“GHOST OF SADA” HAUNTS MAHAMA: NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY EXPOSES ROTTEN $9.5M TRICYCLE DEAL Featured

The Northern Development Authority (NDA) will in the coming weeks begin the sale of tricycles purchased by former President John Mahama’s corruption-laden Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) under questionable circumstances, and at obviously inflated prices.

 

In 2015, the now defunct SADA signed a public-private partnership agreement with Unik Savannah Ltd to procure 5,000 tricycles at a cost of US$9.5 million.

The deal, labelled “SADA-UNIK Savannah Tricycles Agreement”, involved the importation and delivery of 5,000 tricycles at a unit cost of over GHC10,000.

Under the contractual agreement, UNIK Savannah Ltd was to procure, assemble and retail the tricycles. The company was also “to identify market officers or agents, and through a hire purchase agreement sell out these tricycles via a credit system process”.

Of the 5,000 tricycles imported, 3,000 were assembled, 2,239 of the total figure were subsequently released or sold, and 732 were “left under very unfriendly weather conditions”.

“Gain-and-collapse”

UNIK Savannah Ltd, otherwise known as UNIK Dezines, strangely collapsed within six months of its creation.

According to officials at the NDA, UNIK Savannah had shown a clear inability to recover payments from beneficiaries of tricycles through its marketing officers and agents.

This, officials said, “was strange and appeared to have been orchestrated deliberately for a personal ‘gain-and-collapse’ game masterplan”.

Marketing officers of UNIK Savannah Ltd were fingered in fraudulent transactions after they reportedly received payments from certain beneficiaries but failed to account for these.

Dubious

After this, monies which were expected to be paid into a special account at Stanbic Bank to amortise a letter of credit guaranteed by the Authority were never paid.

Officials say “a whopping US$9.5m was provided by SADA alone via a letter of credit arrangement and none by its PPP partner” to procure the tricycles.

“It was realised that the organisational structure of UNIK Savannah was deficient, paving the way for fraud by some of the marketing staff,” they add.

“There are still more questions than answers. Where is the PPP agreement between SADA and UNIK Savannah? What were the terms of agreement between SADA and UNIK Savannah?”

Failed project

Addressing a press conference in Tamale, the acting chief executive officer of the NDA, Dr Abdul Majeed Haroun, said that out of GHC33.6m expected from the sale of the tricycles, payments totalling less than GHC1.3m have been made by beneficiaries.

“Out of the total of GHC33,649,200 expected from the sale of the tricycles, only a woeful GHC1,258,271 payments have been made by beneficiaries (ie, under 4 per cent), leaving an outstanding balance of GHC32,390,929.
“This 96 per cent loss, totalling $8m, to an economic zone that the UNDP in their 2018 Human Welfare study acknowledge as the poorest in Ghana, is unfortunate and constitutes a serious financial loss to the state,” he said.

Recover loans

Dr Haroun highlighted steps taken so far by the present management to recover the debts.

“We had to make a complete study of the situation to understand ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how’, and therefore we have contacted within the last few months some of those that were reported beneficiaries and have tried to make some recoveries.
“We had to clear a few and understand exactly what the situation had been with records to support that before going after them,” he said.

He further announced that in the coming days management will begin to sell off the tricycles and will also prosecute individuals as the need arises.

“We are happy to announce that the many hurdles have been cleared and management is set to begin sales within the next couple of weeks. We are by this urging those who are still indebted to the Authority to make efforts in settling their indebtedness before they are named and shamed,” he said.

NDC’s reaction

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress has responded to the claims, saying they are an attempt by the NDA to lower the value of the tricycles and sell them to NPP party boys.

Addressing a counter press conference, the Savannah Regional communications officer of the NDC, Malik Basintale, said the NPP government should be held accountable for the current state of the tricycles.

“But in your own press conference, you said that this transaction took place in only 2015 and we left office in 2016. Where were the years? In other words, you should hold yourself responsible, because you have had three years of leaving them under those weather conditions you claim we have left them,” he said.

“This is another critical point. You invite STC to come and value what we have left under harsh weather conditions and you claim that they have valued the unassembled tricycles that were left in the containers and realised that they had devaluated.
“This is an attempt to share our tricycles to your disappointed NPP members in the name of salvaging their poverty situation. We would not permit you to use SADA as salvage to that situation,” Mr Basintale said.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 09 October 2019 05:19
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