General News of Tuesday, 18 June 2019
Tension brewing at Fomena in the Ashanti Region following what looks like an abandoned hospital project in the area.
The Adansi North District Hospital project at Fomena was started during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government era, but it has been abandoned now, sparking anger among the people.
Residents of Fomena and its environs, including even the New Patriotic Party (NPP) officials at the constituency and polling station levels, have also expressed their anger.
Some known NPP bigwigs in the constituency are even threatening to vote against the party in 2020 if the government fails to complete the project which they claim is about 80 per cent completed as of December last year but was allegedly abandoned following a decision by the Ministry of Finance to conduct value-for-money audit.
The contractors have moved from the site as their contract duration had elapsed even though almost everything to make the project at the cost of $175 million complete is said to have been ready but some alleged feet dragging at the Ministry of Finance is holding things.
Significantly, per the contract signed, the contractor, NMS Infrastructure of the United Kingdom (UK), is entitled to a two-year contract extension to enable them to fully complete the project but some top officials at the ministry are allegedly preventing them from completing the project under the guise of a forensic audit which commenced almost two years ago.
Residents of Fomena are said to be angry about government’s decision to abandon the project and as a result, some of the leading opinion leaders are even urging the public to boycott the ongoing limited voters’ registration exercise being conducted by the Electoral Commission.
It has turned out that UK Export Finance, the financiers of the project, would not accept if NMS UK is ‘unjustifiably’ replaced with a different contractor to complete the project.
Checks indicated that the Ministry of Health has consistently called for the contractor to move to the site and complete the work but the Ministry of Finance is insisting it was still auditing the project.
Speaking on Kumasi-based Kessben FM, Kwaben Kennedy, popularly called KK, a leading NPP polling station official who is the unit committee chairman for Fomena East said on Kessben FM that “we will not campaign for NPP if government fails to complete the project.”
“We are starting from today. We have decided not to participate in the ongoing limited voter registration exercise and it is to send a signal to the government,” he added.
He alleged that the Deputy Minister of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, was one of the officials who should be blamed for the delay of the project. He gave the government a two-week ultimatum to move the contractor to the site “else we shall vote for John Mahama in 2020 to complete the project.”
The DCE for the area, Eric Kusi, also speaking on Kessben FM, said he had written several letters to the ‘appropriate quarters’ for the project to be completed to benefit the people but added that he has not been successful.
NPP Chairman Weeps
On his part, Akwasi Nti, the NPP Chairman for Fomena, predicted that the NPP would lose votes in the area in 2020 if government failed to complete the project.
He said some known staunch members of the NPP failed to attend the party’s recently organized health walk at Fomena because of the abandoned hospital project.
Akwasi Nti urged the NPP members to exercise restraint as he would work for the project to be completed soon, saying “I have gone to Accra more than 10 times on this project.”