The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament on Wednesday quizzed officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the ministry’s auctioneer for auctioning 24 vehicles to mostly staff of the ministry at a cheap price.
The auctioneer, Alex Adjei, disregarded all the laws governing the proper disposal of government vehicles.
He auctioned double cabin pick-ups, to the staff of the ministry and pocketed GH¢33,203 as his 7% commission on the sale of the vehicles.
Some of the vehicles were auctioned at GH¢1,000 each. A Nissan Patrol S/W with registration number GV 1285 U was auctioned for GH¢4,000.
A Nissan double cabin pick-up with registration number GV 1481 U, was also sold at GH¢2,000 while a Mitsubishi double cabin pick-up went for GH¢1,000.
A Galaxy motorcycle was sold at GH¢30.00 while FY motorcycle was also sold at GH¢50.00.
According to the Auditor-General, all protocols were broken and the vehicles were exclusively sold to employees at the ministry, which is contrary to Section 1.8 of the Guidelines for Disposal of Goods and Equipment. It states that “In the interest of promoting fair dealing and openness, Procurement Entities must not sell assets to staff, unless arising from a public competitive process.”
The Director of Agriculture Engineering Services Department of the ministry, George Brantuo and Alex Adjei, who were directly or indirectly involved in the sale of the vehicles, apologized profusely to the committee for not following the laid-down procedure in disposing of the said vehicles.
The auctioneer, whose demeanor and constant giggles to serious questions even angered most committee members, said that when he started the auctioning process, the vehicles had already been allocated to the staff of MoFA as well as the prices at which they were to be sold to them.
The auctioneer was also faulted for not paying the monies realized from the sale of the vehicles into government chest in time and also for not paying withholding tax on the commission he got from the auction.
According to the committee, the auctioneer sold some of the vehicles in July, 2013 and kept the money for more than one year before paying it into government chest.