Former General Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC) Atik Mohammed has accused Ghana’s dominant political parties – National Democratic Congress(NDC) and the New Patriotic Party(NPP) – of elite capture with respect to how companies like waste management giant, Zoomlion, are treated when the Auditor General’s Report cites them for financial malfeasance, arguing that protecting the public purse means ending the impunity of companies like Zoomlion that get repeatedly flagged in the Auditor-General’s Reports but suffer no consequences.
Mr Atik Mohammed accused the NPP and NDC of profiting from the financial malfeasance of these companies but merely opposing them only when they are in opposition for political benefit.
“Almost every Auditor General’s report fingers Zoomlion and yet, nothing is done to it (or him). This is a classic case of elite capture. Protecting the public purse and getting value for money means ending the impunity of the likes of Zoomlion.
But you know what, that won’t happen because the politicians are profiting from the present arrangement. They are loudest against what the company does to the country in opposition, but mutest in government. Such a shame! But that day of reckoning is coming and it will be soon,” he said in reaction to the 2020 Auditor General’s Report that has cited Zoomlion for receiving undeserving payments from Government.
The 2020 Auditor General’s Report revealed that Zoomlion received huge payments from Government for no work done. But the company has denied the claims of the Auditor General.
In a press statement, Zoomlion said:
“On the issue of the refund of GHc3,801,530.00 the company wishes to state that upon becoming aware of the payment, the company and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies for which payment was made (“the affected MMDAs”), constituted a team of joint representatives to determine the status of the first quarter payments. The team completed its work and submitted a report to the parties. Subsequently, the parties passed a resolution dated May 7, 2019 to state, among other things, that “deduction made for the first quarter of 2018 is justified…no refund is required” and “Zoomlion will continue to offer fumigation and sanitation services in accordance with contracts signed”.
We further wish to inform the public that work has already been done in all the MMDAs with certificates of completion signed by all interested parties.
A little more investigation into the issues by the Auditor-General would have revealed that the issues had been resolved.
On the issue of payments of GHc95,000,000.00 to Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited (SSGL) and the recommendation for refund. The report of the Auditor-General on this matter is inaccurate and misleading because the said payment was not given to SSGL as a credit guarantee.
We find the report of the Auditor-General and the subsequent media reportage to be quite misleading and unfortunate as they capture only one side of the story without situating the issues in their proper contexts.
The report is therefore calculated to mislead unsuspecting members of the public and to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of the company. We therefore entreat the general public to disregard the report and the media reportage.
It is unfortunate that the Auditor-General, against the advice of the Supreme Court (ref: Zoomlion Ghana limited vrs. Auditor General) did not seek the input of the service providers (Zoomlion Ghana Limited and SSGL) and other stakeholders regarding the issues before coming out with its report.
The Auditor-General did not contact Zoomlion Ghana Limited and SSGL, neither did the Auditor-General query nor heard the companies before finalizing and publishing its report. This is a blatant disregard for the right of fair hearing.
We have therefore petitioned the office of the Auditor-General to address the anomalies created by its reports and the subsequent media reportage.
Zoomlion Ghana Limited remains a responsible corporate citizen which works ethically with integrity to promote environmental sanitation across the country. We therefore find such publication as a deliberate attempt to vilify the company.
The Management of Zoomlion Ghana Limited wishes to reassure its stakeholders and the general public that it had done no wrong and call on the media to be decorous in their reportage of such national reports to avoid causing disaffection towards this one company that has been at the forefront of fighting the waste menace in this country and led the drive to curb the spread of the current pandemic.”