Blood Service CEO referred to AG over procurement breaches

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Blood Service, Dr Shirley Owusu Ofori, faces scrutiny as the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) has referred her to the Attorney General’s office for alleged breaches of the Public Procurement Act (PPA).

The move comes in response to findings in the 2022 Auditor General’s report indicating that Dr Ofori engaged in single-source or restricted tendering without prior approval from the Public Procurement Authority.

Chaired by James Klutse Avedzi, the Member of Parliament for Ketu North, the committee emphasised that the National Blood Service neglected to undertake a ratification exercise to obtain retrospective approval from the PPA, thereby legitimising sole-source procurement.

Dr Ofori informed the committee that a letter seeking retroactive approval had been submitted, awaiting due process.

Prompt approval
However, in the absence of prompt approval, the committee warned of potential surcharges against the CEO corresponding to the amount involved.

Concurrently, the committee referred Dr Ofori to the Attorney General’s office for potential prosecution.

Mr Avedzi expressed concern about a recurrent pattern among agencies under the Ministry of Health, highlighting their tendency to engage in sole sourcing even in the absence of emergencies or disasters.

Sole sourcing
Some agencies reportedly conducted sole-sourcing transactions amounting to as much as GH¢3.7 million without adhering to the requisite PPA procedures.

The Public Procurement Act of 2003 (Act 663) and its accompanying regulations establish the framework for public entities to procure goods, works and services.

Restricted tendering, a procurement process allowing a limited number of suppliers to submit bids, is typically reserved for emergency situations or disasters.