Thursday, July 30, 2009
Dodgy Contractor Swindles Govt
Ex-St. Augustine`s Bursar jumps ship leaving Aowin school kids without 4 HIPC toilets
FOUR KVIP latrine projects which were to be constructed for Aowin Suaman District in the Western Region under the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative have been abandoned, but funds earmarked for the project, have been expended leaving the people in the district shortchanged, because the contractor who won the bid for execution of the project (MOFERG) has fled the jurisdiction since 2004.
The Chronicle gathers he has been paid the full amount of the contract fee for the said projects by the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing.
According to cross regional investigations conducted by this paper, the contractor, known as Amos and based in Cape Coast was supposed to execute ten of such projects in the area, but could only manage to finish six, whilst the remaining four projects were abandoned, despite the fact that the total contract sum was paid to him.
Until the assumption of office by the sitting government, The Chronicle gathered that the Ministry, under the Kufuor administration, could not trace the where about of 450 Million old cedis (45,000 Ghana cedis), which was the total sum for the four remaining projects, whilst the
contractor in question (Moferg), managed to escape uninvestigated.
The projects include a 4 seater KVIP Latrine for Methodist school at Enchi, Agyarkar Primary in the same town, Kalo Primary and Jema Primary school, all in the Aowin District. Even though documents indicate that these projects have all been executed, there is no sign of such projects in the mentioned communities.
The Western Regional Manager of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), the consultant of the project, Mr. Kwesi Brown, when contacted by the paper confirmed the story. He would not, however, comment on the matter since according to him his Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Gyau Boakye, was investigating the case.
He told the paper that since his assumption of office as the Regional Manager of the Water Company, he made several attempts to trace the where about of the 4 projects under investigation, but could not do that and had to forget about it.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo when contacted, however, disagreed with the Regional Manager. He explained to the paper that since the Manager was an Engineer at the Regional Office of the CWSA at the time, he could not distance himself from the project, pretending to be unaware of what had happened when the contract was awarded to the contractor (Moferg).
The Minister revealed that he is going to write to the Regional office of CWSA to respond, after which he would write to the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing to officially report the matter to the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice for further investigation and prosecution of all those who were involved in the award of the contract.
The District Chief Executive for Aowin, Mr. Oscar Ofori Larbi, in an interview confirmed the anomaly in the District upon his assumption of office. He told the paper that when he realized it, he quickly reported the matter to the Regional Minister for action to be taken.
When the Chief Executive Officer of CWSA, Dr. Gyau Boakye was contacted by the paper to ascertain the facts of the matter, he also confirmed the story, and indicated the efforts that have been made to get to the root of the matter. "I am aware of that case," he corroborated. Dr. Boakye, however, revealed the difficulties in tracing the documents of the projects -"We can’t trace the documents, which is why we are at a loss," he pointed out.
When Mr. Emmanuel Gaisie, the former Regional Manager of CWSA, now a director at the Chief Executive Officer’s Secretariat was contacted to comment on the subject, he concluded that the Ministry was blamable for the dark clouds surrounding the whole contract. "The Ministry is completely blamable," he pointed out.
According to him "Our jurisdiction in the matter stops at the supervisory level of the project, adding "The difficulty is that they paid the money to the contractor without our office even knowing," he added. He stressed "We did not handle the money for the project."
Mr. Gaisie, in confirming The Chronicle investigation, however, explained that instead of four projects as stated above, the contractor when he was leaving office in the Western Region in 2007, had executed seven out of the ten projects, with three outstanding. But since then, nothing has been done to complete the work as indicated by documents in their outfit and the sector Ministry.
The contractor (Mr. Amos), according to The Chronicle Central Region Bureau’s files showed that Moferg (owned by Amos) was once a Bursar at St. Augustine’s College in Cape coast.
Investigations on Amos further showed that he had engaged in rotten deals at when he was at post, which led to his exit from the school. Sources in Cape Coast also indicate that Mr. Amos, who is currently out of the country reportedly, squandered about 1.5 billion old Ghana cedis of the school, until an audit report indicted him, and he was kicked out.
With such a wretched record, he still managed to warm his way up and eventually ended up swindling the HIPC initiative projects in Aowin, leaving the school children who were supposed to benefit from the toilet projects shortchanged.
There was no trace of him after Chronicle mounted a manhunt for him, until it was established that he had jumped ship.
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