Dr. George Crentsil, Chief Executive of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), has allegedly pocketed an amount of $1.2 million (approximately GH¢5 million) he purportedly received as kickback from a construction firm that did some work for the Authority, according to the findings of an Investigative Committee.
The firm, Lemet Construction Company, had been awarded a GH¢15.2 million contract to build a new training school and hostel facility for the Ghana Standards Authority and for no stated reason was found to have given an amount of $1.2 million to Dr. Crentsil.
There were further allegations that apart from the $1.2 million kickback, the same contractor supplied building materials and marshaled workers to complete a three-bedroom storey building for the CEO at East Legon, a comfy community in Accra.
Joy Fm first broke the story on Monday and it sparked public interest, with calls on the security agencies to take up the matter.
The station said Dr. Crentsil declined comment on the matter when he was contacted. DAILY GUIDE could also not reach him for comment on the alleged kickback scandal.
However, the jaw-dropping report from the Investigative Committee, set up upon the direction of former Trade and Industry Minister, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, stated plainly that “the Executive Director [Dr. George Crentsil] admitted taking money from the contractor but refused to state how much, stating it was a sensitive matter.”
According to the report, “It was revealed that the Executive Director took one million United States of America Dollars ($1,000,000) from the contractor working on the training school on one occasion.
“On another occasion he [Dr. George Crentsil] again took Two hundred thousand United States of America Dollars ($200,000) from the contractor.
“It was also revealed that the contractor working on the training school provided materials and personnel to complete a three-bedroom storey building for the Executive Director at East Legon, a suburb of Accra. The Executive Director, however, denied owning any house or building at East Legon. He also denied that he owns a hospital at East Legon.”
The four-member committee was set up by the Board of Directors of the GSA after an unnamed management member of the company wrote a whistle-blowing letter to Ekwow Spio-Garbrah.
“After I received the first anonymous letter, I called the executive director of Ghana Standards Authority and quizzed him on the complaints. But when I received the second letter, I directed the board to investigate the matter. I, however, wasn’t able to take action because the report was submitted when I was leaving office,” Joy News quoted Spio.
The station also quoted the then Board Chairman of the Standards Authority, Amadu Sorogho – a defeated Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina – to have said “a committee was set up at the instance of an authority. We finished our work, as the chairman, we read it; we confronted people that we needed to confront and we sent it with a covering letter to the appropriate authority with the recommendations.”
The Investigative Committee, after seven sittings and interviewing various individuals, including staff of the GSA, said a witness had testified that “one of the saloon cars allocated to the Executive Director, and being used by his wife, has on a number of occasions been seen drawing fuel from the GSA.”
It also investigated an allegation that for several years, the Executive Director collects not less than GH¢30,000 every month using the names of Mr. Sakyitey and Mr. Nagetey on initiations for destination activities for himself.
It concluded, “Given the range of issues and the time given to the Committee to complete its work, and given that some of the issues are very sensitive, the Committee thinks that there may be the need for further investigations, especially with respect to the money allegedly taken by the Executive Director from the contractor working on the training school, and the thirty thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢30,000) in relation to initiations for destination activities.”