Wednesday, September 9, 2009

GH¢5million Used On tea cups

Common Fund Administrator testifies at Ghana@50 Commission of Inquiry Accra, Sept. 8, GNA - Mr Joshua Magnus Nicol, Administrator of the Common fund on Tuesday said the "huge deductions" that District Assemblies claimed were deducted from their Common Fund allocations was on the instructions of the office of the President.Testifying at the Ghana@50 Commission of Inquiry, Mr Nicol said:"My Lord, I was only acting upon instructions from the Minister of Local Government, who received a letter from the Office of the President stating that the cost of the Ghana@50 plastic cups supplied to the Assemblies should be deducted from their Common Fund allocations".Coordinating Directors of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, who appeared before the Commission, complained of huge deductions made from their respective Common Funds in respect of the anniversary souvenirs.While some of the Assemblies claimed the deductions did not correspond to the quantity of items received, others said although they did not receive such souvenirs, deductions were made from their Common Funds.The allegations by the Assemblies compelled the Commission to subpoena the Administrator of the Common Fund to appear before it to offer explanations.Mr Nicol said his outfit received a letter from the Office of the President instructing him to deduct GH¢5,160,000 from the Assemblies' Common Funds in respect of 5.4 million anniversary plastic drinking cups with a unit price of GHp97.The cups were to be distributed to school children in the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDs) in lieu of the Jubilee celebration.He said acting on the directive, he wrote to the Ghana Education Service (GES) to make available the number of beneficiaries in each district after, which deductions were made in respect of the number of children per the unit cost of the cups.Mr Nicol told the Commission that payment was to be spread in four quarters and that after the deduction from the third quarter, his outfit, received complaints from the various Assemblies about the deduction.He said, the Assemblies were therefore asked to submit letters stating their grievances adding "But as I speak now My Lord, none of the Assemblies have done so. It is only Gonja West, which submitted a letter indicating that they had not received any cups".When the Commission's counsel asked Mr Nicol whether he sought the consent of the MMD's before the deductions were made, he said that he assumed the former Chief of Staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani had discussed the issue with them since the directive came from the Office of the President."My Lord, it was not my duty to do so. I was only acting on the directive from the Minister of Local Government," he said. When asked about what he intended to do with Assemblies that had not received the cups but saw deductions made to their Common Funds, Nicol said when confirmed that the Ghana@50 Secretariat did not supply the cups, government would give them (Common Fund Secretariat) the authorization to refund the monies.Mr Willie Odoi, Managing Director of F.Malawi Engineering Company Limited, said the company supplied to the Ghana@50 Secretariat the public address system that was used at the Independence Square on the day of the celebration.He said the company received part payment of GH¢44,137.45 from the Secretariat on February 4, 2007 leaving an outstanding balance of GH¢44,137.45.Sivnesh Kumar, General Manager of Interplast Limited, who also appeared, told the Commission that the Ghana@50 Secretariat owed it 49,687 dollars for windows it supplied for the 60 presidential houses built by the African Union Development Consortium Limited (AUDCL) projects at Ridge and the La AU village at Cantonment.The company was, however, asked to demand such claims from the AUDCL and not the Ghana@50 Secretariat since AUDCL contracted them to supply the windows.

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