THE FORMER Managing Director of Waterville has confirmed that the contract by Government to Waterville in the construction of two stadia was not supposed to be funded by the state.
Andrea Maria Orlandi indicated that the contract for the construction of the two stadia in Kumasi and Accra for the Can 2008 was a turn-key project which meant that the contractors were to provide their own funding for the project.
According to Mr. Orlandi, the funding for the project was to be provided by Bank of Austria as they had obtained a supporting letter from the said bank before proceeding to bid for the stadia construction project.
Mr. Orlandi made this known to an Accra Fast Track High Court Financial division when he appeared as the seventh prosecution witness in the criminal case of Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the embattled NDC financier.
The witness, led in evidence by Ms Cynthia Lamptey, the Acting Director of Public Prosecution, explained to the court how Waterville, a company located in British Virginia Highland got the contract and how it was later abrogated by the government; a situation which led to the Woyome judgment debt saga.
The Italian witness informed the court that he was the managing director of Waterville from 2005 to 2008.
Mr. Orlandi disclosed that Waterville, a company which was into construction, design, general construction and business development was registered in Ghana when it was bidding for the construction of two stadia in 2005.
According to him, he first met Mr. Woyome in the office of Francis Addo, the consultant of Building and Industry Consultancy (BIC).
He said after an introduction of Mr. Woyome to him by Mr. Addo, they had a discussion about the possibility of bidding for the construction of the stadia in Ghana.
He stated that at the time he was introduced to Woyome, BIC was a construction firm and the discussion he had with Woyome was about financing of the project.
He said the meeting was later moved to M-Power Pack office where Mr. Woyome and Ray Smith introduced themselves as the directors of the company. He said they showed him letters dated 2004 which were for the construction of 10 stadia projects in the regional capitals.
Mr. Woyome talked to him on behalf of M-Power Pack after scrutinizing the document for financing.
He said there was further discussion on the design and construction of the stadia.
The meeting went on for a couple of months and according to him, they accepted the design of the stadia.
Mr. Orlandi stated that in January 2005 there was an announcement for interested people to tender bidding for the project.
“M-Power Pack told us that the company called Vamed Engineering which they represented in Ghana had expressed interest in the early stage but when the announcement indicated that the project was to rehabilitation and reconstruction of the stadia, Vamed said it was not interested.
At this stage I got to know that M-Power Pack was working for Vamed. We had subsequent meeting in Austria and Woyome and Smith were present.
We were introduced to Vamed Engineering and Bank of Austria but because Vamed was not into construction of stadia we had a meeting on July 1, 2005 where we were assigned the right to the construction of the stadia”.
The assignments, he disclosed, were done by exchange of letters. The prosecution tendered those letters in evidence without objection from the defence lawyers.
Vamed, he stated, had already worked in Ghana in respect of the construction of two hospitals and in this contract whatever Waterville and M-Power pack did was in the name of Vamed.
On July 4, 2005, “we presented the bid to the Ministry of Sport and this included the design and a supporting letter from the bank of Austria”. Mr. Orlandi stated that when the bid was opened eight companies competed and Vamed and Waterville were one of them. Out of the eight companies, seven qualified to the second stage.
The witness said he headed a meeting with the technical committee while Woyome headed that of the financial committee.
In Aug 5, 2005, Woyome brought them a copy of the letter from the tender board with a concurrent approval which indicated that Vamed had been selected for the contract. The bidding was not only about rehabilitation and reconstruction but also hostels and other play grounds.
“We were waiting to discuss the terms of the construction and sign the contract as time was of essence when at the end of August we read in the newspapers, the intention of the Ministry to terminate the bidding section.”
He said they later got to know that a Chinese company Shanghai construction had been called in to build the stadia.
He said although in 2005, Waterville did not start the project, they did a survey, designed the stadia and therefore incurred quite a lot of expenses.
“We then wrote to the minister that the termination of the national bidding process was unlawful”.
The case was adjourned to today for the witness to continue with the evidence.
By Mary Anane