?Gilbert Iddi, ACI, Plus One, Kasmed Seed major culprits

In a move that would silent political cynics and critics, President John DramaniMahama has pressed the final anti-corruption red button and made a giant and decisive step in the fight against systemic corruption, graft and abuse of power in his administration by ordering the retrieval of various sums of monies wrongly paid to some individuals, companies and organizations by the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), exclusive information available to The aL-haJJ has indicated.

President John Mahama
President John Mahama

Available information from impeccable sources at the presidency suggests that President Mahama has given specific and firm instruction to the newly constituted board and management of SADA to use all means necessary within the confines of the law to retrieve all monies wrongly paid to individuals, organizations and companies back to SADA chest.
Prior to that, this paper has also gathered that the President in his resolve to fight the canker of corruption that has bedeviled SADA, in both fiscal year 2013 and 2014, personally blocked budgetary allocations to the troubled Authority, and instead asked them to use remnant of the GHc200m seed capital that was mobilized for the agency in in the second half of 2012, a chunk of which was unfortunately dissipated by the Gilbert-Iddi led management.
Again, in 2015 President Mahama only authorized allocation of only GHc400, 000 to the distressed SADA, waiting to see how the newly-constituted management would cleanse the Authority and rid it of all corruption tendencies.
The successful retrieval of the monies with interest is likely to bring to a final closure to the SADA scandal that has been on the neck of President Mahama and his administration for the past two years. It will also disarm the NPP from using the SADA scandal as a major propaganda and political campaign issue as we inch closer to the 2016 elections.
What is not clear however is whether punitive measures such as prosecution would be meted out to the offending individuals and companies in order to set a precedent to others.
Since the disclosures of the naked larceny by the Accra-based private radio station, Joy FM, President Mahama has always maintained that all the wrongly paid monies in this SADA scandal would be retrieved, and appropriate remedial measures would be instituted to restore public confidence in the viability of SADA, which hitherto has been one of the promising anti-poverty organizations instituted in this country by any regime in the history of this nation.
Consequent to that the President disbanded the graft-ridden management of Alhaji Gilbert SeiduIddi and replaced it with a promising one headed by Mr. Charles AkelyiraAbugre, a Rawlings-trained cadre and a prominent member of 1982 revolution which restore integrity to the governance of this nation..
Mr. Charles Abugri as he is popularly called is said to be a man of high integrity and decency and would do everything under the sun to ensure that the mandate given to him by the President is fulfilled to the logical end, regardless of who is affected.
With an impeccable background, Mr. Abugre was the African Regional Director of the UN Millennium Campaign and has more than 20 years of experience in Economic and International Development, a sine qua non for the smooth management of an agency like SADA.
A graduate of the University of Ghana, Mr. Abugre also holds a Masters Degree in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies, in The Hague, Netherlands.
Not satisfied with the disbanding of the Gilbert-Iddi management, President Mahama also dissolved the scandal-riddled SADA board under the watch of Mr. AlhassanAndani of Stanbic Bank and replaced it with fresh faces.
According to a statement signed by the Head of Communications at the Presidency, Ben DotseiMalor on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 the nominees for the SADA board will ?bring on board several years of experience in the areas of development, banking, corporate governance and law.?

The nominees include Angeline Mornah ?Domakyaareh, a legal practitioner and a former Deputy Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). She will chair the board. She is known as a woman with pedigree and high sense of integrity and her many years of experience and meritorious service to this nation is expected to be brought to bear on the struggling SADA.

Others nominated to serve as members are Professor MariamaAwumbila of the University of Ghana, economist DrAlhassanIddrisu and banker Sulley Adam.

The others are: NabaSigriBewong, a mining engineer and traditional ruler, representing the traditional authorities, Wilbert Tengey representing civil society organisations, Dr. Samuel Ameyaw of the Ministry of Finance and Dr. Grace Bediako of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC).

The statement further said ?they are expected to refocus SADA?s mandate towards its core business as stipulated by the SADA Act of 2010, ACT 805?.
President Mahama, sources maintained has made unwavering commitment to make SADA work again and the first step is to retrieve all monies paid for no work done.
Confirming this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) last week, the new board chairperson of SADA said the Attorney General?s (AG) Department is working behind the scenes to retrieve with interest, funds meant for various projects of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) which were not executed.

Mrs Angelina MornahDomakyaarah, SADA Board Chairperson, said the AG?s Department was negotiating with the various partners involved on the terms for the refund while the Bank of Ghana was now working out the interest rates due.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), she assured Ghanaians that the new board would ensure openness and transparency in the activities of SADA.

?We acknowledge as a new board that SADA has had some image problems in the past. We may call that failings; it is a human institution, but we the new Board, having assessed the situation, acknowledge that even though there have been some failings, SADA has not failed,? she said.

?The previous board has done some good things; we are going to continue and build on them. The challenges that they faced and could not overcome; we have the benefit of hindsight to guide us. It is not our intention to repeat the shortfalls that plagued the old board,? she said.

?So based on that, we are refocusing SADA?s mandate from direct implementation, which the institution is not yet mature to do, to the other core mandate which have been given to SADA by the same act of coordinating, collaborating and facilitating development activities in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone of Ghana,? MrsDomakyaarah added.

She explained further that by doing so, the authority would be getting the maximum impact from its activities.

On the way forward, MrsDomakyaarah said SADA was a national agenda; co-ordinating a comprehensive development agenda for five regions ? Northern, Upper East, Upper West, the northern parts of the BrongAhafo and Volta; representing the northern half of Ghana.

She, therefore, urged the private sector and major local and international investors and development partners to support SADA?s development agenda for the benefit of all Ghanaians.
Major companies, individuals and organizations who have bankrupted the Savanna Accelerated Authority (SADA) in this scandal include the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SADA, Mr. Gilbert SeiduIddi; ACI Limited, owned by Mr. Roland Agambire of the Agams Group; Kasmed Seed and Plus One owned by Mr. Dan Saaka Ahmed. Individuals as mentioned by the audit report include Mr. AkwesiAddae-Boahene and Madam Vicky Okine, Madam Rein Bruce Ackman, Mr. Kennedy S. Mohammed, Dr. Emmanuel Abeere Inga and Mr. AbassKassimNyo and many others.
On ACI, the projects in question are the afforestation and the guinea fowl projects both totaling tens of millions of Ghana Cedis.
According to the audit report, SADA made a payment of GHc15m as its contribution in the joint venture business with ACI which is also supposed to contribute GHc 15m.
A lot of damning issues were raised by the audit report against ACI and SADA was asked by the auditors to ?give ultimatum to ACI Limited to complete the project without any delay or be made to refund the amount together with interest at the current commercial bank lending rate.?
However, as at the time of writing this story, there is no evidence that ACI has resolved the various issues raised in the audit report and has made any refund back to SADA chest.
The other project involving the ACI is the afforestation project with a sum of GHc32.4m.
The audit report stated that ?we discovered during our visit to the plantation sites that most of the trees especially in the Northern, Upper West and Upper East sites did not survive because the trees were planted during the dry season.?
?The Audit Team noticed that most of the trees did not survive mainly because the work load on the contractor was too much for him, hence his inability to plant most of the trees during the raining season. The following areas were badly affected by the dry season: all sites in the Upper East Region; Kpandai, Kpassa, Wa Municipal, Sissala East and West Bole and Sawla sites.
?As a result of this action, value for money was not obtained because of mode the contract was awarded.
?We recommended that management should engage the services of the Forestry Commission to count the trees that were planted and survived and recover all the excess payment that had been made to the contractor.
?We also recommended that management should institute action to invoke sanctions under Section 92(1) of the Public Procurement Act, Act 663 against the former CEO Alhaji Gilbert Iddi who signed the contract,? the audit stated.
In our further independent investigation, this paper has learnt that the Roland Agambire?sACI limited sublet a chunk of the work to the Kasmed Seed, owned by Mr. Dan Saaka Ahmed and ACI sources have told this paper that when it comes to crunch, Kasmed Seed would have a lot to answer in this financial debacle.
?We noted that management paid GHc69, 840 to Kasmed Seed Company to organize business trip to Birmingham and Berlin for three officers of SADA without prior approval from the Board even though the cost of the trip was above the threshold of the CEO.
?We also noted that Kasmed Seed Company is not a travel and tour agency but management released such a colossal amount to the company based only on the budget submitted by the company for the trip,? the audit report added.

On Plus One Limited, the audit report stated that
?Our audit discovered that management paid GHC38, 796 and GHC2, 771890 to Kukobila Farms Limited and Plus One Investment Limited respectively to engage in the cultivation and exportation of butter nut squash.
?Management however failed to produce records on the number of tonnage of the butter nut squash the companies had harvested and exported and the sale of the butter nut squash. This practice can be recipe for financial malfeasance.
?As a result, we could not ascertain the commercial viability of the project.
?Management?s unwillingness to enhance internal revenue generation to support the activities of SADA accounted for the irregularity.
?We recommend that the companies be made to refund the amount granted to them together with interest at the current commercial bank lending rate.
?With the agreement with Plus One Investment Limited, management gave such a concession to the company for the cultivation of a crop which is seasonal in nature and had been fully harvested and exported. At the time of our audit the company had not any refund to SADA.? The audit pointed out.
The Plus-One Investment Limited itself in the words of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Sadat Alhassan in an interview with Joy Fm when they were serializing the SAD SADA STORY, said they were able to pay about GHc60, 000 out of the GHC2.7m to SADA.

However, fresh information exclusively available to this paper from SADA sources indicates that, the said CEO of Plus One Investment Limited, Sadat Alhassan, is rather a young man in his twenties and a fresh university graduate at the time the payment was made to the company by SADA in late 2012 through to the first quarter of 2013.
While young Mr Sadat maintains the position of CEO of Plus One Limited, the big fish himself, Mr. Dan Saaka Ahmed stays at the background holding the position of a Programs Co-ordinator of the company.
Pressed on how SADA could splash almost GHc 2.8m to a fresh university graduate with no experience in any field, a new management member of SADA however told this paper that per their information from the previous management, the project was negotiated by Mr Dan Saaka Ahmed and that he is the one they know and not the Alhassan Sadat who they think is being used for selfish purposes.
SADA sources maintained that at one of their sittings to investigate the matter involving the Plus One Investment, they had to sack Mr. Sadat because he exhibited complete ignorance of the entire transactions that led to the transfer of almost GHc2.8m to Plust One.
They however asked Mr. Dan Saaka to appear himself and answer the relevant questions because he was in charge of the company and not the young, fresh and inexperienced university graduate.

Source: The Alhajj


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