COVID-19 test at KIA: I wasn’t privy to procurement processes – Adwoa Safo

COVID-19 test at KIA: I wasn’t privy to procurement processes – Adwoa Safo

The former Minister of State for Procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo, says she has no knowledge of the procurement processes adopted prior to contracting the firm conducting COVID-19 test at the Kotoka International Airport.

She also said she hasn’t seen the contract for the deal.

Speaking during her vetting for the Gender, Children and Social Protection portfolio, she joined three previous minister-nominees who have not been able to give clarity on the controversial contract granted Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited.

This is despite the fact that she was the chief advisor to the President on procurement matters.

Madam Adwoa Safo instead suggested the Finance Minister under Akufo-Addo’s first term, Ken Ofori-Atta may have answers.

“I want to state on record that the Public Procurement Act of 2003 was not changed during my tenure as Minister of State for Public Procurement so the supervisory minister which is clearly stated in the law is the Minister for Finance.”

Appearing before the Appointments Committee earlier, the Health Minister-Designate, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, noted that the contract for the testing was given out under emergency procurement.

Ghana’s procurement law provides that emergency procurement and donations shall be undertaken in a natural disaster, epidemics and others subject to the Public Procurement Board’s approval in accordance with Act 663, Section 40.

The government engaged Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests following the reopening of the airport to International Passenger flights.

It was at a point said to be operating whilst unlicensed.

“We were not in normal times; we had to do things quickly and rectify them later,” Mr. Agyemang-Manu said of the situation.

“The licensing was even done on my insistence. When I went to do the checks and I found out that it hadn’t been done and I told them to quickly let us go and rectify the anomaly before things get worse.”

The firm charged $150 for the 30-minute PCR test.

The amount was recently reduced to $50 for ECOWAS citizens and but was maintained at $150 for non-ECOWAS citizens.

Mr. Agyemang-Manu also said a presidential taskforce was handling the contract.

Aside from Madam Safo and Mr. Agyemang-Manu, the minister-nominees for Justice and Foreign Affairs, Godfred Dame, also said he had no knowledge of the procurement processes.