EC ‘blows’ GH¢3.9m to partition office’

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CHARLOTTE5-01THE Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei, has explained why she requested for a new office complex for the Commission from the presidency.

She, however, denied accusations that the GH¢3.9m contract for partitioning the offices did not follow the procurement law.
The petitioners said with the Chairperson’s insatiable demand of affluence and flamboyance, she unilaterally awarded a contract to the tune of GH¢3.9 million for demarcation and partitioning of the said office complex without recourse to the Commission.
She claimed she sought approval from the Public Procurement Authority but strangely enough, the contract sum is higher than approved level.
In response Mrs Osei said, “with regard to the contract for partitioning of the 8-floor office building, the procurement laws were scrupulously followed”.
“A copy of the Tender Evaluation report is attached. The scope of the contract included glazed aluminum partitions for all 8 floors, plumbing and sanitary installations, ventilation/air conditioning installations, electrical installations, servicing of the lifts, demolitions, masonry works and painting amongst others,” she added.
According to her, Directors of the Commission at the head office comprising Finance, Human Resource (HR), Information Technology (IT) and Electoral Services as well as an external consultant were members of the evaluation panel.
She explained that the Chairperson of the Commission was not a member of the Tender Evaluation Panel and the bid submitted by Inocon Limited was the lowest of the three bids and was recommended to the Chairperson for approval.
“The Chairperson of the Commission is not and has never been a member of the Tender Evaluation Committee and cannot, therefore, influence the award of the contract.
“Indeed, Mrs. Osei was not even present in the ETC meeting where tenders were opened for the partitioning contract‘.
“The Chairperson is the only one authorised by the policies of the Commission to sign contracts,” she added. 
In any case, for the said contract that is allegedly unknown to the Commission, payment was approved and paid by the Deputy Chairperson Corporate Services without the knowledge and authorisation of the Chairperson.
Mrs Osei noted that there is no requirement in law or in policy, for the Chairperson to seek the approval of the Commission for the execution of any contracts. 
“Evidence of any law or policy requiring this approval should, as a matter of law, be presented by the petitioners.
“An investigation into the processes for award of the contract and a value for money assessment would be welcome as it would be based on law and policies and not motivated by ill will and pettiness,” she added.
According to the petitioners, the 7-member Commission has not at any point in time formally requested for any office allocation since the Commission sees nothing wrong the current office.
However, Mrs Osei said the current head office building of the EC located near the Ridge Hospital in Accra, has leaking and damaged roofs, poor electrical wiring, damp walls and lack of storage facilities to store election equipment resulting in significant losses and inefficient use of resources at the Commission.
She, therefore, informed the Commission in late 2015 that the Commission had requested new office premises from the Presidency to house the new secretariat of the Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA) after Ghana had been voted as a permanent secretariat of the AAEA in July 2015 with responsibility to provide office space for the AAEA.
According to her, in February 2016, at a Commission meeting members were informed that government had allocated a new office building to the Commission through the office of the Chief of Staff.
She stated that members were further informed that the new office was a new building and would only require partitioning and all commissioners were encouraged to visit the new premises.
“The Chairperson subsequently visited the new site with the two Deputy Chairpersons and a commission member, all of who were very excited by the new office.
“The Chairperson has no control over the office of the Chief of Staff or the Presidency and clearly cannot obtain the permission of the Commission if a new office is allocated to the Commission,” she added.
Mrs Osei explained that the current offices have major structural defects, significant parts of the roof are collapsing, significant leakages in most offices, damp and mouldy walls, electrical defects have been discovered and pointed out by the Fire Service for urgent attention, the building lacks disability access, is decrepit and outdated, requiring extensive work and expense to make it habitable and reflective of the office of the Electoral Commission.
“The building houses precious lives of staff of the Commission and sensitive national assets such as the largest database of Ghanaians currently in the country. 
“The current office space is not suitable by any standards,” she added.

-The Finder

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ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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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 Morgan

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