‘Fraudulent’ Zoomlion loses appeal against Auditor General on GHc184 million fumigation payments

A waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, has lost an appeal against the Auditor General at an Accra High Court.

Zoomlion went to the court over the decision of the Auditor General to disallow over GHȻ184 million which the National Health Insurance Authority paid to Zoomlion.

The payments were in respect of one of the multiple fumigation contracts, which Zoomlion has with different state agencies and the assemblies.

Zoomlion’s fumigation contract with the Ministry of Health started in 2009 and had been running for ten years. This fumigation is supposed to be done at the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.

The waste management company has a fumigation contract with all the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the country. This contract has been running since 2010 and payments are deducted from the District Assemblies’ Common Fund.

Between 2014 and 2017, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development had also engaged Zoomlion to do fumigation in the same assemblies.

A Joy News investigation, by Manasseh Azure Awuni, in 2017 revealed that only one fumigation was done unsatisfactorily but Zoomlion received payments from different government institutions.

Zoomlion argued that the payments it received were legitimate but the auditor General presented evidence, including the Robbing the Assemblies documentary by Manasseh Azure Awuni, then with JoyNews to prove that the company was fraudulently paid the money.

According to the Auditor-General, “as a result of this fraud committed on the people of Ghana, poor taxpayers’ money was used to pay the whopping amount of ¢184,901,650.00 to the Appellant [Zoomlion].”

“The Respondent hereby submits its reply together with the evidence it intends to rely on at the hearing of this appeal in accordance with the rules on the said Disallowance and Surcharge in this reply. My lord with the leave of this Honourable Court the Respondent intends to address the three grounds of appeal together.

“The Respondent upon a careful review of the documents tendered in support of the payments to the Appellant is of the candid opinion that the Appellant has at all material times, been fraudulent and has caused a drain on the scarce state resources,” the Auditor General argued.

Today, the court ruled in favour of the Auditor General.

Even though Zoomlion has been named in many corruption scandals in Ghana, this is the first time a state institution has taken action against the company. Zoomlion was blacklisted by the World Bank for two years when it executed a World Bank contract in Liberia.

According to the World Bank, Zoomlion “paid bribes to facilitate contract execution and processing of invoices.”

In 2019, the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service submitted a docket to the Attorney General on one of Zoomlion’s fumigation contracts which were fraught with fraud.

It is unclear why the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, has not acted on it. The Attorney General is yet to also take action another corruption investigative report on Zoomlion, which the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) presented to her outfit.

Watch the “Robbing Assemblies” report below

Source The Ghana Report/Manasseh Azure Awuni

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