Member of parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has revealed that he has “depressingly” followed the national debate on what many outraged Ghanaians have described as the “extravagant and wasteful” US$250million new Bank of Ghana Corporate Head Office.
According to him, it is obvious from the Bank of Ghana’s “feeble and anaemic defence” that it has opted not to be transparent, candid and accountable to the good people of Ghana. He revealed that a shocking and embarrassing interview of Mr. Charles Elias Reindorf, Director of Finance at the Central Bank, where he abruptly ended an interview following a harmless question on the cost of the project has since gone viral.
Instructively, Mr Ablakwa stated that the Bank of Ghana in all its public engagements has refused to disclose the current cost of the project, the procurement method, when the project was awarded and the scheduled completion date.
Furthermore, he noted that some NPP propagandists including Mr. Richard Ahiagbah, opportunistically jumped into the fray claiming that the project started under the NDC when Hon. Ato Forson served on the Bank of Ghana Board between 2013 and 2017.
“Unraveling the Bankrupt BoG Head Office Mystery – from an initial US$81.8million, suddenly escalating to US$121million and currently threatening to exceed US$250million… Considering the deliberate distortion, lack of transparency, sponsored obfuscation and naked dishonesty; I decided to activate my constitutionally mandated parliamentary oversight role, so I could unravel the mystery in our collective national interest.”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Contained in a post dated August 17, 2023, Mr Abakwa stated that per some documents available to him, the Bank of Ghana commenced procurement processes for the controversial head office on 14th January 2020 when it wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) seeking approval to strangely use the Restricted Tendering Procurement Method.
He indicated that the PPA by letter dated 28th January 2020 signed by its Acting Chief Executive, Mr. Frank Mantey, communicated approval of the Board for the BoG to proceed with its desire to use the Restricted Tendering Method.
“I can today report that I have intercepted unimpeachable, incontrovertible, irrefutable and undeniable documents from the Bank of Ghana and other credible sources which significantly reveal [that] from the intercepted documents, procurement for the project did not commence under the NDC or during the tenure of Hon. Ato Forson as Board Member, neither did it start during the presidency of H.E. John Mahama, contrary to the vicious fabrications by some desperate NPP apologists.”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Use of restricted tendering methods by BoG
Moreover, Mr Ablakwa noted that the BoG’s unacceptable use of the Restricted Tendering Method amounts to a blatant violation of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended in Act 914. He explained that section 38 of Act 663 provides a limited scope for the use of Restricted Tendering in circumstances where goods, services or works are available only from a limited number of suppliers or contractors.
From the intercepted documents, he underscored that the BoG handpicked the following companies: Messrs. WBHO Ghana Limited, Messrs. Man Enterprise, Messrs. DeSimone Limited, Messrs. Ronesans Holdings and Messrs. Goldkey Properties.
Mr Ablakwa however stated that it is not clear what criteria the BoG used in selecting its preferred five companies when Ghana’s built environment can boast of many established and celebrated construction firms such as Consar, Berock, Maripoma, Mawums, M. Barbisotti, First Sky, Antartic, Ussuya, Regimanuel, and many more.
“None of the BoG’s shortlisted companies can lay claim to any patent or exclusive capacity which other construction firms in that category do not possess and therefore warranting or justifying the use of restricted tendering. It is obvious that Ghana would have had better value for money if the BoG had been less shady and opened up the process – opting for a full competitive tendering process.”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
In a bizarre twist, the North Tongu legislator asserted that further investigations reveal that one of the BoG’s five “ordained” companies: Messrs. Ronesans Holdings is not registered at the Office of the Registrar of Companies. To this, he questioned how an unregistered company qualify to participate in a restricted tender.
Among other things, he revealed that he intercepted another letter dated 4th September, 2020 also signed by PPA Acting Chief Executive, Mr. Frank Mantey, which shockingly reveals that just within 8 months, the cost of the BoG Head Office project astronomically increased from US$81,882,640.00 to US$121,078,517.94.
Experts, he indicated, have stated that this staggering US$40million increase in the project cost between January and September 2020 in a dollar denominated contract is absolutely “mind boggling”.
“A 40% hike merely after tender evaluation in dollar pricing, not cedis, raises many critical questions for the BoG, a credible full competitive tender process would have avoided this arbitrary cost escalation and guaranteed value for money.”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Ironically, Mr Ablakwa highighted that all these procurement breaches and “sleazy price escalation” at taxpayer expense was happening during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when President Akufo-Addo and Governor Addison had given Ghanaians assurances that they had put everything else on hold and were focusing on saving lives.
Additionally, he stated that Dr Addison even claimed in June 2020 that the Central Bank was struggling in financing government because of Covid only to initiate this mega project on the blindside of Ghanaians.
“Deeper investigations into the shady BoG head office project led me to discover another reckless and lawless conduct by the Addison-led Central Bank when they procured the services of a company known as MULTICAD to carry out project management through single-sourcing.”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Also, Mr Ablakwa emphasized that the exposé clearly shows how “MisGovernor” Addison and his colleagues in management at the BoG have been “deliberately lawless and remarkably destructive”, as they “punished others and collapsed their banks for far less”.
To this end, he urged all well-meaning Ghanaians to join the #OccupyBoGProtest, insisting that “MisGovernor Addison and his fellow nation wreckers must go”.