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Ghana should repay $3.8 million to Global Fund in faulty condom deal


Lauren Gelfand
December 11,  2014

condoms1

 

 

Tender for more than 120 million condoms was riddled with fraud — and the goods were bad

Ghana’s Ministry of Health spent some $3.8 million of a Global Fund grant on faulty condoms procured in a tender that was riddled with fraud, the Office of the Inspector General has found. In addition to developing a plan to recover the funds, the Secretariat will be placing all purchasing for Ghana under the pooled procurement mechanism and requiring greater oversight by the local fund agent.

The investigation report published on 11 December confirmed that the procurement of 128 million male condoms purchased for the Ghana Health Service between 2010 and 2013 were “substandard, over-priced and bought through a non-competitive tender process involving forged documents”.

The tendering process was flawed from the outset, according to the report. Advertised only locally for a very short time period, the bid was whittled down to a single source with the immediate disqualification of two other bidders. An evaluation by the Ghana Central Tender Board was not reviewed, making the process decidedly untransparent.

Only a month after the bid was approved, the MoH agreed to a 35% per unit cost increase — an increase worth nearly $1 million over what had been a fixed-price contract that was ostensibly not subject to adjustments. According to the investigation, there is no evidence that the supplier, Global Unilink, provided the Ghana Health Service with documentation including market-pricing data to justify the price increase.

Moreover, the tender was predicated on the provision of falsified documents. Global Unilink provided misleading information related to where the condoms were manufactured, including a falsified manufacturer’s certificates that declared the condom manufacturer was WHO-certified.

This led to the other major problem: the condoms were of decidedly inferior quality. The investigation confirmed that the supplier did not source the product from a WHO-certified manufacturer, as it had been contracted to do. The purchased prophylactics did not meet WHO specifications or standards, even though the samples submitted during the tender for quality tests did come from a WHO-certified manufacturer. What this means is that quality condoms were provided for testing and low-quality ones supplied for use.

These quality issues came to light when end users reported that they burst too easily, did not contain enough lubricant and, according to one Ghanaian media report, were not big enough.

Why the Ghana Health Service failed to continue to carry out quality control tests on the Be Safe condoms remains to be seen; going forward, Aidspan understands from the Global Fund Secretariat: “the Secretariat will provide the Ghana Food and Drug Authority with advance notice of the dispatch of critical health products and commodities procured for Global Fund programs from whatever source. The LFA will verify the quality testing has been conducted before distribution.”

Other safeguards have been put in place, specifically related to the procurement of health products and commodities for Ghana. Since 2012, Ghana has been enrolled in the pooled procurement mechanism and global drug facility, meaning that ARVs, HIV test kits, drugs and diagnostic kits for malaria and TB drugs are all now procured by the Global Fund on Ghana’s behalf. The MoH is now only responsible for the procurement of products such as gloves and cotton swabs.

The Secretariat should pursue the recovery of the full $3.84 million spent on the faulty condoms — funds that Ghana itself has since 2013 been seeking from the supplier, Global Unilink, according to Ghanaian media reports.

A majority of the faulty condoms remain undistributed, stored in an MoH warehouse that, itself, has been subject to major scrutiny for the poor quality and conditions. In one Ghanaian media report, the facility was described as having a leaky roof and poor temperature controls — less than ideal conditions even at the best of times. The condoms are to be withdrawn and destroyed by the MoH and Ghana Health Service in line with “international procedural and environmental regulations” — whether this will happen is unclear.

Ghana has a generalized HIV prevalence rate of under 2% but within certain key populations, including commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men, the rate is considerably higher. Results from a demographic and health survey supported by the Global Fund should be published in 2015: the best way to determine whether there has been an increase in infection rates. It will not, however, be possible, to make any causatory inference that a spike in infections is due to the use of these problematic prophylactics.

South Africa: Police chief Bheki Cele fired by President Jacob Zuma


Global Post

By Eric Conway-Smith

June 12, 2012

Bheki Cele, suspended over allegations of dodgy property deals, has been replaced by Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega, South Africa’s first female police commissioner.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Bheki Cele has been fired as top police chief, South African President Jacob Zuma announced today.

Cele, suspended last year after allegations of unlawful property deals, has been replaced by Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega. She is South Africa’s first female national police commissioner.

Cele’s dismissal comes amid growing frustration in South Africa over corrupt and incompetent police, from traffic cops soliciting a bribe to the controversial appointments of some of the country’s highest-ranking police officials.

A board of inquiry last month found that Cele was not fit to hold office, and recommended he be dismissed.

“I have decided to release General Cele from his duties,” Zuma told reporters in Pretoria.

Allegations about Cele’s property deals were first reported in South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, on August 1, 2010.

A corruption investigator ruled last year that Cele and a government minister were involved in property deals that were “improper, unlawful, and amounted to maladministration.”

Public protector Thuli Madonsela investigated leases for buildings that were to have served as police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban, and found that the buildings were leased from a well-connected company at inflated prices.

She slammed Cele for his involvement in the deals, and called for disciplinary action against him by President Zuma.

In the Durban deal, police had offered $169 million to a politically connected property tycoon for a 10-year lease that was worth less than one third of that amount.

Cele’s predecessor, Jackie Selebi, is serving a 15-year jail sentence for corruption after being convicted of taking $156,000 in bribes from drug dealer Glenn Agliotti.

South Africa police chief faces suspension


AFP – Sat, Sep 24, 2011

South Africa’s top policeman is expected to be suspended in the coming days over allegedly fraudulent police leases, the Sunday Times reported.

According to the South African Sunday paper, President Jacob Zuma will sign a letter suspending Bheki Cele upon his return from New York, where he attended the UN general assembly.

The national police commissioner was accused by the country’s anti-graft body of turning a blind eye to lease agreements reached with businessman Roux Shabangu for police office space at three times the market rate.

Zuma’s spokesman was quoted by the newspaper as admitting that a suspension had “the potential for causing some uncertainty in the police force.”

South Africa’s crime intelligence chief Richard Mdluli appeared in court on Thursday over fraud allegations, adding to a murder charge which led to his suspension in March.

Cele was appointed police chief in 2009 to replace Jackie Selebi, who had also been suspended on corruption charges and was last year sentenced to 15 years in jail.

South Africa’s Police Chief Accused Of ‘Maladministration’ Over Lease Deal


A Police car in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image via Wikipedia

RTT News

July 15, 2011

(RTTNews) – South Africa’s Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Thursday accused the country’s police chief Gen. Bheki Cele of “maladministration” and improper conduct in the procurement of leases for police office space in the eastern port city of Durban.

In her report, Madonsela alleged that the police buildings in Durban was leased for a ten-year period at inflated prices from Roux Property Fund, owned by politically well-connected real estate magnate Roux Shabangu.

Madonsela admitted that her team failed to find any evidence of criminality in the lease deal for the new police headquarters in Durban. She, however, insisted that the 1.16-billion rand deal, which she claimed at least three times the market rate for the building, was “illegitimate” and unlawful.”

She also urged President Jacob Zuma to take action against Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde over the inflated lease agreement, pointing out that the pair was ultimately responsible for the “fatally flawed” deal.

“The failure of the national Commissioner to ensure that the procurement process complied with the said legal requirements… resulted in the invalid conclusion of the lease agreement to the detriment of the state, and therefore constituted maladministration,” she was quoted as saying in the 132-page report…Read more.

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