Communications Director of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea has questioned if no other private construction firm, apart from the President’s brother’s company, had the needed technical expertise and track record to have dredged the Odaw Channel.

Mr Akomea told Kwadwo Asare-Baffour Acheampong, host of Asempa FM’s afternoon political talk programme, Ekosii Sen, on Monday October 5, 2015 that President John Mahama could have avoided the raging controversy about his brother’s company’s use of state equipment in doing the dredging, had the job been given to an alternative private firm.

This way, Mr Akomea noted, the President would have avoided the conflict of interest discussions about the matter.

He said the NPP has picture evidence to prove that some of the heavy-duty equipment that were released to Mr Ibrahim Mahama’s E&P for the dredging, which the President’s brother said he did pro bono, were also used for his private gain on projects at Ashaiman.

In his view, rather than E&P undertaking the job upon the President’s orders for the state-owned excavators to be released to his brother’s company for that purpose, the Government could have fallen on the Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces to do the same job.

The Minority in Parliament recently said the President’s brother must pay the full cost of the equipment since their integrity could no longer be vouched for, after their use by E&P.

At a press conference on Thursday, October 1, 2015, addressed by Kwesi Ameyaw Kyeremeh, Minority spokesperson on local government, the Minority caucus said since the machines were acquired with the taxpayers’ money, their release to a private company for use was improper, thus, E&P must be made to pay the full cost of their acquisition, and the money used to procure fresh equipment.

The fleet of heavy-duty equipment was acquired by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to be put into a pool to be used by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies across the country.

This is the second time the Minority in Parliament has raised concerns about the release of the equipment to E&P.

The first time was in July this year, when the MPs raised red flags about whether or not there existed any contract between the President’s brother’s company and the Government, to justify the release of the equipment to E&P to undertake the dredging.

It prompted a response from Mr Mahama, who told journalists during a tour of the Channel site, together with Chief of Staff Julius Debrah; Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda; and his deputy, Mr Nii Lante Vanderpuye, that: “I don’t have a contract with the government. There is no contract. If it is a contract, it will be tendered, and everybody will see that it is tendered. I don’t have a contract, and I don’t need a contract to do this job.”

He said E&P did the dredging in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD).

Mr Mahama explained that the government supplied the needed equipment as well as fuel for the work, while his company provided the technical expertise and personnel needed for the job at no cost.

Addressing concerns by the Minority as to why E&P brandished its name on the state-owned equipment, Mr Mahama said the branding was done for accountability purposes.

He added that all the vehicles in use were also insured “so that if it kills anybody, gets burnt, gets stolen, we are covered. That is why we need to put our stickers on them. Stickers don’t mean ownership. Stickers just mean who is using it and that is why we put them on the equipment.”

In his estimation, the value of the work done by his company, as of July, could be pegged at GH¢150 million, while the equipment that were made available by the government had a total value of about GH¢30 million, out of which just about a sixth part was in use when the journalists visited.

Alhaji Collins Dauda told journalists at the time that indeed Engineers and Planners were doing the dredging for free.

He explained that after the June 3 fuel station explosion, which killed more than 100 passers-by within the Nkrumah Circle enclave, during a rainfall, the government “made an appeal to individuals, corporate bodies and everybody to assist the government to address the situation.

“As a result of the appeal we made, Engineers and Planners responded to assist the government in clearing the debris and also assisting the government to desilt the channel behind us.

“As far as the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is concerned, we don’t have any contract with Ibrahim,” Alhaji Dauda said in July, adding that there were other collaborators such as the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), who helped in clearing the debris after the June 3 floods.

“But in the case of Engineers and Planners because of the expertise they have in this kind of job they accepted to partner us in desilting the Odaw River and so as far as I am concerned we only provide fuel for Engineers and Planners.”

Source: Ghana Web

An X Live Africa News Aggregation Service

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