War Over $525,000 AFCON Contract
Rex Danquah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rics Consult, a sports consultancy firm has threatened to drag the Ministry of Youths and Sports to court after being told at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting yesterday that he has no locus to collect an amount of $525,000 from the Ministry as an executed contract sum which did not have any legal agreement backing it.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports had bid for the hosting of the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2014 under the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and Rics Consult headed by Rex Danquah had thrown in a bid through sole-sourcing to prepare the bid document for the Ministry.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports with Mahama Ayariga then in charge paid an initial amount of $125,000 which was not part of the contract sum to Mr Rex Danquah’s Rics Consult to start the process of the preparation of the bid document and after the execution of the said bid document an additional $68,000 was also paid from the contract sum to him again.
All these processes went on without Mr Rex Danquah having a signed contract with the Ministry of Youth and Sports so when Ghana failed in its bid to host 2017 African Cup of Nations Tournament, Mr Danquah has been chasing the rest of his contract money without any success.
The matter came up at the PAC sitting yesterday when the Minister for Youth and Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah led officials of the ministry to answer queries raised in the 2015 Auditor-General’s report on Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The Chief Accountant of the Ministry, Mr Emmanuel Oteng told PAC yesterday that the Ministry was not in a position to pay the amount because there is no official contract signed to that effect.
He said when Rics Consult went into a verbal agreement with the Ministry to prepare the bid document at the cost $525,000 at the time Hon Mahama Ayariga was in charge, no official contract was signed to that effect.
According to the Chief Accountant of the Ministry, Hon Mahama Ayariga was reshuffled from the ministry on April 10, 2015 six clear months after Mr Danquah had sought the approval of the ministry to prepare the bid document yet no official contract existed between the Minister and Mr Danquah.
The Chief Accountant further told PAC that after the exit of Hon Mahama Ayariga, two other persons, Hon Mustapha Ahmed and Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye who were appointed to serve as Ministers under the same NDC administration were confronted with the same AFCON bidding issue but both refused to sanction the payment of the said money because according to them, there was no signed contract to that effect.
Mr Rex Danquah resurrected the matter again when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took over power in 2017 with the appointment of Hon Isaac Asiamah as the Sports Minister and brought the issue before him for the payment of the AFCON bidding money but the minister also refused his request.
The chairman of PAC, James Klutse Avedzi told Mr Danquah that the Ministry has a case for not paying that money because he (Danquah) cannot produce any official contract document covering his claim.
He said Mr Danquah should have insisted on officially signed contract before Hon Ayariga who was in charge at the time got reshuffled six months after giving the go-ahead to prepare the document.
When the Minister for Youth and Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah was asked about his position on the matter, he told the committee that after taking office this year, Mr Danquah brought his request alongside some documents for the payment of that outstanding amount.
According to the Minister, he immediately asked the internal auditor of the Ministry to investigate the issue but after the investigation it was realized that no contract of that nature existed between the Ministry and Mr Danquah’s Rics Consult.
He said in view of that the Ministry could not pay that money to Mr Danquah.
He said the initial $125,000 paid to Mr Danquah was even questionable adding that even if Rics Consult merited that amount “I believe the initial amount of $125,000 for the start of the process was too much on the high side”.
Mr Rex Danquah in defending his stand said he has minutes of all meetings held between him and the minister then and even have videos of consultations between him and the then minister and so he was prepared to use that as evidence and proceed to court to collect his money from the government.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr