The Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia, Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has called for forensic audit of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to uncover what he described as fraudulent procurement processes in the company over the years.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you have a tender for $4.9 million and a company wins it and a few months later the figure moves to $5.9million, up by a whopping $1million, that is the kind fraudulent processes I am talking about,Ã¢â‚¬Â the NPP MP stressed on the floor of Parliament yesterday.
He said apart from these bad business practices, equipment have often been purchased and abandoned at warehouses, all at the expense of the Ghanaian tax payer.
Contributing to a motion for the waiver and exemption of tax liability on equipment and materials to be imported or purchased locally amounting to $28,743,883.00, the MP for Manhyia emphasized that Ghanaians should not just be pumping money into ECG but must demand accountability from managers of these funds.
The waiver, which was approved by the House, was in respect of Network Expansion and Loss Reduction Project for the Electricity Company of Ghana.
Stating that he has enough evidence to expose gargantuan malfeasance at ECG, Dr. Prempeh asserted that the flippant widespread power outages in the country were mostly due to fraudulent practices by people who instead of being fished out and punished for sleazing Ghanaians, have suddenly been promoted to management positions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“People who have superintended these fraudulent processes have found themselves in management positions of trust and have in a matter of months promoted their henchmen to positions of trust,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dr. Prempeh pointed out, saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“you cannot be put in acting management position and the first thing you do is to remove people and put your henchmenÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Buttressing his submission, the medical doctor indicated that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) alone had invested about Ã‚Â¢8billion in the operations of ECG at the expense of the ordinary Ghanaian and yet there was noting much to show for this massive investment.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you know the magnitude of mismanagement that has gone on at ECG, people would not just be uncovered but they would be prosecuted,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dr. Prempeh charged.
The country has been experiencing numerous power outages over the years and the situation has in recent times been more rampant to the outmost annoyance of consumers who believe the ECG has been woefully inefficient in electricity distribution.
Later in an interview with DAILY GUIDE, Dr, Prempeh said Ã¢â‚¬Å“If we are really serious about fighting corruption, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s go to our institutions and find out what they are using our money for and not just the politicians. Procurement processes of ECG must be revealed to Ghanaians,Ã¢â‚¬Â adding that the issue was not just about NPP or NDC.
Although he did not mention the names of people responsible for the alleged fraudulent practices and poor performance of the ECG, fingers are being pointed at the newly appointed bosses of the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s power distributor who were in charge of the department allegedly managing procurement.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Directorate of Engineering has arrogated to themselves the planning department, does the tender, comes out with a tender, does the evaluation of the bids, does the award of the contractsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Even before somebody knows that his company has been disqualified, the contract has already been signed,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dr. Prempeh noted.
Stressing the procurement processes, he said Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you do a tender for transformers in August 2007 and you come back in March 2008 when prices of copper andÃ¢â‚¬Â¦, have fallen for about 40 percent and you still have prices of transformers being about 60 percent higher than the August prices, then there must be something wrong in the tender processÃ¢â‚¬Â.
According to him, amorphous transformers have never been used or even tried in Ghana and yet the ECG has purchased 100 of these transformers through a single company with a loan from World Bank, adding, Ã¢â‚¬Å“three months later, they are now coming up with a consultant to advise them on the amorphous transformers.
Again, Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you go on tender for six transformers for substations and you say the qualification for procurement of those transformers is that you should have done 50 in your country and 100 outside your country and the next two months you come out with another tender for one transformer and say you should have done a 100 in your country and 300 outside, it tells you how bad things are,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dr. Prempeh stated, saying these tactics are usually used to drive away bidders in favour of their pet companies.
By Awudu Mahama