The amount, which is about GH¢2 million, is for the purchase of 24 pieces of 18-carat ladies’ gold watches and 48 pieces of gents’ gold watches, with each going for almost $7,000 – the equivalent of GH¢28,000.
However, the bank has justified the spending, saying that its retired staff deserve such gold watches as end-of-service benefits.
In a statement, the bank said, “End-of-service benefits, as part of the conditions of service for staff, is a longstanding tradition of the bank, an obligation the bank has always fulfilled to boost staff morale and commitment to the goals and ideals of the institution.”
The controversial acquisition of the expensive gold watches strangely did not go through tender, typical of the current National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration’s sole sourcing policy.
The bank said a request was sent to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to sole source the procurement of the gold watches from Messrs A Swiss Watch Company.
The request letter indicated that the BoG intended to use part of its 2016 budgetary allocation to fund the procurement of the gold watches – all Tissot – from the dealer.
This has raised a lot of mind-boggling questions about the propriety of the decision, especially in these times that most Ghanaians are complaining of serious economic hardship.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Effutu Constituency in the Central Region, Alex Afenyo Markin, questioned the rationale behind the acquisition and asked for a parliamentary probe of the deal.
He said at the time when the country was taking some austerity measures, doling out over half a million dollars for gold watches is a misplaced priority and a profligate spending of the tax payer’s money.
In a statement released in Accra yesterday, the Central Bank said the award scheme had been the convention of the bank since the 1970s.
The statement said, “In 2012, the bank decided to procure the gold watches once every two years (i.e. 2012/13 etc.) in order to control cost and make savings on foreign exchange.”
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) hurriedly approved the request for the gold watches purchase to be sole sourced.
However, the Central Bank insisted that no procurement rules were breached, adding that the procurement process for the period 2016/2017 commenced in January 2016 before the appointment of the current Governor.
The BoG said the PPA is an independent public institution, whose work cannot be influenced by the bank or any other institution and that “at all times, the bank abides by good governance principles that ensure a robust and effective internal control systems and processes,” thereby justifying its decision.
By Cephas Larbi
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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