Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resource, Amidu Issahaku Chinnia

Procurement Specialist, Kobina Ata Bedu, has joined calls for investigation into the alleged conflict of interest case involving the Deputy Sanitation Minister, Amidu Issahaku Chinnia.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show, on Thursday, June 30, Mr. Ata Bedu stated that there are many questions that need answers as far as the contract is concerned.

He stated that “there’s every evidence that there’s a conflict of interest, especially when the Deputy Sanitation Minister has confessed that he led the company to procure a contract under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.”

His comment follows the JoyNews Documentary dubbed Caught in Conflict which revealed how a company linked to Mr. 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 Mr. 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, Mr. Ata Bedu asked whether the Deputy Sanitation Minister was aware of a likelihood of conflict of interest when his brother, cousin and driver formed a company immediately after he was appointed in pursuit of government business. He also sought to know what measures Mr. Chinnia took when he found out.

“Did he say he didn’t know and at what point did he know and what steps did he take when he found out, [since] the general principle in corporate governance requires that as soon as a person identifies a potential case of conflict of interest, he/she is supposed to declare it? Can he produce evidence that he declared it?” he asked.

Background

The Batuowiisi Company Limited was set up in 2017 barely a month after Chinnia was appointed. In the same year, the company 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, it was discovered that the bridges constructed by the contractor were 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 businesses.

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

Programmes Manager for GII and anti-corruption crusader, Mary Addah speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Monday explained that this is necessary to facilitate investigations into the findings against Mr. Amidu Issahaku Chinnia.