Former Youth and Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah says it was impossible for him to resolve all the lapses in contracts under the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) programme in the time that he was there.
According to Afriyie Ankrah, he had started implementing some of the recommendations by the committee of inquiry set up to investigate irregularities in the operations at GYEEDA, now Youth Employment Agency (YEA), before he was removed from the Ministry and reassigned to the Flagstaff Staff in July 2014.
Mr. Afriyie Ankrah who was appointed to the Ministry in February 2013, by President John Mahama, on Wednesday stated on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM that he met a number of irregularities with the award of contracts to service providers and the non-existence of a database of the number of people employed under the agency.
These led to the institution of a 5-member value for money fact-finding team which included three staff from the Attorney-General’s Department as well as two independent persons to engage the various service providers, he explained.
The former Minister said upon completion of its work, the committee recommended the disengagement of the services with some of the companies including rlg as well as three other service providers owned by the JOSPONG Group of Companies –Zoomlion Ghana Limited, YESDEP and Better Ghana Services Management Limited.
However, the management of Zoomlion insisted their contract with GYEEDA could not be terminated because it had been in spite of the fact that the contract had ended, compelled the committee to seek legal advice from the Attorney-General’s office.
The A-G then advised that the contract should be allowed to run till the end of 2015 with the reason being that it would have taken GYEEDA not less than three months to engage another service provider which time could have plunged the nation into a sanitation crisis.
“I believed that the advice…under those circumstances, I think it was fair,” Afriyie Ankrah argued.
But by the time that deadline elapsed, “I was promoted to the Flagstaff House (Presidency)," he explained further, defending why he could not be held accountable for the failure by the previous administration to correct the ills in the operations at GYEEDA.
He maintained that: “It is not possible that I would have been able to solve all the problems of GYEEDA; we set up a board, we restructured, we did our best,” urging the Nana Akufo-Addo administration to go ahead and terminate contracts it deems wrongfully executed under the previous regime.
“There is a new government in place [and] if they think that they have to cancel the contract, they should go ahead and do it.
“We were very transparent, we opened up; we didn’t hide anything and so if there are difficulties we should all look at it as a country and deal with it,” he stated.
On 12th April 2013, the Minister of Youth and Sports (MOYS), Mr. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah appointed a five-member Impact Assessment and Review Committee to investigate alleged maladministration and financial indiscipline at the National Youth Employment (NYEP), re-named the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA).
The members of the Committee were: Mr. Ferdinand Gunn - Chairman, Mr. Randolph Nsor-Ambala – Member, Mr. Kwame Edem Senanu - Member, Mr. Mike K. Gabah – Member and Mr. Tuinese Edward Amuzu – Member and Secretary.
The terms of reference required the Committee to:
1. Review the regulatory framework of GYEEDA, formally NYEP, and how it has evolved to its current state, examining in detail the various modules and partner programmes;
2. Perform current state analysis of financial management, operation of bank accounts, procurement and contracting procedures, disbursements, human resource and other management practices;
3. Review the capacity of persons entrusted with certain key responsibilities related to the mandate of the Programme;
4. Perform in-depth investigations of possible irregularities of crime and related financial losses and actions taken by management to recover possible embezzlement of money and other assets as the case may be;
5. Evaluate the administrative and accounting procedures and disbursement procedures that have been followed;
6. Review and investigate any potential conflict of interest, among others.
The committee in its conclusion noted that "challenges with GYEEDA border more on a breakdown of systems and procedures, financial impropriety and incompetence."
"In many instances, MOUs signed with SPs, particularly SPs belonging to the Agams group of companies contain provisions granting interest-free loans to the SPs without recourse to Parliament.
There is a duplication of modules and a lack of coordination with other Government establishments with identical mandates, such as the National Youth Authority and LESDEP.
"GYEEDA’s problems were occasioned by high level institutional and systems failures within and across the executive and legislative arms of Government."