Joy News investigation has revealed that the cost of 350 vehicles procured in 2016 by the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) for private transport operators cost the state over GHS18 million.
This is higher than the market price of the vehicles from the same supplier.
The vehicles were purchased for the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) but the transport operators have rejected the vehicles because of the alleged price inflation.
Manasseh Azure Awuni spent the last seven months investigating how various vehicles procured by the state have been grounded.
In the first of the series titled Grounded Wheels, Manasseh delved into the reason the MASLOC vehicles are still parked since 2016.
The 350 vehicles are parked in the National Security yard behind the Accra International Conference Centre, in Accra.
Some of the salon cars have been completely covered with weeds. The vehicles comprise 100 33-seater Isuzu buses, 100 Chevy Sparklite Salon Cars and 150 Chevy Aveo salon cars.
MASLOC procured these vehicles in 2016 for the Ghana Private Road Transport Union but the Union has rejected them.
The Chief Executive Officer of MASLOC, Stephen Amoah, says the transport union rejected the vehicles because they are overpriced.
As part of this investigation, Joy News went to the supplier of the vehicles, Mac Autos and Spareparts Ghana Limited for quotations in August 2018, two years after the company sold the vehicles to MASLOC.
From the company, the 2016 prices of the vehicle are lower than 2018 prices, but our investigation revealed that the cost at which the company sold the vehicles to MASLOC in 2016 is far higher than the cost at which it sold to the public in 2018.
For instance, Mac Ghana sold the 33-seater Izuzu bus to the general public in 2018 at $79,000 but sold to MASLOC in 2016 at 107,000 dollars, a difference of $28,000 dollars a bus.
The company sold the Chevy Sparklite salon cars in 2018 at $9000 but sold to MASLOC at $12,500. In 2018, Mac had stopped selling Chevy Aveo salon cars, but an August 2017 pro forma invoice from the company which JoyNews obtained as part of this investigation quotes the price of each Chevy Aveo vehicle at $14, 000.
However, the company supplied each of the 150 vehicles to Masloc at $18,000.
In all the cost of the vehicles sold to MASLOC is higher than the market price of the vehicles by at least $3,750,000 or GHc 18,375,000.
Joy News made several attempts to get speak to the CEO of MASLOC who signed the contract, Sedina Tamakloe Ationu, but we could not get her to comment. When Joy News wrote to MAC Ghana for a response, the company denied any wrongdoing. In a letter to Joy News, MAC Ghana said:
“The reasonable difference in prices of the vehicles sold to MASLOC and the prices sold to the general public was due to the fact that it was not paid upfront in cash, but over a period of two years, as such, an interest was put on the price as is [the] custom in car purchases.”
Joy News investigation revealed more anomalies with this contract beyond the prices. We secured a record of all the vehicles imported by Mac Ghana from January 2016 to December 2017.
We also secured details of all the vehicles cleared by the company for which duty was paid. When the details of the vehicles supplied to MASLOC were searched the vehicles cleared, they were not found.
Checks with the Ghana Revenue Authority confirmed that the company did not pay duty on the vehicles it supplied to MASLOC. According to the Ghana Revenue Authority, the duty on the 350 vehicles amounted to GHS10,500,000.
Further investigation revealed that the Ministry of Finance had written to waive the duty for the company pending a parliamentary approval, which did not happen. Our investigation, however, reveals the company was not entitled to a duty waiver according to the terms of the contract.
Article 32 of the contract states: “A supplier shall be entirely responsible for all taxes, duties, license fees etc incurred until the delivery of the contracted goods to the final destination.”
CEO of MASLOC, Stephen Amoah says the GPRTU has made a proposal to take the vehicles at a price that the government considers too low.
Executives of the GPRTU told Joy News the union had its own preference for suppliers, but MASLOC insisted on using MAC Ghana. GPRTU says MASLOC did not discuss the price with them or sign any contract with them before importing the 350 vehicles.
A procurement specialist, Kobina Atta-Bedu says the government committed a series of anomalies in the transaction.
He says the value of the vehicles that have been left in the sun since 2016 will surely reduce by the time MASLOC gets interested buyers.
Some roadworthy stickers on some of the vehicles reveal they were in the country before April 2016.
The fate of the vehicles is not known. What is known is that irrespective of how the vehicles are disposed off, the state will sell have to sell them at a lower price than it paid for them.