Smarttys in another $9 million corruption scandal

Smarttys Management and Production Limited has been cited in a rural electrification project, said to have been inflated by $9 million.

The company, a few months ago was under pressure for overpricing the branding of some 116 Metro Mass Transit buses.

 

In the latest contract, a $92 million National Electrification Project, Smarttys serves as the local representative of the main contractor, China Hunan Construction and Engineering Group Corporation.

Parliament approved the project despite revelations that the Chinese local representative, Smarty’s inflated the contract sum.

The Minority in Parliament has demanded that the house takes a second look at the contract but the Majority backed by the government has objected.

Minority Member on the same committee Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh however disclosed that his colleagues in the Majority approved the contract although there are still some outstanding documentation issues that the Chinese firm and its local representative have failed to submit.

The National Electrification Project will be executed in rural areas in the Eastern, Volta and Northern regions.

Describing the circumstances under which the rural electrification project was overpriced by as much $9 million, Dr Prempeh said there was value for money audit by Crown Agents which indicated that the contract had initially been overpriced by $22.7 million.

Quoting the report in an interview with Joy News, Dr Prempeh said government disputed that claim insisting the contract had only been over priced by $11 million, whilst the contractors, Hunan, said the overpricing was only $7 million.

“Crown Agents said if that is so let’s strike an average of between $11 and $7 million. If you add $11 to $7, you get $18 million and if you divide it by two you get $9 million. So in issuing their final report they say the contract was overpriced by $9 million and government has agreed to use it to expand the scope of the contract,” Dr Prempeh quoted the contract as saying.

He found it ridiculous that Smarttys, the same company that inflated prices of the bus branding project was acting as consultants for the Chinese firm.

He argued further that the World Bank procurement guidelines say any company found to have misbehaved in any country deserved to be banned from future contract adding Smarttys was supposed to have suffered a similar fate.

However, Adam Mutawakil, who is also NDC MP for Damong, says the contract was not signed between the government of Ghana and Smartty’s Management and Productions as the minority claims.

He said “what we are here to approve is a contract between the government of Ghana and Hunan. Whoever is their local representatives is no matter for this House.”

Mutawakil said government has built key mechanisms to ensure that before the agreement is approved, there will be value for money.

He said representatives of Smartty’s did not take part in the contract negotiation adding that they only showed up during a meeting of contractors and consultants.

He explained that the Crown Agents carried out the value for money audit, adding all minutes of the negotiations were provided in a transparent manner to the committee.

According to him, Crown Agents did not oppose the contract to Hunan Construction but rather asked the company to produce some documents which have been done.

Credit: myjoyonline