General News of Sunday, 2 July 2017
Source: ABC News
Investigations conducted by this paper has revealed that large scale corrupt practices and dubious awards of contracts in the water sector by Ghana Water Company Limited officials, especially as regards the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) are responsible for the unimpressive and epileptic water projects carried out in various parts of the country.
The company is embroiled in a whirlpool of corruption as facts have emerged as to how the officers in charge of the GAMA project awarded jobs to cronies for a fee even before advertisements for the project were made public.
Most of the jobs were handled by particular companies, indicating what sources familiar with inside dealings at GWCL called ‘insider trading’ as the companies were either owned or promoted by top management staff involved in the dirty deals.
To further show how questionable some of the payments were the trail of approvals and award of contracts revealed a lack of due process and transparency in the approval. Sources alleged that GWCL officials who supervised the project forced some suppliers to pay some dubious amounts, ranging between GHC200, 000 and GHC 400,000 in order to be guaranteed a job on the GAMA project.
In another shocking discovery in the project’s BOQ, suppliers were required to purchase back holes, luxurious SUVs and Pickups for the comfort of GWCL officials. Meanwhile, GWCL with the supervision of Ing. Michael Botse-Baidoo, Chief Manager for the Project, Planning and Development Department under very dicey circumstances under-priced the vehicles, therefore leaving the suppliers to make up for the huge differences when the go forward to make those purchases to meet the terms of the contract.
Interestingly, these GWCL officials also restricted and selected some specific companies where suppliers had to purchase the vehicles, a situation which really raised eyebrows with regards to transparency of the whole process.
Having spent huge sums of monies even before winning and whiles executing the contracts, these suppliers and contractors, who are also mindful about the risk of incurring losses, carryout shoddy jobs in order to stay in business.
Information available to this paper indicates that, the consultant in charge of the World Bank project is upset about how GWCL officials have handled the GAMA project and has lamented on countless occasions on the need for sanity to prevail.
Some frustrated suppliers are threatening to spill the beans amidst loud calls for Ing. Baidoo to be made to step aside for a thorough investigation to be conducted into the $400million project which has embarrassed the government.
A supplier stated “Mr President, kindly charge your minister to also set up a forensic audit into the conduct of GWCL Planning Department in the award of aspects of the GAMA Projects. You will be amazed that, most of the awarded contracts have some underhand dealings, which certainly does not offer the public purse value for money”.
It has proven that despite several billions of dollar investment in the sector over the years by government and international donors like the World Bank, Ghanaians still suffer greatly on account of lack of adequate water supplybecasue of these dubious contracts.
GWCL through its Project Planning and Development Department (PPD) is expected to implement the Water component of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA SWP) with a funding grant from the International Development Association (IDA).
KPONG HEAD WORKS
In a related development management is under pressure to also conduct investigations into irregularities in the award and inflation of the Kpong Head Works project.
A document available to this paper indicates that when that project was first considered under the Kufour government in 2006, the total cost for the project, inclusive of the construction of an intake station, treatment plant, and a midway pumping station at Oyibi, the transmission line from Kpong to Accra, and a distribution network for the communities along the transmission lines was USD 198,761,494.05 million.
However, by the time the Project came to be realised in 2011, its cost had escalated to USD 273 million. Per the 2006 Bill of Quantities, an amount of USD 10,866,690.81 million was earmarked for water distribution network along the catchment communities, and yet despite the Project price escalation to USD 273 million, the project was executed without the distribution lines.
It has been revealed that one of the three engineers who lobbied for the position of managing director was in charge of the Planning Department of GWCL, when together with corrupt political officials of the Previous government decided to inflate the Project cost, and also side stepped some of the project scope to the horror of many observers.
Sources say , the engineers of GWCL and corrupt politicians colluded to siphon the money meant for the setting up of the distribution networks in the various communities and called on the minister to investigate the source of the funds GWCL used to rehabilitate its Head Office building at the
As a result of the absence of the distribution network in the communities mentioned earlier, the totality of the Gezhouba plant’s output is not being utilized, simply because there are not enough off takes on the transmission mains. For a plant that is meant to be operated 24/7, due to inadequate distribution lines, the plant is operating at a maximum of 14hrs/day”