The lawyers of the troubled Minister of Energy-designate, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has issued an empty threat on The Herald over the US$12 million mathematical sets story which he and his former deputy, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, were grilled on by the Appointments Committee of Parliament last week.
The Herald, had on Monday revealed that the former Minister of Education was economical when he appeared before the committee by hiding several details of that contract which is to make mathematical set freely available to Ghanaian students at the Senior Secondary School level.
Questions about the nature of due diligence carried out on the supplier, Bluegrass Group Ltd and its chief executive officer, Kwadwo Darko-Mensah alias Onasis, have popped up against Opoku Prempeh and Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, who has been nominated by President Akufo-Addo to be the substantive minister of Education.
The Herald, had reported citing the name of one Sarah Mary Olufemi Adetola, said to be the wife of Secretary to the President of Ghana, Nana Asante Bediatuo in the multimillion dollar mathematical sets supply contract.
This follows, the arrest of the Chief Executive Officer of the Bluegrass Group Ltd, by officials of the National Investigations Bureaus (NIB) formerly Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) under some strange circumstances.
He is said to be assisting in an ongoing investigation into an unknown crime. But The Herald's investigations into the matter, is beginning to reveal some interesting information which suggest Mathew Opoku Prempeh, has a lot to hide on those to whom the contract was awarded and what caused the delay.
The Herald's information is that, Kwadwo Darko-Mensah, is a front of some of the actors in the deal who are fighting over the money government had released as part payment for the contract. There are other interests in the transaction which can be traced to the United States of America.
The Herald is informed that NIB had stormed the home of Onasis on the claim of searching for weapons and picked him away on that claim, however, his interrogation had been on the mathematical sets supply contract in which Sarah Mary Olufemi Adetola, had been named.
So serious is the revelation that Mathew Opoku Prempeh, who has been nominated to be Minister of Energy, could be cited for perjury by the Appointment Committee over the mathematical sets supply contract, because he did not speak the truth.
His claim that the company, has supplied the mathematical sets, has also been disputed by insiders at NIB who say, what has been supplied is just around 50percent.
The arrest Mr Darko-Mensah, a known sympathizer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), on the claim of assisting in investigation over a very serious matter, The Herald learnt from highly placed sources within the NIB, to be a ruse by a powerful individual at the Presidency to cover up the real story behind the supply contract.
Mr Darko-Mensah, is the Local Agent of an international company, Cornfield Group Ltd, which was mandated in 2019 to deliver a total of eight-hundred and fifty-three thousand (853,000) pieces of mathematical sets at a cost of ₵75 per unit by the Ministry of Education in September 2019, which was neither delivered on schedule or in full.
The 853,000 mathematical sets were supposed to be given to students for the 2020 WASSCE. Because of this WASSCE timeline, the contract was treated as "urgent" and sole-sourced without any form of bidding in September 2019 to the company.
In addition, the mathematical sets contractor, Bluegrass Limited, was granted a free tax waiver of $3.6million by the government on the recommendation of Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Education Minister. The tax waiver was approved by parliament.
Throughout the 2020 WASSCE, however, no student received the "math sets" from the government.
Indeed, the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) for example, questioned why the mathematical sets which were sole-sourced at a "high price" were never delivered on time for the very purpose it was tagged as "urgent".
They criticize the validity of the sole sourcing procedure adopted and the 75 Ghana cedis cost, because the contract can no longer be classified as an urgent need for the WASSCE candidates now.
At ₵75 per mathematical set, the total contract came to ₵63,975,675. Blueglass Limited, failed to deliver within the agreed time.
It later issued PR-statements announcing it had delivered "first consignment" without stating any figure, even long after the WASSCE was over.
It is alleged that, officers of the NIB arrested Kwadwo Darko-Mensah in relation to the contract.
The issue of the Mathematical sets contract and the arrest and detention of the CEO of Bluegrass Ltd came up during the vetting of Mathew Opoku-Prempeh with the former Education Minister disowning Mr Darko-Mensah, claiming he "didn't know him from anywhere", a claim insiders say could make the minister-designate liable to perjury.
Mathew Opoku Prempeh, struggled to answer questions posed on the maths set matter by NDC MP, Alhassan Suhuyini.
Opoku Prempeh, attempted to deflect blame to his deputy after Dr. Adu Twum in his vetting, said he had no answer for the question on the Mathematical sets.
Shortly after the story, lawyers of Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Sarkodie Baffour Awuah and Partners, issued a letter threatening a court action against The Herald, if the story is not retracted within seven days and an apology issued.
They argued that ''by suggesting that our Client could be cited for perjury by the Appointments Committee of Parliament, you implied that our Client was untruthful in his answers to the Appointments Committee''.
According to the lawyers, The Herald had ascribed an ''improper behavior to our Client is extremely malicious as there is no basis for such an insinuation'', adding that ''our Client was forthright in his answers to the Appointments Committee of Parliament and categorically denies the aforementioned headline and false statements''.
In this regard, ''Our Client has accordingly instructed us to demand the following from you: A retraction of the aforementioned false and malicious statements contained in the aforementioned story published in the 15th February 2021 edition of the Herald Newspaper, within seven (7) dasys of this notice to you;
An unqualified apology to our Client within seven (7) days of this notice to you, at the front page of the Herald Newspaper and also on www.theheraldghana.com.
Below is his letter
RETRACTION OF DEFAMATORY CONTENT PUBLISHED ON
WWW.THEHERALDGHANA.COM ON 15TH FEBRUARY 2021.
We write as Lawyers for and on behalf of Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the honorable Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia South, in the Ashanti Region of the Republic of Ghana, the immediate past Minister of Education and the Minister Designate for Energy, (hereafter referred to as "our Client").
We write in respect of defamatory contents published about our Client, on your website, www.theheraldghana.com, on 15th February 2021 and, which defamatory content was subsequently published on other news portals, including but not limited to www.ghanaweb.com and titled "BEDIATUO AND WIFE LAND NAPO IN BIG TROUBLE OVER MATHEMATICAL SETS CONTRACT".
We have the following instruction from our Client:
1. That by the aforesaid story, you imputed improper behavior on the part of our Client as follows:
a) "The Herald's investigations into the matter is beginning to reveal some interesting information which suggest Matthew Opoku Prempeh has a lot to hide on those to whom the contract was awarded and what caused the delay".
b) "So serious is the revelation that Matthew Opoku Prempeh who has been nominated to be Minister of Energy, could be cited for perjury by the Appointment Committee over the Mathematical set supply contract because he did not speak the truth."
2. That by suggesting that our Client could be cited for perjury by the Appointments Committee of Parliament, you implied that our Client was untruthful in his answers to the Appointments Committee.
3. That your ascription of improper behavior to our Client is extremely malicious as there is no basis for such an insinuation.
4. That our Client was forthright in his answers to the Appointments Committee of Parliament and categorically denies the aforementioned headline and false statements.
5. Our Client has accordingly instructed us to demand the following from you:
a) A retraction of the aforementioned false and malicious statements contained in the aforementioned story published in the 15th February 2021 edition of the Herald Newspaper, within seven (7) dasys of this notice to you;
b) An unqualified apology to our Client, within seven (7) days of this notice to you, at the front page of the Herald Newspaper and also on www.theheraldghana.com
TAKE NOTICE AND NOTICE IS HEREBY SERVED that we have the firm instructions of our Client to institute legal proceedings against you without recourse to you, should you fail to honor the aforementioned demands