Authority to investigate all public procurement transactions for 2016

he Public Procurement Authority (PPA) is to investigate all public sector procurement transactions for 2016 following the controversial $72 million non-functional Operational Business Suite (OBS) software procured by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

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Accordingly, a three-member investigative team has been put together by the PPA to conduct a full-scale audit into the procurement processes of state institutions, including the recent SSNIT scandal.

SSNIT brouhaha

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PPA, Mr Agyenim Boateng Adjei, told the Daily Graphic that the authority’s audit would cover every aspect of the SSNIT deal and reconcile all documents related to the contract.

He stated that the PPA did not have in its possession information regarding how the OBS software was procured by SSNIT but gave the strongest assurance that anyone found culpable would face the full rigours of the law.

Mr Adjei remarked that the PPA would ensure that public institutions heeded the Public Procurement Law in line with the government’s commitment to protect the public purse.

The SSNIT is being investigated by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for spending $72 million on procuring and installing a software and other hardware systems known as the OBS in an attempt to digitise the organisation.

The cost of the software which was originally pegged at $34 million, subsequently ballooned to $66 million and then to $72 million due to what management of the trust described as maintenance and additional infrastructure.

About five people have already appeared before the EOCO and a source told the Daily Graphic that those found culpable could face a jail term of at least five years.

It is against this background that the PPA has taken the pains to look into the manner in which public institutions engaged in procurement in accordance with the law.

Eliminating corruption

To give meaning to the commitment to eliminate corruption in public procurement, the Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, said at her vetting that the government had placed a GH¢50 million ceiling for contracts awarded through sole sourcing, and that any cost beyond that level must be brought to the Cabinet.

She told the Daily Graphic in an earlier interview that the government would minimise the application of sole sourcing and also work to ensure that the government fulfilled its campaign promise to reserve 70 per cent of all taxpayer-funded contracts and procurement for local businesses and the remaining 30 per cent sourced to entities owned by youth, women and people with disabilities.