Auctioneer pleads for forgiveness over dubious car sales

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Alexander Agyei, an auctioneer, has pleaded for forgiveness over the dubious sales of vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

“Mr. Chairman, since the time all these things came, I have changed the whole process.  From now onwards everything is in the right order and whatever I have done should be forgiven,” he pleaded when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Wednesday to respond to queries in the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the disposal of government the said vehicles.

The vehicles included a double cabin pickups, station wagons, saloon cars, Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), buses, tractors, combined harvesters, ambulances and motor cycles.

Mr. Agyei was engaged by the MoFA to auction some unserviceable vehicles with high maintenance cost to make room for new and improved models of vehicles between the period 2011 and 2013.

However, the Auditor-General (AG) in its report described the entire auctioning process as unfair, uncompetitive and that which lacks transparency.

The AG’s report also indicated that the auctioneer (Alex Mart) went contrary to Sections 1.8 of the Guidelines in the Disposal of Goods and Equipment which states that: “In the interest of promoting probity, fair dealing and openness, procurement entities must not sell assets to staff unless arising from a public competitive process.

Section 5.2 also requi8res that items available for sale be “advertised in a newspaper for wide circulation.”

Mr. Agyei in his response indicated that the vehicles were already allocated to staff of MoFA as well as the prices at which they were to be sold before he commenced his task.

Mr. Benjamin Gyasi, Ag. Chief Director of the Ministry assured that the said mistakes would not occur again and pleaded for forgiveness.

“Mr. Chairman, we are sorry.  We have learnt our lessons and won’t repeat these mistakes going forward.  We pray for your forgiveness,” the Acting Chief Director of the Agric Ministry, Mr. Ben Gyasi pleaded when he was asked what should be done to them.

Chairman of PAC, James Klutse Avedzi who was visibly not enthused about the development indicated that he should be prepared to face any consequence that may come as result of the illegal act.

“If you have changed, which means that you have admitted what you did was wrong, any punishment applicable then should be meted,” Mr. Avedzi said.

A member of PAC, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, who raised the matter of tax evasion on the fee of GH₵33,000 earned by the auctioneer, described the action as criminal and recommended that Mr. Agyei be made to pay the right tax plus interest.