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Ongoing Cases

NCA $8M Spy Equipment Scandal

Author: Daily Guide (Fortune Alimi)
Date of Exposure / Publication :15 May 2017

Case Summary

The National Communication Authority (NCA) in collaboration with the National Security Secretariat (NSS) procured some listening devices to monitor suspected terrorists in the country. An $8 million contract was awarded to a Ghanaian company - Infraloks Development Limited (IDL) – who in turn contracted NSO Group Technologies Limited – an Israeli company, for the supply and installation of the listening devices. Under the contract, NSO was to receive $6 million while IDL retained $2 million for facilitation services.

It is alleged that the local agent of IDL, Mr. George Oppong conspired with some former government officials to siphon off and share $3 million out of the $4 million that was paid to IDL as the first tranche of the contract amount. Three former NCA officials implicated in the scandal were Mr. Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, Board Chairman; Mr. William Tevie, Director-General; and Dr. Nana Owusu-Ensaw, Board Member. A former Deputy National Security Coordinator, Alhaji Salifu Osman is also under investigation for the alleged offense. Meanwhile, the imported listening devices have not been installed and were reported to be stored in someone's garage.

Status of Case

Though not independently confirmed, the Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid said in an interview with Joyfm’s Kojo Yankson on 24th May, 2017 that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) had opened an official investigation into the matter.

$1 million of public funds was reportedly returned by Mr. George Oppong of IDL; with more of the monies expected to be returned. It is not clear who or what body received this refund.

Mr. Tevie, Dr. Owusu-Ensaw and Mr. George Oppong have publicly denied any wrongdoing. No public statements yet from Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie and Alhaji Osman, with the latter reported to be on the run.

ELS - Estimated Loss to the State

Since the state has not “gained” anything from the deal but is still liable for the full contract amount, the ELS is $8 million = GHS 34,960,000

Opportunity Cost of Corruption

  • Eight kilometres of a two-lane, single carriageway, asphalt-concrete paved road;
  • 20 six-unit classroom blocks;
  • Ten CHPS compounds; and
  • 57 boreholes.
Still left with change of GHS 8,375.

Appendix

Local currency conversions of the Estimated Loss to the State (ELS) and Opportunity Cost of Corruption (OCC) were done with the official Bank of Ghana GHS/USD rate for 31-10-17 which was GHS 4.37.

Road – The average cost of a kilometre of a two-lane, single carriageway, asphalt-concrete paved road (width of 8m) was estimated at GHS 2,750,000. This estimate was arrived at after consultations with road engineers.

6-unit classroom block – A 6-unit classroom block (with sanitation facilities) built by Pencils of Promise, an international NGO in Blekusu, Volta Region in 2016, valued at GHS 332,300 was used as the benchmark

CHPS compound – In 2015, the Ministry of Health (MOH) estimated the cost of building 1,600 Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds all over the country between 2014 and 2017 at $210 million. This figure was also quoted in the 2016 Budget Statement. This means the estimated unit cost of one CHPS compound was $131,250 = GHS 573,562.50. Lastly, the estimated figure is also very close to the average unit cost of 64 new CHPS compounds built with support from the Japanese government in 2016.

Borehole – A survey of online classifieds websites show that borehole drilling companies who advertise on them quote between GHS 6,000 – GHS 10,000 for a borehole fitted with hand pump. The higher estimate of GHS 10,000 was used.