Officials of the Local Assemblies are heaving a huge sigh of relief after they were directed by the sector Minister to, on their own, recruit sanitation vendors who will deal with sanitation issues at the local level.
The order given by Hajia Alima Mahama follows weeks of investigative reports by Joy News which opened the lid on how the Assemblies were fleeced by the Jospong Group of companies in the name of fighting sanitation.
The Joy News investigation which took nine months to conclude uncovered damning revelations of how a $74 million contract was signed between Jospong Group of companies and the Local Government Ministry for the supply of one million waste bins and 900,000 bin liners.
Checks by the lead investigator Manasseh Azure Awuni revealed the price for a waste bin may have been inflated to the tune of ¢130 million.
This is because even though the company was selling the waste bin at a market price of ¢150 it signed the contract with government at a price at $60 per bin [¢235.00] at the time.
In yet another damning revelation, the company was awarded another ¢98 million contract to fumigate all 11 regions as a measure to fight the outbreak of cholera.
That contract was awarded at a time Zoomlion, a subsidiary of Jospong had an existing contract to do the same job, a contract which monies are deducted every month from the District Assemblies Common Fund.
Checks by Joy News indicate that in a year, each district assembly pays Gh¢161,000, every municipal assembly pays GH¢184, 000 while the Metropolitan assemblies pay GH¢207,000 each, to Jospong for the fumigation.
Mr Siaw Agyepong
There are Six Metropolitan Assemblies, 55 Municipal Assemblies, and 155 District Assemblies. So in all, Zoomlion is paid GHȻ36.3 million cedis to spray refuse dumps, public toilets, and markets to curtail the outbreak of diseases such as cholera.
These deductions notwithstanding the Collins Dauda led Local Government Ministry wrote a letter in 2015 requesting the release of ¢98 million for a four-month fumigation exercise by 11 companies all of which belonged to Jospong.
The fumigation was to prevent the outbreak of cholera. Even though the company collected these monies many of the Assembly members say Jospong did little or no work at all.
The 2015 report of the Auditor General also made adverse findings against the Jospong Group of companies, findings that were no different from the ones Manasseh Azure Awuni found.
The revelations by Joy News is now a subject of an investigation by the police CID. Both the investigator Manasseh Azure Awuni and the head of the Jospong Group of companies Siaw Agyepong have been invited to assist in investigations into the matter.
Despite being disappointed by the failure of the Jospong Group of companies to carry out the project for which it was paid, the Assembly members are even more angry with the arrangement that allows the central government to sole source, and appoint a sanitation vendor for the local assemblies and deduct monies from their common fund.
A number of the Assembly members who spoke to Joy News at the time of the nine-month investigation said they would rather the Assemblies appoint their own vendors.
In what appears to be a dream come true, the Local Government Ministry has given the assemblies the go ahead to appoint their own vendors and ensure that the work of sanitation is done properly at the local level.
Joy News’ presidential correspondent Elton John Brobbey reported the institution of a new policy regime dubbed decentralising the award of contract for sanitation management.
By this policy, the Assemblies have to appoint their own service providers to provide sanitation services for them.
The ministry will no longer be in a position to appoint somebody in Accra for the person to go to the Assemblies and execute the sanitation jobs.