February 23, 2021

The controversy surrounding the award of contract to Frontiers Healthcare Services, a company undertaking the COVID-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), has been put to rest by the Minister-designate for the Ministry of Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah.

The Minister-designate for Transport said the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), which operates the KIA, only rented its space to Frontiers Healthcare Services.

He further noted that, it was done after receiving confirmation from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) about the certification of equipment to be used by Frontiers Healthcare Services.

“Sometime in July/August, 2020, the President announced Government’s inclination to reopen the borders of the nation to commercial air traffic, subject to the availability of an effective system for COVID-19 testing. Following this, Frontiers Healthcare Services Limited expressed the preparedness to provide such service to the public, whilst indicating that its equipment had been tested by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA)”.

Three Ministerial nominees who had so far appeared before the Appointments Committee have failed to give a convincing account on the procurement processes that led to the award of a contract to Frontiers Healthcare Service to conduct COVID-19 testing at the KIA at a fee of US$150.00 per head.

Explaining further, the Minster-designate said,  by a letter dated 25th August, 2020, the FDA wrote to GACL indicating that it had approved of the equipment of Frontiers Healthcare for use in the detection of SARS-COV-2 in Ghana. The on-site audit report carried on the equipment was attached to the letter, he noted.

He said following receipt of this information, GACL, intending to enter into an agreement with Frontiers Healthcare by which GACL would rent part of its space to the laboratory service provider to render the service in question to the public, wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to seek its approval before executing any agreement with Frontiers Healthcare.

In the said rent agreement the GACL entered into with Frontiers Healthcare Services, the Transport Minister-designate revealed that the laboratory service provider was also required to make a payment of royalties of US$10.00 per each test done to the GACL.

“The payment of royalties to GACL did not imply that the agreement had to receive PPA approval, the company offered to provide laboratory services to the public with their own equipment. No public funds were expended in getting them to provide the services to the public, apart from the provision of office space”.

 And added that, the basic condition for an application of the PPA Act did not exist and in any case, GACL endeavourer to obtain PPA approval in respect of the contract for the rental of its space to the company.  As stated already, the PPA indicated that the rental of office space falls outside the scope of the Procurement Act.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com