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General News of Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Source: The National Tribute

TMA's GH¢400, 000.00 Nkrumah's park rots away

... as top officials engage in massive 'Chop chop' of project cash

The National Tribute investigations into the mystery surrounding the abrupt abandonment of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, which was being constructed by the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), have uncovered massive bribery and corruption on the project by officials of the Assembly.

The Nkrumah Park project, which has been abandoned, is located near the Tema Development Corporation (TDC), with a veiled statue of the first president at the park.

Our investigations revealed that close to three years after the Assembly emptily promised to make the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park more viable to enable residents to reconnect to the African of the Century, the Nkrumah's beautiful statue, flanged by two women dancing and three men blowing horns, has been left to rot at the project site with no attention, whatsoever, from the assembly.

This, according to our sources within the assembly, is due to the massive bribery demands by officials of the assembly billed to supervise the project and to get qualified contractors to execute the work successfully.

Top officials who signed the contract for the commencement of the laudable project, also allegedly demanded huge sums of money from contractors who were ambitious to complete the project after the building of the two fountains, the power house and the statues.

The project was, without any reason, taken away from the original contractor who built the statues and the fountains and given to an engineer who works with the corporation only to mess up the project.

The paper's extensive investigations into the failure of the assembly to complete the project is mainly because, officials of the assembly always demanded more money from prospective contractors who have the ability to complete the project, thereby scaring them away.

This, our sources said, has also compelled some contractors to charge more money for the contract to empower them to honour the unjustifiable demands of officials and to make some profit.

The first phase of the project, valued at Ghc300, 000.00, was initiated under the administration of former Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, Robert Kempes Ofosuware in 2012, to acknowledge Dr Kwame Nkrumah's vision of building Tema as the first well-planned city in West Africa. That phase of the project saw the figure jump from Ghc300, 000 to over Ghc400,000.00.

A visit to the park by the investigative team of the paper saw overgrown weeds that have engulfed the site providing enough hay for stray animals, which have unrestricted access to the place for grazing. The Team also discovered that squatters have settled on the park using containers to sell food and drinks to passers-by.
An interaction with them indicated that some officials of the assembly had released the state sponsored park to them to transact their business without rendering accounts to appropriate authorities at the assembly. The money goes into individuals pockets.

Many concerned residents were expecting that the authorities would commission the Nkrumah statue and other structures at the park during last year's Founder's Day, but the statue is still covered with black polythene, which is now tearing into pieces.

Facilities that are expected to be constructed at the park include a resource centre, two fountains, a library housing the books and works about Nkrumah, a restaurant, a specially constructed place for relaxation and a fence wall. But this paper can confidently disclose that none of these has been put in place.

What is appalling is that the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) recently called on corporate organisations operating in the harbour city to partner it complete the beautification of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park after spending over Ghc400, 000.00 on only the first phase of the project which, our sources said, was twice the amount actually needed for the phase

Mr Isaac Ashai Odamtten, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, who made the call, said the Assembly was ready to start the second phase of the project but was handicap in financing it and pleaded for help from corporate organisations.

He said the second phase would see the construction of a dwarf security wall with a gate round the park, a walkway, and greenery.

The MCE said as part of the collaboration, the Assembly would demarcate portions of the park to companies who partner TMA to mount their adverts.