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Opinions of Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Columnist: Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie

NPP Demands: Probe Corruption In Contracts


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The New Patriotic Party is calling on the Economic Crimes Organisation (EOCO) to investigate the ridiculous and outrageous over-pricing of contracts under the government of Prof. J.E.A. Mills. The situation has gotten out of hand and should be investigated before the country gets bankrupted by the naked corruption of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

A typical example is this. At the weekend, the *Ghana News Agency *reported that the new Eastern Regional Minister, Dr. Kwasi Akyem Apea-Kubi, was himself shocked by the corruption he inherited in the award of contracts for school facilities.

At a press briefing in Koforidua, addressed by Dr Apea-Kubi, after he inspected a number of development projects in the Manya Krobo District, he told journalists that contracts were awarded at inflated prices and the works done have been shoddy, at great financial cost to the state.

According to the Regional Minister, a six classroom block constructed at the Krobo Girls Presbyterian Senior High School cost GH¢200,000 (yes, 2 billion old cedis). This project was funded by the GETFund.

At Krobo Girls, the Minister inspected a very basic two-storey dormitory block with an assembly hall, also funded by GETFUND, at the disgraceful cost of GH¢800,000 (yes, 8 billion old cedis!).

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Under President Mills corruption has shot up sky high like a sky scrapper, only competing with the inflated cost of living of the ordinary Ghanaian.

In Aburaman, in the Central Region, where NDC propaganda ace, Allotey Jacobs has been having public bouts with the Regional Minister over the sharing of contracts among cronies, a six-unit classroom block is costing the Ghanaian taxpayer GH¢230,000.

As first pointed out by the Minority in Parliament last year, in 2010, under President Mills, a 6-unit classroom block cost GH¢222,730 in the Greater Accra Region and GH¢261,000 in the Ashanti Region.

Under the New Patriotic Party, in 2008, the maximum cost for a similar 6-unit classroom block anywhere in the country was GH¢80,000. Yet, under low and single inflation Mills, the cost of a six classroom block has been inflated by some 150%.

How can NDC tell Ghanaians that inflation is in single digits when the costs of Government projects have been so hyper-inflated? This corruption will only send Ghana back into HIPC. Ghanaians are getting poorer, weighed down the poverty line by the sheer volume of corruption under President Mills.

We have also heard of allegations from some contractors that Government officials demand GH¢50,000 before such a six-classroom block job is given.

We also know that up to 90% of contracts for building schools and roads do not go to tender and many of them awarded to cronies on sole sourcing.

The cost of the six-unit classroom blocks constructed is evidence of the inflated nature of contracts under President JEA Mills, since the STX deal set a new standard.

With the STX housing deal, Government agreed to a Korean company to build 30,000 apartments, most of them one-bedroom units, at a total cost of US$1.5 billion, plus a US$265 million thrown in for ‘political risk.’ Government, led by Vice President John Mahama, refused to listen to concerns of Ghanaians, including calls from GREDA, the association of local real estate developers, that they could do the same project at half the cost the Koreans were quoting.

Again, just before Parliament went on recess, the Mills-Mahama maladministration was trying to push through another bogus loan agreement. It presented for parliamentary approval a 442 million Euros (US$585m) loan agreement with a clay making company, Opus 7, for the provision of 200 ambulances and the construction of 12 District Hospitals.

This deal, pushed by, once again, Vice President John Mahama and facilitated by Ghana’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Mr. Victor Smith, would mean another foreign company offering to build 12 District Hospitals at the cost of $40 million each. This deal is heavily pregnant with grand corruption.

We call on the EOCO to be up and doing and probe this growing culture of corruption under the Mills-Mahama maladministration.

.......Signed...................

Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie

(General Secretary)

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