Sport Ministry Won’t Pay $525k ‘Debt’

– Tussle Over Consultation Fee

-Asiamah Tells Rex Danquah

Hon. Isaac Kwame  Asiamah, Minister of Youth and Sports, has said the ministry will use all legal muscles at its disposal to fight against any form of legal action that would lead to the ministry doling out money for development to instead pay judgment debts.

According to him, all dealings under his capacity would be done diligently and that companies and agencies that come forward and threaten the ministry with legal action over previous decisions would not have it on a silver platter.

Hon. Asiamah made the statement when his ministry took its turn at the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to answer questions on the Auditor-General’s report on the Public Accounts of Ministries, Departments and Other Agencies (MDAs) for the year ended 31 December 2015 in Accra yesterday.

The minister was reacting to a legal threat by Mr. Rex Danquah, the chief executive officer of RICS Consult, the consultant to the ministry in the 2017 AfCON bid.

Mr. Danquah earlier told the committee, he would proceed to the courts to seek interpretation over the Sports Ministry’s decision not to pay a $525,000 consultancy fee.

The RICS Consult was consulted on Ghana’s bid for the 2017 African Cup of Nations. The Sports Ministry had an agreement to pay him an amount of $525,000, but Ghana eventually failed in its bid to host the tournament.

According to the Auditor General’s report, there was no official contract signed between the Sports Ministry and RICS Consult, though he was given an initial amount of $125,000 to put the bid together.

Mr. Danquah told the committee that his services were engaged by the ministry and he believes the position by the ministry is a subject for the law court.

“We delivered on what we were expected to do,” Mr. Danquah said, adding “we had a meeting with the then Chief Director and it was agreed that my company should discount the debt because we did not win the bid and we discounted the debt and minutes of that meeting is available.”

He added: “So for me…to be told that there was no contract when the people themselves admit and accepted that the spirit of the work was done because all these things we used money to do it…I think it’s a subject for the court.”

However, answering questions from the PAC, Mr. Asiamah said his office will not dole out money to pay the supposed consultancy fee of $525,000 to RICS Consult.

“Since there is no existing contract between the Ministry and RICS Consult, which my accountant has testified, then there is no way we are going to pay the said amount. For all we know, we have already settled $125,000 and that is all we are going to pay,” Mr. Asiamah told the committee.

He later told the Parliamentary Press Corps that the ministry would marshal all legal resources and resist any form of lawsuit to reject judgment debt to be imposed on the government through the ministry.

For him, he would not allow such money to be paid to the consultant for work never done to warrant such colossal amount of money.

“We will resist it, we will ensure that our lawyers prepare and meet them in court. I will not sit down for Ghanaians to be cheated with such an amount of money. We will meet them in court and I can say that we will not pay a penny to them. There is no contract and you want us to pay such whopping sum of money, for what?” He stated.

He continued, “As I always say, under my watch, this thing will not happen, We will always do due diligence to ensure that there is value for money and no judgement debt to take money from the government.”

The Auditor General’s Report has cited that the Ministry of Youth and Sports entered into a contract to pay US$ 525,000 as consultancy fee for the preparation of Ghana’s bid documents for the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

Out of this amount $68,000 has been paid, leaving a balance of $456, 263.56 to be paid.

According to the Auditor General’s Report, RICS Consult, belonging to Mr. Rex Danquah, was sole-sourced for the preparation of the document.

The report added that the sole-sourcing such a contract was in violation of Section 40 of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), which requires procurement entities to seek approval from the Public Procurement Authority before they engage in single source procurement.

The committee, chaired by Hon. James Klutse Avedzi, also queried the Sports Ministry over certain expenditures by some of its agencies, including the National Sport Council, the National Youth Authority and others.

The committee charged the ministry to take steps to retrieve monies paid to certain institutions without work done and other services that did not follow due process, per the laws.

The Ministry of Defense, led by the minister, Mr. Dominic Nitiwul, appeared earlier and answered questions on financial infractions emanating from the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre.


Source: Felix Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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