Warning: getimagesize(https://cdn.ghanaweb.com/imagelib/src/): failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden in /data/www/africaweb/utils2/article.engine.build.php on line 93
BNI Wades Into GHA 3 Billion Cedis Scandal
You are here: HomeNews2006 09 06Article 110161

General News of Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Source: -The Sun

BNI Wades Into GHA 3 Billion Cedis Scandal

The Bureau of National Investigation(BNI) is scrutinizing the circumstances under which Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) spent over ¢ 3 billion on Hotel bills for its staff who were transferred to Accra in the last four years. The move by the BNI, The Sun, gathered was as a result of the paper’s exposé that GHA has blown over ¢3 billion on hotel bills for staff who were transferred to Accra about four years ago.

The paper sources within the security agency indicated that the operatives of the agency have since spoken to some of the managers of the hotels captured in the paper’s report and the responses have been wonderful.

It would be recalled that on July 24 the paper reported that the road construction giants GHA has set aside common sense and prudent management practice and instead, carelessly spent over ¢3 billion housing its top-rate staff posted to Accra in the last four year in sophisticated hotels. The irony of it all is that, background checks have revealed that the Authority has units of houses sitting elsewhere, which have either been wrongfully allocated, or given out for rent under dubious and shameful circumstances. The net result is that the poor Ghanaian taxpayer has been shit-bombed into uselessness by this state agency, which is frivolously spending the hard-earned cash, even though it is supposed to be living on the state’s largesse. The worst part of it all is that, should a compilation of other regions’ list be completed, the state could be running into a monumental loss of several billions of cedis.

Reacting to the concerns of the public, Deputy Director in charge of Administration, Mr. Martin Mensah and Public Affairs Director, Mr. Norbert Quarmor, in a separate interview saw nothing wrong in what could be termed as reckless management of the state resources in housing staffs in hotels as they justified the practice.

They told THE SUN that even though the situation was alarming there was nothing wrong in keeping staffs in hotel since it was part of the GHA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement to house staffs on transfer in hotels where there is no official accommodation.

The Public Affairs boss, blamed lack of funds for the completion of staff bungalows at Roman Ridge as a factor.

Quarmor, however, assured that steps were being taken to complete the Ridge bungalow to enable staffs who were being housed in hotels to move into the new place.

He said the Ridge project was supported by the World Bank, under High Sector Investment Programme (HSIP) and when the programme came to an end, GHA could not raise funds from the government to complete the project.

Quarmor note that since the GHA needed those staffs to help execute projects that were on-going in Accra, the option available was to house those who were posted to the capital in hotels.

He said the practice of keeping staffs in hotels was not a new practice in GHA. “Even when I joined the GHA in 1987 the practice was the same,” he said. On his part Mr. Mensah,about two weeks ago told The Sun that there was nothing news about GHA spending huge money to keep staffs in hotels becuase the services those staff were proving towards the execution of roads projects were uncomparable to the hotel bills.

“There is nothing news about this, those who gave this story to you are just out to pull down the management team. I don’t think you should waste your time on these type of stories. This type of story is what Arch-Bishop Dancan William, made references to that some Ghanaians were always interested in pull him down issues. What is news about this,” Mensah asked.

When THE SUN pressed for exact bills that GHA has picked from the hotels in Accra alone both Quarmor and Mensah preferred to keep the figure there close to their chest as they refused to disclose it, however it was agreed that it was a huge bill.

Despite claims by the authorities that was nothing wrong in keeping staffs in hotels, THE SUN can report that followed a questionnaire submitted to the Chief Executive by the paper in June this year, a circular dated July 10, was despirately issued out to all GHA offices throughout the country, directing that no staff on posting should stay in a hotel for more than three months. “Management therefore wishes to remind all staff on posting that provision of free hotel accommodation is for an initial period of three months after which the officer must vacate the premises in accordance with article 62 (B) of the Senior Staff Conditions of Service,” stated the circular.

“The management should be charged for woefully causing financial loss to the state, if they knew that staffs should not stay in hotel for more than three months why did they keep people on posting to Accra in hotels for four years”, an insider told THE SUN.

The current mess leading to the huge hotel bills could be traced between 2002 - 2003, when some officials were hurriedly posted to Accra without taking into account their acommodation needs.

Some of the affected staffs who are still lodging in hotels have stayed there between two to four years.

Some of the fortunate hotels where over ten GHA staffs are/ were lodging are Adeshyie Hotel, Ring Road Central near NDC headquarters, Hill Top, near Accra Girls Secondary School, Chris Farm and Liberty Court at Osu and others. These hotels charged between ¢12 million to ¢20 million per a person in a month.

Join our Newsletter