Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, July 31, 2014
The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has tendered in evidence at the ongoing Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts, more payment certificates issued to Messrs Construction Pioneers (CP) for the construction of roads in the country.
The company received €85.2million in addition to £7million during the tenure of Betty Mould-Iddrisu when she was Attorney General and Minister of Justice between 2009 and 2011, a move that has aroused the public’s suspicion about how the payments were determined.
The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has already told the commission presided over by Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal that CP was paid millions for road project contracts some of which the construction giant did not even execute in the 1990s.
They cited 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.
The GHA has already testified that, the initial contract sum for Akim Oda - Kade/New Abirem – Nkawkaw, for which payment was made for no work done, was GH¢10.6million (¢106billion) with a foreign component of 155million Deutsche Marks.
The Assin Praso – Yamoransa road the authority confirmed as ‘shoddily done’ by CP also attracted a contract sum of GH¢1.5million (¢15.2billion) with a foreign component of 28.3million Deutsche Marks which was subsequently paid.
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 and evidence already before the commission was that CP was overpaid by 44million Deutsche Marks for that project while the Obuasi township roads were completed and the government issued a defects liability certificate.
The GHA has already retrieved certificates covering the overlay of Biriwa-Takoradi road project and tendered before the commission but the Accra City Centre Improvement Project certificate was still not found.
Executive Director of GHA, Michael Abieteh Abbey told the commission yesterday that the GHA submitted the payment certificate for the Obuasi Township Roads contract to CP but were still searching for certificate for the Accra City Centre Improvement Project.
He said they were also searching for back-ups for all the payment certificates issued to CP and asked the commission to contact the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) to provide payment certificate for the Accra City Roads Projects since GHA did not award those contracts.
Mr. Abbey also tendered in evidence a compilation of what he called a reconstructed CP judgement debt issue saying “a few people were there when CP was working and they have confirmed some of the issues for us.”
Justice Apau commended the GHA boss for always wanting to assist the commission with its works saying “you are one of the few heads who attend our sittings personally.”
Earlier, Nii Adjei Kpobi Asaawa II who claims to be the head of Agbawe Family in La, Accra and who are claiming compensation for the Adentan lands compulsorily acquired by the government for the then State Housing Corporation also testified.
Evidence before the commission is that another chief Nii Sowah Okataban II is also claiming similar compensation since 1993.
Nii Asaawa II said the family sued the SHC, SSNIT and the AG to force the government for compensation but it has proved futile.
He said when they put in a claim in 1993 for 1,395.11 acres, the valuation was about ¢4.420 billion.
Justice Apau however, advised the factions to settle their differences before approaching the State Housing Company since the SHC had made it clear it was willing to negotiate with a united front.
Jacqueline Avotri, a staff officer of Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) formerly Serious Fraud Office (SFO) also testified on the investigation the office conducted into the compensation claims of some of the Volta flooded areas following the construction of the Akosombo Dam.
She tendered in evidence documents covering Apaso and Makango areas and said they were yet to retrieve document covering Pai areas.
She said the outstanding report for the Pai flooded areas was still not retrieved but added that SFO handed copies to the Ministry of Finance who had asked them to conduct the investigation.