…Registrar caught,

…culpable- Procurement Act ignored

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Nursing the ambition to contest for parliamentary seat in his constituency by 2020, he is trying all things possible to accumulate wealth before the time. This goes contrary to the fact that only politicians are corrupt.

Being the registrar for the Nursing & Midwifery council, an agency of the Ministry of Health, he does not understand rules and regulations of the current system of public administration but rather operates with the stone-age style.

He never consults his management team for any project initiated and executed. There has not been any record of pre-auditing of the projects undertaken but just bully the staff to comply with his orders to pay.

No wonder that some unidentified staff wrote a seven strong point petition against him to the sector Minister and Parliament for investigation which is yet to receive attention.

The Nursing & Midwifery Council is a professional health regulatory body in Ghana to ensure quality, maintain standard and provide safety to its members. By this they generate and control internally generated funds.

The construction of a one story (mini one) to keep their files which they named ‘File House’ with a total sum of Ghc¢650, 000.00 has also taken a dramatic twist.

Mr. Felix Nyante, the Registrar of the Nursing & Midwifery Council, wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) on September 28, 2015 with reference number NMC/95/VOL.25/624 requesting to use a restricted tender for three selected companies: LIDA GHANA LTD, PROSLYN LTD and KODSON TRANSPORT LTD.

In their reply, the Public Procurement Authority granted the request to use the selective tendering. The letter signed by Hon. Silas Mensah, the Chief Executive Officer of PPA on October 15, 2015, approved an amount of ¢400,000.00 for the construction works. This letter was received by the Nursing & Midwifery Council on October 20, 2015,

‘At the 82nd Board Meeting held on the 15th October, the Board decided that approval should be granted Nursing & Midwifery Council of Ghana in accordance with Section 38 (b) of Act 663, to invite the underlisted companies to tender for the construction of the a File House the NMC Office Complex at an estimated cost of GHC400.00.OO: 1. LIDA GHANA LTD 2. PROSLYN LTD 3. KODSON TRANSPORT LTD’’. Paragraph two of the PPA letter states.

‘’Please be informed that, the approval granted you is for permission to use Restricted Tending method in accordance with Section 38 (b) of Act 663 for the intended procurement activity. You are kindly advised to seek concurrent approval from the appropriate Tender Review Board as per the value of the intended procurement activity after completion of the tendering process’’. Paragraph three of the PPA letter states.

Upon this, the Registrar of the Council Mr. Felix Nyante failed to send the request to the Tender Review Board as stated by PPA. And, none of those three companies were given the job but rather handling the project on his personal capacity only without recourse to discussions even with his management team per our investigations.

Prequalification proceedings

Section 23(1) says ‘a procurement entity may engage in prequalification proceedings to identify tenderers who are qualified prior to the submission of tenders’.

Clause (2) says ’Tenderers for prequalification proceedings shall meet the qualification criteria of the procurement entity and the proceedings shall be conducted pursuant to Part IV and V’

More so, the last paragraph of the letter state that ‘Kindly ensure that all documentation regarding the procurement is appropriately kept to facilitate future procurement and tax audits and also post the contract award notice on the Public Procurement website: www.ppagaghana.org’.

Unfortunately to our surprise, the search at the website could not reveal this said contract till date as we monitor since that contract was not awarded to any company. Another shocking revelation sited on the payment voucher failed to show the approval of the internal auditor.

This means that pre-auditing was not done before payments were effected with a cash cheque by and to Mr. Fefix Nyante and his accountant who are the only signatories to the council’s accounts.

According to our investigations, this created tension between Mr Felix Nyante and the auditors again for that matter no document regarding payments on the project were sent for pre-auditing at all.

However, thorough investigation has revealed that Mr. Felix Nyante made another request of an amount of GH¢250, 000.00 to the Public Procurement Authority seeking additional amount to complete the said project which was approved subsequently.

On September 1, 2015 Mr. Felix Nyante received the first payment as the contractor. The payment voucher with an amount GH¢20,000.00 was prepared in the name of the Registrar for a cash cheque approved by Mr. Felix Nyante himself.  The money was withdrawn from account number 31-11-25-5 of the Council with cheque number 152251.

Again, the second payment just like in the first instance, Mr. Felix Nyante received his second payment which was effected on September 28, 2015 in the name of the Registrar with payment voucher prepared by the accounts department verified by the head of Finance, Salisu Omaru approved by Mr Felix Nyante for a cash cheque of an amount of GH¢21,850.00 reference cheque number 152585 withdrawn from account number 31-11-25-5 of the Council again.

This revealed serious indictment in our observation of documents and analysis that Mr. Felix Nyante began executing the project in which he received two payments from the Council against the law before applying for approval from the Public Procurement Authority according to the dates in question.

Payment method at Nursing and Midwifery council

All cheques are written in the name of the registrar who is also the spending officer and approves payments himself. The Registrar and the Accountant are the only signatories to all accounts.

Their money is withdrawn from the Bank of Ghana (BOG) but it has no direct checking or oversight responsibility and does not demand payment voucher before cheques are honoured. This is a loophole in which corruption can be imminent.

The local Tender committee is made up of five persons which included the Registrar, head of procurement, head of stores, head of finance and one technical officer with a threshold of GHC 100,000.00. Above these figure shall be directed to the ministerial level. Meanwhile the PPA referred in their letter to Tender Review Board to handle the process which is at the ministerial level.

Then, how come Mr. Felix Nyante would supervise this without following due process violating the law arbitrarily contrary to act 663?

Decision on prequalification

However, section 24 clause (1) stipulates that ‘the procurement entity shall make a decision with respect to the qualification of each supplier or contractor submitting an application to prequalify and in reaching that decision shall apply only the criteria set out in the prequalification documents’.

When contacted, the Public Relations officer, Mr. Eric Mensah-Ayittey, said none of those allegations exist in their organisation.

‘I want to state officially and on authority that those information you are verifying from us exist’. Eric Mensah-Ayittey replied on phone.

Other events unfold in my next write up.

Source: Charles Agbelie || The Enquirer

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