29 November 2012

Ghana: NDC Cancels $100 Million Contract

The next government to assume office after the December 2012 elections is likely to inherit a potential judgment debt that could cost around US$100 million, if the Ministry of Education acts in contravention of an order from a High Court, in connection with the procurement of textbooks for schools in the country.

Unless the Ministry of Education rescinds its decision to award publishing contracts to 13 supposed publishers who have reportedly won bids to supply textbooks for basic schools, Ghana could be heading for a potential doom in yet another judgment debt controversy that may surpass that of Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

The Ghana Book Publishers' Association (GBPA) is, therefore, calling on President John Dramani Mahama, to, as a matter of urgency, call the Education Ministry to order, in order to avert another possible judgment debt scandal.

Addressing a press conference in Kumasi, the Principal Research Officer of Textbooks and Educational Media Studies, Dr. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwaa, explained that unless the case brought against the government and the Ministry of Education by the Ghana Publishers Association was finally determined by the court, any decision by the Ministry to go ahead in the award of the contract would amount to a breach of contract.

A case is currently pending at the High Court, in which the GBPA has sued the Education Ministry for lack of transparency and breach of procurement procedures in the award of contracts for the supply of textbooks for basic schools.

Dr. Opoku-Amankwaa noted that in spite of the assurances given to the presiding judge by the Ministry that it would not take any action in connection with procurement till the final determination of the case, some cronies of this current administration have allegedly been offered the contracts, and are about to enter into contracts with the government.

The Research Officer of TEEMS indicated that the Ministry had, by its action, flouted sections 1.16, 1.18 and 1.19 of the Procurement Act, which clearly state procedures to follow before contracts can be awarded.

The provisions deal with Price Adjustments, Bid Opening and Notification of Approval, which the team believes, were not adhered to by the Ministry.

Dr. Opoku-Amankwaa, therefore, warned the Ministry to tread cautiously, in order to prevent the country from falling prey to another unnecessary judgment debt.

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