Zoomlion Ghana Limited has said that even though an Accra high court has dismissed its appeal against a disallowance and surcharge made against it by the Auditor-General in October 2018, “the court was categorical that no fraud was established.”
A statement from the waste management company indicated that while it has noted with interest the court’s decision, it maintains the Auditor General’s position was ill-suited when measured against the actual circumstances of the contract.
“Though Zoomlion is yet to receive a certified true copy of the court’s decision, the court was categorical that no fraud was established. It is noteworthy that no reasons were immediately assigned by the court for its ruling, save to indicate that the facts will be captured in a detailed decision,” it said.
The statement further said that, much as the company accepts the decision of the court, it will “seek a review of the High Court’s decision and will proceed to take steps it deems fit based on the counsel of its lawyers upon studying the ruling.”
Zoomlion therefore assured the public, especially its stakeholders, of its commitment to transparency in its operations and regard for regulatory authorities and the law, as well as excellence in service delivery.
Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, a justice of the Court of Appeal, sitting as additional High Court Judge, last week ruled that Zoomlion failed to make a case to warrant the grant of the appeal.
“The appellant has failed to make a case to warrant the grant of this appeal. The appeal is therefore dismissed and the disallowance and surcharge herein are confirmed,” she ruled.
It would be recalled that, a year ago, the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, ordered the then head and three former chief executive officers of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and the management of Zoomlion to refund a total amount of GHC411,433,086, following revelations of alleged wrongful payments made to the waste management company during their respective tenures.
In separate letters to the four, namely Sylvester Mensah, Ras Boateng, Samuel Annor and Nathaniel Otoo, the Auditor-General stated that, after an audit into the accounts of the NHIA for the period from January 2007 to April 2018, the financial infractions were noted, prompting the surcharges and ultimatum.
The waste management company subsequently went to court over the issue, arguing that the Auditor-General’s findings were not supported by facts and evidence.
Zoomlion, in its appeal, further argued that the respondent (Auditor-General) erred in its finding against the company.
However, the high court, in its judgment, explained that Zoomlion failed to make a convincing “case to warrant the grant of this appeal”.
“I have considered the factors stated in Order 74, Rule 2(3) of the High Court (Civil procedure) Rules, 2004 (C.I 47) as amended by C.I 87 with respect to cost.
“I have also considered the facts and circumstances of this case including the cost of bringing the several exhibits submitted to the court in support of each parties ‘case. Based on that, I am of the view that it is in the interest of justice that no order should be made with respects to costs. There is, therefore, no order as to costs,” the judge ruled.
In October 2019, an Accra high court set aside audit findings and a notice of certification and specification of disallowance and surcharge brought against a former chief executive of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah, and his deputy, in-charge of finance and investment, Alex Nartey, by the Auditor-General.
The court, presided over by the same Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, ruled that the audit and the subsequent notice of surcharge against the two did not follow due process, and therefore proceeded to set it aside.