The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has tendered in evidence at the ongoing Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts, more payment certificates issued to Messrs Construction Pioneers (CP) for the construction of roads in the country.
The company was said to have received £85.2 million, in addition to a previous sum of £7 million, during the tenure of Betty Mould-Iddrisu as Attorney General and Minister of Justice between 2009 and 2011—a move that has aroused the public’s suspicion about how the payments were determined.
The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has already told the commission, presided over by Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal, that CP was paid millions in the 1990s for road projects. Some of these projects, GHA disclosed, were not executed by the construction giant.
The Authority cited the Akim Oda-Kade/New Abirem – Nkawkaw road in the Eastern Region, which CP never executed, but managed to claim loss of profit with interest from the Government of Ghana.
The GHA has already testified that, the initial contract sum for Akim Oda – Kade/New Abirem – Nkawkaw, for which payment was made for no work done, was GH¢10.6 million (¢106 billion old cedis), with a foreign component of 155 million Deutsche Marks.
The Authority confirmed that the Assin Praso – Yamoransa road, which was ‘shoddily done’ by CP, also attracted a contract sum of GH¢1.5 million (¢15.2 billion old cedis), with a foreign component of 28.3 million Deutsche Marks which was subsequently paid.
The Biriwa-Takoradi road was executed at an initial contract sum of GH¢2.9 million (¢29.5 billion old cedis), with a foreign component of 49.4 million Deutsche Marks. The evidence already before the commission was that CP was overpaid by 44 million Deutsche Marks for that project. The Obuasi township roads were completed and the government issued a defect liability certificate.
The GHA has already retrieved certificates covering the overlay of the Biriwa-Takoradi road project and tendered it to the commission, but the Accra City Centre Improvement Project’s certificate was still not found.
Executive Director of GHA, Michael Abieteh Abbey, told the commission yesterday that the GHA submitted the payment certificate for the Obuasi township roads contract to CP but were still searching for the Accra City Centre Improvement Project’s certificate.
He said they were also searching for back-ups for all the payment certificates issued to CP, and asked the commission to contact the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) to provide payment certificates for the Accra City Roads Projects since GHA did not award those contracts.
Mr. Abbey also tendered, in evidence, a compilation of what he called a reconstructed CP judgement debt issue saying, “a few people were there when CP was working and they have confirmed some of the issues for us.”
Justice Apau commended the GHA boss for always wanting to assist the commission with its work saying, “you are one of the few heads who attend our sittings personally.”
Earlier, Nii Adjei Kpobi Asaawa II who claims to be the head of the Agbawe Family in La, Accra, and whose family is claiming compensation for the Adentan lands which were compulsorily acquired by the government for the then State Housing Corporation, also testified.
Evidence before the commission indicates that another chief, Nii Sowah Okataban II, has also been making similar compensation claims since 1993.
Nii Asaawa II said the family sued the SHC, SSNIT and the AG to force the government for compensation but its efforts proved futile.
He said when they put in a claim in 1993 for 1,395.11 acres of land, the valuation was about ¢4.420 billion.
Justice Apau however, advised the factions to settle their differences before approaching the State Housing Company since the SHC had made it clear that it was willing to negotiate with a united front.
Jacqueline Avotri, a staff officer of the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), formerly Serious Fraud Office (SFO), also testified on the investigation the office conducted into the compensation claims of some of the Volta flooded areas following the construction of the Akosombo Dam.
She tendered, in evidence, documents covering Apaso and Makango areas and said they were yet to retrieve documents covering Pai areas.
She said the outstanding report for the Pai flooded areas was still not retrieved but added that SFO handed copies to the Ministry of Finance who had asked them to conduct the investigation.
Source: William Yaw Owusu/Daily Guide
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