ASEPA boss, Mensah Thompson is facing charges of publishing false news about the President

Civil Society Organisation, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), has petitioned the Special Prosecutor to investigate the contract between Frontiers Healthcare Services and the Ghana Airports Company Limited.

According to ASEPA, there has been very little information about the agreement which tasks Frontiers Health Services to offer Covid-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

In a letter dated August, 11, to Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, ASEPA stated that it believes the Public Procurement Law was not properly complied with.

“The Minister of Health announced that a total of about $17million has been accumulated from the testing of passengers at the Kotoka International Airport since last year, when the borders were opened, and out of that amount, only a paltry $1million in terms of revenue was accrued to Ghana.”

“This contractual in-balance in what is supposed to be a partnership arrangement, is cause for worry for a number of Civil Society leaders and well-meaning Ghanaians, who are raising a number of questions regarding the agreement, whether it was in the best interest of the State,” parts of the letter signed by the Executive Director, Mensah Thompson read.

ASEPA petitions Special Prosecutor to investigate Frontier Healthcare Services' contract

The Anti Corruption CSO wants the Special Prosecutor to ascertain who signed the contract, what are the terms of the contract and the processes leading to the selection of Frontiers Health Services by the Ghana Airports Company.

They also tasked Mr Agyebeng to investigate the background of the company, including the shareholders and its country of origin, to ascertain who the beneficial owners are.

ASEPA also wants information on, “the total amount of money generated from the Covid-19 testing at the airport from the inception of this agreement till 31 July 2021. Investigate allegations of money laundering against Frontiers Health Services in respect of the repatriation of monies generated from the Covid-19 testing at the Airport.”

The Special Prosecutor was also asked to, “investigate allegations of procurement breaches against the Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company and the Minister of Aviation in respect of this Frontiers contract.”

ASEPA petitions Special Prosecutor to investigate Frontier Healthcare Services' contract

ASEPA urged Mr Agyebeng to produce a corruption risk assessment report on the transaction and initiate criminal prosecutions against all persons found culpable in, “this rip-off transaction.”

Frontier Healthcare Services

On September 1, 2020, a contract was signed between GACL and Frontier Healthcare Services to undertake Covid-19 antigen tests at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

This was after the government of Ghana implemented a policy that required all passengers arriving at KIA to be tested for coronavirus at a fee of 150 dollars and 150 dollars for those departing from Ghana. The price was subsequently reduced to USD$50 for nationals of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). 

The two-year contract grants Frontier Healthcare Services the exclusive right to provide mandatory Covid-19 testing on passengers.

Out of the amount charged at the Airport, Frontier Health Services, as part of its contract is to pay GACL an amount of $10 per passenger out of the $150 charged. This was indicated by Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman Manu, during his vetting in February this year. The $10 is to cover the cost of rent at the Airport and was payable to GACL daily.

In June 2021, Transport Minister Kwaku Asiamah revealed that Frontiers Healthcare Services accrued $16.2 million from Covid-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) between September and December 2020.

He stated that the agreement between the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) and Frontiers Healthcare Services is such that Ghana Airports Company Limited makes $10 out of the $150 charged for every test, while the rest ($140) goes to the Frontiers Healthcare Services.

As per the concession agreement as stated earlier, Frontier Health Services retained $16,202,200 dollars from its services from September to December 2020.

“The Ghana Airport Company Limited received $1,167,300 for the same period as royalties accruing from the Covid-19 testing,” he stated.

The Minority in Parliament, at the time, said that Frontiers Healthcare Services making $16.2million, from Covid-19 testing in four months, whereas Ghana earns $1.1million is evidence that the country has been ripped off in the arrangement.

Vice President of policy think-tank, IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, called for a review of the contractual agreement between the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) and Frontiers Health Services Limited.

In his view, the contract is an avenue created for a group of people to benefit at the expense of the nation.

“Someone must justify why we should outsource this the way we have done because it’s a huge benefit to those people and clearly a disparity in benefit to the country,” he said.