The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) yesterday confirmed that Messrs Construction Pioneers (CP) was paid millions for road project contracts – some of which the construction giant did not even execute.
An instance was the Akim Oda-Kade/New Abirem-Nkawkaw road in the Eastern Region which CP never executed but managed to claim loss of profit with interest from the Government of Ghana.
Appearing before Sole Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal yesterday, the Executive Director of GHA, Michael Abieteh Abbey, confirmed that indeed CP did no work but got payment through international arbitration.
The ‘Commission of Enquiry into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin’ under C.I. 79 to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama after public uproar over the payments in what has now come to be termed as Judgement Debts (JD).
Notable among them were payments made to CP (€94 million) and the never-ending case of GH¢51.2million parted to the self-styled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, both of which many believed were dubious and frivolous.
The GHA boss said the initial contract sum for Akim Oda-Kade/New Abirem-Nkawkaw was GH¢10.6million (¢106billion) with a foreign component of 155million Deutsche Marks.
He also confirmed that the Assin Praso-Yamoransa road was shoddily done by CP but got payment, saying the initial contract sum was GH¢1.5million (¢15.2billion) with a foreign component of 28.3million Deutsche Marks.
He said the Biriwa-Takoradi road was executed at initial contract sum of GH¢2.9million (¢29.5billion) with a foreign component of 49.4million Deutsche Marks. However, evidence already before the commission was that CP was overpaid by 44million Deutsche Marks for that project.
Mr. Abbey said the Obuasi town roads project was completed and the contract sum was ¢7.5billion with a foreign component of 6.4million Deutsche Marks.
When Justice Apau asked him if he was aware CP was paid 94million Euros for the projects as judgement debt, he said the GHA was not involved in the payment process but admitted the authority had also heard of the figure in the media, explaining, “As we speak, we are not aware how much was paid to CP.”
He said the contract was signed by the Ministry of Roads and Highways in the 1990s and GHA was selected as the engineers and added that “these are contracts that were negotiated and there was no normal bidding process.”
He said the government had substituted some roads in Accra for the projects with the exception of Obuasi, for which CP was paid.
Philip Lartey, deputy director in charge of Finance and Administration at the Department of Urban Roads confirmed that the construction of Independence Avenue roads from Liberia Road to Makola Market and Sankara (now Arko Adjei) up to High Street were substituted for Biriwa-Takoradi, Assin Praso-Yamoransa and Akim Oda-Nkawkaw road projects.
He said there were no dates on the contracts signed for the Accra projects before they were substituted.
Earlier, Dorothy Afriyie-Ansah, a chief state attorney, had asked the commission to give the Attorney General more time to search for documents covering the compensation claim of Victor Adu Nyarko who died in a military helicopter crash at the Atiwa forest in the Eastern Region.