Waste management firm, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, has lost an appeal against the office of the Auditor-General for an amount of GH¢184,901,650.00 it was paid by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for fumigation purposes.
An Accra High Court on Friday, sustained the Auditor-General’s decision to disallow and surcharge the amount paid to the waste management firm after the office described it as a ‘fraudulent drain’ on the country’s scares resources.
The 2015 Auditor-General’s report made adverse findings on a fumigation contract between the Local Government Ministry and Zoomlion, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies, owned by Joseph Siaw Agyapong.
However, when the Auditor-General announced its action in 2019, the sanitation company went to court to argue that the payment it received was for work that it had carried out. Also, the company said the payments were authorised by state officials and so, it did no wrong it taking its claims in respect of the contract.
But the Auditor-General, relying on pieces of evidence including a number of contracts that had the same or similar services, said it was unjustifiable to charge the state for providing the same or similar service the company is already being paid for.
Subsequently, the court ruled in the favour of Auditor-General, after it presented a series of evidence including JoyNews’ investigative documentary titled “Robbing the Assemblies” that the waste management firm is to refund the payment.
In an interview on The Pulse, Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domevelo, cautioned institutions and individuals to render services they have been paid to do.
“Our intention is not to deny anybody who has genuinely worked for government, provided services to government or supplied goods to government.
“But when we think that you have not rendered the service but you have been paid for or the contract is contrary to law, that is when we come in to disallow and surcharge,” he emphasised.
He also commended JoyNews for the investigative report which played a key role in the trial.
“My action as Auditor-General in disallowing has been sustained by the court so the next step is to talk to my lawyers and see what we will do to retrieve the money,” he said.