Typo causes $6.3m jump in printing budget at DVLA


Although the DVLA Board approved $3.6million contract for the printing of drivers’ licenses, the figure has jumped to $9.9million, a disparity that has been explained as a typographical error.

The license-printing company FOTO-X which was selected by Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) via sole sourcing told Joy News, the actual figure should have been $9.9million not $3.6million. The company believes it is a mistake.

But documents at the Public Procurement Authority quotes the size of the contract as $3.6million which was approved by the DVLA Board.

The DVLA Board is investigating the Management after terms of the contract showed $9.9million.

While the investigation is on-going, FOTO-X has been instructed by the Board to stop printing the licenses triggering a backlog of more than 200,000 drivers’ licenses.

The licenses have been pending since April 2014 because of the contractual anomalies. Drivers have had to make do with a cover note given by the DVLA as a temporary license.

It was to last for three months and a permanent license issued. But it has taken a year.

Background
The DVLA in 2006 wanted to phase out and replace a booklet driver’s license with a card. It chose FOTO-X and DIGIMARC to do this work at a cost of $2.7million.

Joe Osei Owusu who was head of DVLA at the time revealed that the contract with FOTO-X ad DIGIMARC was to end in 2012. The DVLA was to take over the exercise.

When Joe Osei Owusu left the scene, the next DVLA Chief Executive Justice Amegashie on the 2nd of August, 2012 renewed a contract on behalf of the Authority.

The cost of the contract which the DVLA Board had valued at $3.6 million had jumped to $9.9 million.

Joe Osei Owusu thinks the new contract is fraudulent because the costly components of the contract had already been covered in the earlier contract. The equipment and facilities to be used were also already in place.

“Are they replacing everything which has been used in the past six years? Did DVLA determine that all the equipment are obsolete….for which reason they will replace them at the cost of $2million?” Mr. Owusu told Joy News’ Kwetey Nartey.

While Joe Osei Owusu has been willing to comment, his successor Justice Amegashie who signed the 9.9million contract has declined to comment.

Three weeks ago, outgoing head of the DVLA Rudolph Beckley said the drivers’ license would be printed first week of this month when he addressed a section of the media in Accra.

As to whether those technicalities would be resolved is a new challenge the incoming DVLA boss Noble Appiah will have to deal with, so applicants get their license this week as promised.

The controversy over the issuance of card license has spanning the tenure of two DVLA Chief Executives and is about to enter the tenure of a third Chief Executive.

But motorists are still stuck with paper licenses because of a controversy around a $9.9 million contract.

Story by Ghana|myjoyonline.com|EA


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