The Managing Director of the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) , Bennet Aboagye and his personal assistant have been caught up in a massive alleged corruption in the procurement of some 300 buses for the state transport company.
Some workers of the company say they have gathered video and audio evidence of Mr. Aboagye and his personal assistant, Yiadom Kessie “openly requested for bribes/commissions” before awarding contracts to suppliers or signing cheques.
According to the workers who have petitioned the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu to further investigate the matter, they planted a “third ear” at some strategic locations when they got information last year that the MD and his Personal Assistant were engaged in fraud.
They explained the intention for planting the “third ear” was to get first-hand information about the scandal, which they claim, covers other key players.
“The third ear revealed among others, malpractices involving the intended purchase of 300 buses from China to be supplied by Ankai Company and RDC Company, the purchase of electrical products, sales of MMT scraps buses among others,” the petition read in part.
According to the workers, even though the tender was opened for the supply of buses, “it is crystal clear that it was just a show and that before the MMT called for submissions of interest, the MD and his people had already decided who to give the contract to.
“Yet, they took tips from the other companies” they alleged in the petition
They claimed the companies that offered the best and lowest price per bus were deliberately eliminated. They mentioned some of the companies as ZK and Yutong Ghana Limited.
More serious was the claim by the workers that key NPP member Dr. Amoako Tuffour attempted to prevent the revelation from going public, with a promise to compensate them with GHC60,000 “for gathering the intelligence”.
“Dr. Amoako Tuffour pleaded we do not leak the revelation to the public and that requesting commissions/bribe is done everywhere”
According to them, few minutes after leaving Dr. Tuffour’s office on March 15, 2018, Mr. Kessie intimated to them that they were ready to pay over GHC60,000 “for our silence”
At a meeting with Dr. Tuffuor on Friday, March 23, 2018, the workers said he presented to them GHC20,000 being part payment of the amount, and asked them to surrender the audio tapes with the documents the following day, Saturday 24/3/18”.
“Again they intimated when they notice that the issue has not been leaked, they will add in installment same amount monthly until the total sum of GHC100,000 is given,” the workers claimed in the petition dated April 9 sighted by 3news.com
The workers claimed they took the money as exhibit and deposited same into the Security Coordinator and Lead investigator’s secured safe.
According to them, the MD and his people tried to recruit one Mr. Agyekum “to secretary record the DMD’s so they could manipulate it in an effort to discredit the evidence we have in our possession after the fruitless attempts they put to get our evidence”.
Workers seek SP intervention
The workers thus want the Special Prosecutor to take over investigations into the alleged corruption scandal.
In their estimation, it is without doubt that the acquisition of the 300 buses is “shrouded in serious assassination of the procurement processes and for that matter massive corruption among the players”
The workers said it would not be out of place for the Special Prosecutor to probe further and cancel whatever state MMT has gotten to with the bus acquisition.
They said they are ready to personally hand over “audio and video recording regarding the transcript” which they have attached to the petition, to the Special Prosecutor
But the MD, Mr. Aboagye has rubbished the claims of the supposed workers describing their action as a clear case of extortion and blackmail being spearheaded by the security coordinator of MMT, one Lawal.
“This is a clear case of extortion and blackmail by an employee,” Mr. Aboagye said in a statement issued on Monday counter the allegations.
He said it was not surprising that Lawal who was acting as the agent between him and the people who attempted to blackmail him in the whole saga has now turned the petitioner.
According to the MD, he had information that his office has been bugged on March 14, 2018 following which he consulted his lawyer. The lawyer, he said, advised him to contact the BNI to sweep his office.
On the next day while on his way to the BNI, he said his personal assistant called to inform him that Lawal wanted a meeting between them. According to him, he asked his PA to meet him alone, which he did.
“There, he was given this transcript which seemed to enumerate a number of allegations against me,” the MD said.
Lawal, according to Mr. Aboagye, claimed to be fronting for the people who had the evidence against him, and that they were demanding 1 million dollars, “an amount Lawal thought was outrageous and has therefore negotiated in advance on our behalf to reduce the amount to 500,000 dollars.”
According to the Mr. Aboagye, he called Dr. Amoako Tuffour to inform brief him about the development, following which Dr. Tuffour invited them to his office.
Dr. Amoako Tuffour had a meeting with Lawal alone in his office at the State House and realized the people had “done some recordings on some NPP functionaries and that it was necessary for us to find a way of getting the said recordings from him,” Mr. Aboagye said
“Dr. Amoako wanted us to bait Lawal so he proposed that instead of Lawal’s initial 1 million dollar demand, we should make an offer of GHC20,000” he added.
Lawal, according to the MD, was communicated to about the offer but he said he needed to get in touch with his people.
On March 19, the MD said they went to report the matter to the Police CID which advised them “to bait Lawal to get the recording device. They also cautioned us for legal purposes to take pictures or audio recording of extortion when giving the money to him which we did.”
Mr. Aboagye said Lawal went to Dr. Amoako Tuffour the next day to inform him that his people rejected the offer following which Dr. Tuffour was said to have increased the amount to GHC40,000.
The MD said he was informed by Dr. Amoako Tuffuor on March 22 that Lawal had called to accept the GHC40,000 offer.
“We made GHC20,000 available and Dr. Amoako Tuffour entreated Lawal to take the initial deposit of GHC20,000 and bring the recording before final payment would be made”
According to the MD, Lawal on March 23 went to Dr. Amoako Tuffuor’s office where he received the GHC20,000.
“Dr. Amoako Tuffour then did audio recordings along with his CCTV cameral capturing everything at the State House,” Mr Aboagye said.
He said he on March 25 updated the Police CID the development before travelling to China.
Three days later, he said he got a call from the Police CID that Lawal had been picked up and that “initial investigation pointed to the fact that Lawal was acting alone.”
He was detained but later granted bail
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana