Listeners of Oman FM’s morning show “National Agenda” were yesterday (Thursday) held spellbound as the radio station played a voice recording suspected to be that of former Environment Minister Mahama Ayariga, where he could be heard negotiating a contract kickback deal.

The setting of the suspected kickback deal was a restaurant as cluttering of cutlery sets could be heard loudly while the negotiations continued. “…When I briefed the Old man, he was shocked. And I told him that I was putting one of his boys in charge and he said ok… So far, that boy says they would not do business with Papa Yaw,” he could be heard saying in the tape.

“The old man does not understand why SGS cannot facilitate something to be kept upstream. He is not interested in buying waste before he gets his something. He is not interested in factory operating before he gets his something”, Mahama Ayariga was heard saying

He continued “So he also refused and said that if SGS cannot find something at that level, then we should just give the contract to a different company and SGS will be forced to come and negotiate with the company”.

According to Oman Fm, the two people in the discussion on the tape were allegedly negotiating contract percentage on which company would execute the e-waste contract in Ghana.

The supposed ‘Boy’ representing the interest of the ‘Old man’ did not seem to be enthused doing business with Papa Yaw and Mr. Ayariga recounted how he had to plead before he was accepted.

“So I pleaded and pleaded and pleaded. It was only last two weeks that at the last meeting, they said oh ok since you (Ayariga) insist, we will let Papa Yaw in but he won’t get 20%. I am telling you they said 10% and so I pleaded and pleaded and pleaded and they said ok 15%”.

Meanwhile in an interesting twist, a company called Klean Recycle Limited, has petitioned the Head of Government Transitional Team, Julius Debrah, over what it describes as a flagrant breach of the e-waste contract signed between the company and the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mahama Ayariga.

In the letter dated Monday, December 19, signed by Kissi Agyebeng, Managing Partner of Cromwell Gray LLP, Kissi Agyebeng and copied the co-chair of the incoming Presidents Transition Team, Yaw Osafo-Marfo, the company threatened to initiate a court action against the government if Mr. Ayariga declined to respect legal arrangement made in the original agreement. The situation could result in the state paying another judgment debt. The company said it signed the contract together with SGS Societe Generale de Surveillance SA to solely finance the construction of an e-waste recycling facility without any cost to the government in September, but Mr. Ayariga truncated the process quite recently and replaced them with a new firm known as Contecna.

The letter was also copied to the Chief Executive of the Public Procurement Authority, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Chief Executive of Societe Generale de Surveillance SA (SGS), who were all parties to the award of the contract and the subsequent sod-cutting on November 25. It explained that Desther Klean Recycle Limited, a company incorporated under the laws of the country and local partner of SGS, submitted a proposal to the Ministry for the management of electronic waste in Ghana in September 2015.

According to the letter, the proposal was received and led to the conclusion of an agreement in Paris between the SGS and EPA by which the parties were bound for the control, management and disposal of hazardous waste, electrical and electronic waste and other related purposes. The agreement was accented to by Mr. Ayariga and the Executive Director of EPA, Mr. Daniel Amalo, it stated, and explained that it had three modules; the first module being the establishment of controls over imported electronic waste, as well as new and used electronic products.

It indicated further that collection of advance recycling eco-fees to finance a sustainable waste management programme was captured under the second module while the third included the construction and management of an e-recycling plant by a company selected by EPA. The letter said the master agreement formed the backdrop of the passage into law of the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control Management Act 917 the formulation of which the SGS supported EPA with technical resources.

Desther worked with the EPA as resource entities for the Parliamentary Sub-committee on Environment. Also, Desther and EPA supported a study tour of the members of the committee in Eindhoven to apprise themselves with the best practices in electronic waste management. The letter said by a financial agreement dated September 15, this year between EPA, SGS and Desther, SGS firmed its obligation to finance the construction of the e-waste recycling facility without cost to the government and Desther was obliged under the agreement to provide EPA and SGS with a proposal on financial and technical terms for the construction of the e-recycling facility, upon the performance of a feasibility study by the parties.

According to the letter, a memorandum of understanding signed on October 11 this year between EPA and Desther allowed the parties to, in principle, reach an enforceable agreement in 90 days for the establishment of the facility. It said the agreement further obliged Desther to design, construct and operate a facility for the recycling of electronic waste, while EPA retained 40 percent of the facility, representing revenue to be accrued from the downstream sales of recycled materials.

The company asserted that following the agreement, a sod-cutting ceremony was performed on November 25 which was chaired by the Greater Accra Regional Minister on behalf of the President. It said the Minister, however, in total breach of the contract, had sought to remove both Desther and SGS from the contract and replaced them with Contecna under a sole-sourcing procurement process.

“Our client Desther, SGS and EPA have been the key entities engaged in the entire project under a sole financing contract, but it is inconceivable that Mr. Ayariga is now advertising such a volte-face and passing off entities that are totally strangers to the project and have no interest and expertise in that relationship,” it said.

But speaking to JOYNEWS recently, Mahama Ayariga explained that there was no contract in the first place as it was being reported in various media platforms.

Mr Ayariga said someone came to see him in his capacity as the sector Minister asking for permission to establish an electronic waste recycling plant.

Meanwhile, attempts by The New Crusading GUIDE to get a reaction from Mr Ayariga on the voice on the tape, proved futile as he did not respond to our numerous calls or reply our text messages one of which read: “Good evening Hon Ayariga. A tape was played today on Oman FM which is also in our possession alleged to be your voice. We would be very grateful if you could comment on it to be incorporated in our story which is meant for publication tomorrow. Thank you. Gordon Asare-Bediako, The New Crusading GUIDE newspaper”.