The Covid-19 Corruption Risk Assessment Report 2021 has cited Head of Virology at Noguchi Medical Research Institute, Prof. William Ampofo for conflict of interest in the controversial Frontiers Healthcare Services contract.
According to the report, Prof. Ampofo who is cousin to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, supervised the validation of Frontiers Healthcare Services to commence its operations in Ghana even before the company could get approval.
The Corruption Risk Assessment Report, based on finding between March and April, 2021, said that his involvement as local agent was with no obvious value to the performance of the contract.
The 67-page report by the Community Development Alliance said that the company appears to have been hurriedly incorporated to take charge of Covid-19 testing at Kotoka International Airport (K.I.A) as it has no record of ever providing such services, did not have the requisite personnel and had not been licensed by the regulator, HeFRA.
Read full Covid 19 Corruption Risk Assessement Report 2021 here.
The report stated that “Dr. William Ampofo, Head of Virology at Noguchi Medical Research Institute (coincidentally a cousin of President Akufo-Addo and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta) oversaw the validation processes for Frontiers Healthcare to begin the antigen tests at a time approval had not been secured, with Frontiers relying principally on the use of Noguchi staff.”
When President Akufo-Addo reopened Ghana’s airports on September 1 last year, government hurriedly awarded a contract for Covid-19 antigen testing at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to Frontiers Healthcare.
On the same day, Ghana Airport Company granted Frontier the permit to start operations and they did, even though they had no known experience in that job.
Per the deal, non-ECOWAS passengers coming to Ghana by air were required to pay $150 for a 30-minute PCR Covid-19 test administered by Frontiers Healthcare.
It later emerged that $40 out of the $150 was paid to the airport company, but the company debunked that allegation saying it only got $10 out the fee, which was heavily criticized by travelers and Parliamentarians as too high.
Meanwhile, the Corruption Risk Report is now raising red flags over breaches of the Public Procurement Act as well as the Health Institutions & Facilities Act of 2011 (Act 829).
“The qualification criteria on basis of tenderers possessing professional and technical qualifications and competence, financial resources; equipment and other physical facilities; managerial capability, reliability, experience in the procurement object and reputation; and the personnel to perform the procurement contract,” Section 22 (1) (a) of the PPA Act specifies.
Also, Section 11 (1) of the HeFRA (Act 829) states that, “a person shall not operate a facility unless the facility is licensed under this Act’’.
The Covid-19 Corruption Risk Assessment Report 2021 recommended that the Government of Ghana among other things, publish all public contracts by using open and competitive bidding and use emergency non-competitive processes only when followed by adequate forms of control, auditing and reporting scrutinizing.
It also proposed the publication of beneficial ownership information of companies that are awarded contracts.