because of high-level connections that bastardises all legal processes of good governance.
Critics have raised serious questions of cronyism, to which civil society group IMANI Africa has been a spearhead.
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.