General News of Thursday, 19 February 2015
Minority Spokesperson on Energy, KT Hammond, has revealed that the former Minister of Energy, Dr Joe Oteng Adjei is still using one of the luxurious vehicles that were bought with money meant for an electricity extension project.
He asserted that, “My understanding is that, for all his worries, he [Dr Oteng Adjei] decided to keep one of the Lexus cars to himself. As we talk, Oteng Adjei is using one of them.”
The Ministry of Power justified the decision to purchase luxurious vehicles with money allocated for electricity expansion project saying it was necessary and that it saved the country $46 million following an audit of the project.
According to an audit report presented to Parliament, the then Ministry of Energy and Petroleum spent $1,745, 159 on 38 luxurious vehicles from a US$350 million US EXIM facility meant to extend electricity to about 1,200 communities between 2010 and 2012.
The Ministry of Power explained that negotiations for the project started in 2006 and ended in 2009 after going through cabinet and Parliament.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, KT Hammond insisted that though the New Patriotic Party (NPP) initiated the US EXIM facility, it never included the purchasing of luxurious vehicles adding that, “what was brought to Parliament at the time did not include acquisition of Chrysler or Lexus.”
“We simply arranged for the EXIM Bank facility to get to the country…so we can get several communities out of darkness,” he stressed.
“I am aware that in 2009, there was a value for money exercise undertaken by NDC under the auspices of the then Minister of Energy, Dr Oteng Adjei. It was at this stage that there was a variation to the contract superintended over the Dr Oteng Adjei and his outfit indicating that they preferred to have Chryslers and Lexus. That really has nothing to do with the NPP, we were not there when that was included in the procurement process,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Power in a statement stated that per the review of prices of the materials it later extended the electricity project to cover about 2,130 communities in Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Western and Central Regions as against the previous 1200.
“So far, about one thousand communities have been connected and the project is ongoing,” the statement said.