The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Jasikan in the Oti Region, Mr. Lawrence Aziale who openly traded slaps with his driver in March 2018, has dared his Assembly Members to take him to court following his alleged misappropriation of Assembly funds and various breaches of procurement laws.
This brazen action occurred at the Assembly’s last sitting on Monday 30th September, 2019 when a Committee set up by the Assembly read its Report, which found him culpable for various offences.
The six-member committee cited the DCE for spending unapproved amounts of money on various projects and items and flouting procurement laws in each case. The Chairman indicated that the Committee interviewed all parties involved in the various projects and referenced official documents to arrive at its conclusions.
According to the Report, the DCE spent ¢43,785 on a supposed survey works on a parcel of land donated by the Chief of Atonkor for a 1D1F project, without going through the necessary procurement processes. Besides the fact that nothing had taken place on the land over the past two years, the assembly was concerned about the fact that this project was neither planned nor budgeted for. The Committee indicated that the supposed surveyor was only shown the boundaries by four young men, dispatched by the chief and were each given GH ¢10.00.
He also paid ¢12,069.90 for repair works on the engine of the Assembly’s Hyundai Grace Mini Bus which broke down immediately after the so-called repairs. The Committee found the expenditure to be outrageous, especially when no replacement part of the vehicle was bought.
Without the approval of the Assembly, Mr. Aziale was again cited for the use of the Assembly’s resources, that is, driver, vehicle and fuel for his education in Accra from 2017 till date. To this end, the Committee recommended that he pays the commensurate amount spent in that venture. The Committee also indicted the DCE for making payments in excess of GH ¢22,000.00 as the Assembly’s contribution of 20% support of a project carried out by an NGO at a community called Amoako.
Again the Assembly Members were alarmed that the DCE had without their knowledge and approval of the Assembly made transactions costing GH ¢464,779.52. The said transaction described as the establishment of an Agricultural Mechanization Centre led to the purchase of some agricultural tractors, which had been left at the mercy of the weather at the District Agricultural Department.
When Assembly Members questioned the DCE about the outrageous unilateral expenditure on the projects that members knew nothing about; the furious DCE told the Assembly that as the representative of the President, he had the power to take any decision without the approval of the Assembly. He further dared the Assembly to take him to court. This infuriated the Assembly Members, disrupting the meeting for some time.
Other projects that raised eyebrows of members were the construction of a 6 Unit classroom block at Ketsi Nkwanta and the construction of pavement at Kute at the cost of GH ¢598,241.70 and GH ¢476,731.20 respectively. The Assembly was equally outraged by at the renovation of the Acheampong Rest House at the cos of GH ¢425,882.60, when the same facility had been renovated five years ago.
The Committee finally confirmed that all the issues raised in the petition that gave rise to the investigations were true and that the DCE as the Head of Entity awarded all the contracts. It was further observed that, all the said projects and related expenses were not captured in the approved annual Procurement Action Plan of the Assembly. The Committee also did not find any evidence of financial clearance for the payments made. Under these circumstances, the Committee was of the view that the said transactions were carried out without the required and necessary approvals by the Assembly and its relevant structures and such constituted infractions of the procurement law.
The Assembly has thus given the DCE up to the first sitting of the next Assembly to present his response.