BNI official says it is strange to award and execute contract within 14 days

Mr Godfred Agyapong, Head of Audit, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), on Wednesday said it was strange for a project to be awarded on contract and executed within 14 days.

Continuing with his evidence-in-chief before a High Court in Accra, Mr Agyapong said rehabilitation of the Ministerial block of the Ministry of Information and National Orientation started on October 27, 2008 and was evaluated and completed on November 10, 2008.

Witness was testifying in the case in which Stephen Asamoah Boateng, ex-Minister of Information and National Orientation, his wife Zulieka Lorwia and six others are standing trial for failing to follow due process before rehabilitating the Ministerial building in Accra.

The fifth prosecution witness said during investigations, he came across a final certificate prepared by Supreme Procurement Agency and issued to Phlexifom Ventures.

Witness said the certificate which was to facilitate payments to Phlexifom Ventures was signed by Mr Godwin Agbesi of the Supreme Procurement Agency (SPA).

Mr Agyapong said he therefore invited Mr Agbesi and he (Agbesi) told him that he did not personally come to inspect the project at the Ministry.

According to Witness, Mr Agbesi said he was instructed by Prosper Arku, his boss, to prepare and sign the certificate for final payments of the project.

Witness said he found out that SPA was owned by Arku, who in turn denied ever instructing Mr Agbesi to sign the said certificate.

According to him the certificate was attached to a number of documents dated November 19, 2008 and forwarded to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) for payment on work done as well as payment of three 4×4 vehicles.

Among the documents forwarded to the MOFEP was a letter signed by Frank Agyekum, Former Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation and one of the accused persons.

Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, his wife Zulieka Lorwia, and six public officers have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the State.

Also in court was a non-legal entity firm, Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited.

The accused persons are alleged to have conspired to defraud the State of GH¢86,915.85 in renovation works undertaken on the Ministerial Block during Asamoah-Boateng’s tenure of office.

Other accused persons are Kofi Asamaoh Boateng, Former Director of Finance and Administration at the Ministry of Information, Dominic A. Sampong, Former Acting Chief Director, Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Kwabena Denkyira, Former Director of Finance and Administration of the Ministry, Prosper Arku of the non-legal entity firm and Yasmine Domua, a businesswoman.

They have all pleaded not guilty.

The court has admitted them to GH¢10,000 bail each with a surety.

Hearing continues on March 23.

Source: GNA

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