Programmes Manager of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Mary Awelena Addah

Programmes Manager for the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has asked the President to direct the Deputy Sanitation Minister to proceed on leave, following a JoyNews investigation that cited him in an alleged conflict of interest case.

Mary Addah speaking on the Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Monday stated that this is necessary to facilitate investigations into the findings against Amidu Issahaku Chinnia.

“The president I believe would have heard this by now and he should be taking the needed action which is to ask this gentleman (the Deputy Sanitation Minster) to proceed on leave, step aside to allow investigations to go on,” she said.

Her call follows JoyNews’ latest documentary dubbed Caught in Conflict which revealed how a company linked to the Deputy Sanitation Minister, Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, and registered in the names of his brother, cousin, and personal driver won government contracts at the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council during his tenure as Deputy Regional Minister.

When JoyNews contacted Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, he admitted that he knows the directors of Batuowiisi Company Limited, but categorically denied influencing any of the processes leading to the award of the contracts.

In spite of his response, Mary Addah believes there is a need for investigations to be launched into the matter.

While calling for a thorough investigation into the claims, she entreated the President to either refer the Deputy Minister of Sanitation to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) or dismiss him from office.

“The least we expect is [for the President] to fire this man or refer this issue to CHRAJ which is the competent authority in this matter to do an investigation.

“As he did in the public procurement boss’ case, he should also submit same to CHRAJ for thorough investigations because apart from the fact that these contracts were procured against the Public Procurement Act, Act 663 section 22, I believe there are a lot more issues,” she said.

Background

The Batuowiisi Company Limited was set up in 2017 barely a month after his appointment and in the same year won a 2.6 million cedi Planting for Food and Jobs contract.

They were again awarded a 12.6-million-cedi road contract in 2019 by the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council.

Documents sighted by JoyNews show that on 22nd July 2019, Batuowiisi Company Limited was awarded a contract by the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council to rehabilitate a 5.7-kilometer selected town roads in Tumu. The contract sum was over 12 million cedis. 

The Batuowiisi Company Limited was supposed to have gone to the site on 22nd November 2019, the firm issued its notice to commence work on the same day for commencement on 5th December 2019 and complete the road projects on 4th June 2021.

Eight weeks after the date of commencement, the company failed to mobilize to the site to commence work, contrary to its programme of work.

When JoyNews visited Tumu, the bridges constructed by the contractor remain flooded and partially buried under weeds. The culverts are choked with silt and weeds. It has left in its trail dissatisfaction and agony to the many traders who ply their trade in Tumu in the Sissala East district. The Upper West Department of Urban Roads office pegs progress of work at less than two percent.

Nashiru Nashara, a trader says the current state of the road is affecting their business.

This assertion was corroborated by a middle-aged trader, Mumuni Maria. She is appalled by the state of the roads and wants swift government intervention.

This road contract was awarded to Batuowiisi Company Limited barely three months after the roads and highways ministry issued the company with a certificate to commence work.

According to records from the Registrar General’s department, the Batuowiisi Company Limited, was set up on the 12th of April, 2017 barely a month after parliament’s appointments committee approved the nomination of then deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Amidu Issahaku Chinnia.

The company directors were Abdul Bazak Chinnia, the Deputy Minister’s brother, Olantunji Amuda, his cousin and Dimbie Yahaya, his driver.

Executive Director of Community Development Alliance Ghana, Salifu Issifu Kanton, has been advocating for the rehabilitation of the selected town roads. As an indigene of Tumu, he says the frustrations of the people are evident in their disappointment in successive government.

But, according to him, the state of the roads and the circumstances surrounding how the contract was awarded raises concerns of conflict of interest.

He said the selected town road earmarked for rehabilitation is a game changer in opening up Tumu township to business.

Project Manager, Alhaji Keba Mahama, is the contractor who worked on the bridges and culverts. He says the contract was sublet to him by Dimbie Yahaya, the driver of the deputy minister. He says work has stalled because of funds. But, that was not the promise made to him when he was first contacted to take up the project.

When JoyNews contacted the Roads and Highways Ministry for details on the project, Acting Chief Director, Dr. Abass Awulu, said the contract was awarded through an open competitive tender and was advertised in the Ghanaian Times.

Three firms bought the tender documents and submitted the same on the closing date. On the question of how a company with no track record in road construction was awarded this contract, he said the evaluation of tenders went through a post-qualification exercise at the end of which the lowest evaluated tender, the Batuowiisi Company Limited, was recommended for the award by the Upper West Regional Entity Tender Committee.