As serious questions hang over the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s acclaimed invention of a digital address system, which waste management company, Zoomlion, is known to have built last year, it has emerged that the company which got the contract to reinvent the wheel is a regime crony.
Information Technology firm, Vokacom, which was given the contract to build the National Digital Property Addressing System, is allegedly owned by a buddy of President Akufo-Addo called Osei Afrifa.
Mr. Afrifa is alleged to have contributed a whopping $500,000 to the 2016 campaign of President Akufo-Addo and the NPP, and he is said to have done so in cash.
Observers have since been joining the dots into suggestions that the $2.5million contract to reinvent the digital property addressing system is a sweetheart deal that the President gave to Vokacom in appreciation of the gargantuan campaign contribution.
There are indications all over the deal that it was specially cooked for the benefit of Vokacom. Among others, the contract is said to have not been subjected to tender.
But what is even more intriguing is that, the digital address system that Vokacom supposedly has built for $2.5million (Ghc10.9m) was built by, Subah Infosolutions, a subsidiary of local waste company, Zoomlion, for free last year.
Former Information Minister in the predecessor NDC government, Mahama Ayariga, last Friday told Accra-based Radio Gold that Zoomlion had spent its own money to hire Indian expertise to build the system with the aim to use it to distribute waste bins and locate clients to collect waste.
To ensure that the project is done effectively, however, Zoomlion had required the help of the Town and Country Planning Department of government, which government had given to the company in exchange for the state availing itself of the digital platform upon completion.
Apart from the district offices that had been made available to Zoomlion for the purpose, the company had also been furnished with personnel from the National Service Secretariat to help it collect data for the purpose of building the system.
The NDC government thus had not paid a dime for the system, even though it was to be available for use by the government upon completion.
Several months ahead of President Akufo-Addo’s official launch of the system in Accra last Wednesday, Zoomlion had invited the whole Communications Committee of Parliament to its offices in January to inspect the system.
It has therefore come as a shock that the NPP government, which has claimed the project as a fulfillment of a campaign promise, has also revealed that it spent over Ghc10.9million to build the same system that Zoomlion had built for free.
Even more interesting, the Digital Property Address system is based on the Google Map App, which is free on all android phones and easily downloadable from the Google Playstore.
Vokacom, which got the contract, apparently did not go through tender, as prescribed by the Public Procurement law. It has now turned out that the company itself is owned by a buddy of President Akufo-Addo, who had also contributed to his campaign.
Mr. Osei Afrifa is said to have doled out a whopping $500,000 to the 2016 campaign of the NPP.
According to sources, Vokacom has no previous track record whatsoever in the rollout of digital platforms. The company does not also have any App in its name.
The development has led to impressions that the contract to reinvent Zoomlion’s digital property address platform was a sweetheart deal that the government had cooked for the company as payback to the President’s major campaign financier.
The foregoing scenario is similar to the case of Alfred Obeng Boateng, the managing director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST), who got appointed as MD after he had similarly contributed hugely to the campaign of President Akufo-Addo in 2016.
When Mr. Boateng was embroiled in a scandal in which he had credited five million litres of contaminated oil to an unregistered company, Movenpiina, and his head was demanded, MP for Assin Central, Ken Agyapong, had threatened that if President Akufo-Addo sacked him he would expose how the President won the 2016 election.
Alfred Boateng has since remained at post.
The same Akufo-Addo government recently awarded another sweetheart deal to McDan Shipping with COCOBOD, engaging it to do supplies while the Finance Minister had written to the Agricultural Development Bank to give it Ghc10.45million mobilization.
A crony company, McDan had helped the NPP to secretly bring in South African retired police officers to train the ruling party’s security in the buildup to the 2016 elections.
Meanwhile, it is alleged that the total cost of the contract to Vokacom was not only $2.5million (Ghc10.99 million) but some Ghc15million.
It is alleged that all the Ghc15million has been paid to Vokacom, which has no track record or even a single App to its name.
What the government claims it has built for the country is just a reinvention of an address system that Zoomlion had already built for free.
And the whole thing runs on the Google Map App, which is free.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels