ONE OF President John Atta Mills’ darling boys, who was voted the best District Chief Executive (DCE) in the Eastern Region for the year 2009, Charles Evans Apreku of the Kwahu North District Assembly, was yesterday summoned to the Castle, seat of government, to answer questions on the award of a contract which has sparked a raging controversy in the area.
Credible sources at the Castle hinted DAILY GUIDE that the DCE was summoned to the Castle on the instructions of the President, John Evans Atta Mills, since he could not fathom why and how a contract which was quoted by the contractor to cost the Assembly an amount of GH¢91,047.81, was suddenly inflated to the tune of GH¢101,337.81.
Upon hearing the news, President Mills, who rose to power on the campaign of a ‘Better Ghana’ and a promise to fight against what he described as ‘profligate expenditure’, was said to have been alarmed and therefore asked the DCE to immediately report at the Castle to answer questions.
The contract was awarded to Messrs. St. Wilson Company Limited for the supply of curtains, furniture, bedstead and bedspread to the Kwahu North District Assembly through a competitive tender and bidding process.
The company was tasked to complete supplies within 90 days as stipulated in the contract agreement.
Later, the DCE asked the Managing Director of the company, Wilson Atiemo, to change the quotation since he claimed he was not the only one who bid for the contract and that there was a problem with the calculation of price quotation.
Though he declined, Mr. Wilson indicated that Mr. Apreku followed up with a series of calls, pressing him to change the amount involved.
As a patriotic citizen, Mr. Wilson said, he turned down the offer since it would lead him to compromise his conscience and reputation as a businessman.
But halfway through the project, the contractor claimed that only GH¢12,000 of the contract sum has been advanced to him, stressing the belief that the DCE is deliberately frustrating him for not compromising.
He has since reported the issue to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
Frantic efforts to reach the DCE for his side of the story proved futile since on all occasions, his cell phone was said to have been switched off.
Other officials, including the former District Coordinating Director (DCD), Francis Owusu Ansah, during whose term the contract was awarded and the District Engineer, Francis Onai, have both refused to comment on the issue.
Whilst Mr. Owusu Ansah claims he does not have the full details of the contract, Mr. Onai said he could also not comment on it without the consent of the DCE, considering the delicate nature of the issue.
Efforts to reach the incumbent DCD for his comments proved unsuccessful as his cell phone was also said to be switched off.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
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