How can you demand audit report when you inflated cost of cocoa roads? NPP to Mahama

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has taken former President John Dramani Mahama to the cleaners for challenging President Akufo-Addo to the report of an audit he [Nana Addo] claimed was conducted on the cocoa roads project.

Addressing the media on Monday, October 5, 2020, Director of Communications for NPP Yaw Buaben Asamoa said the former president has no moral right to make such demands because the cost of the roads, were inflated when the previous awarded the contracts.

He said when the NPP took over, cocoa roads project, were suspended after anomalies which, resulted in inflated cost of contracts were detected.

Mr. Asamoa noted the suspension of the projects allowed for a rescoping and proper alignment of funds as well as open competitive bidding processes towards the award of new cocoa roads contracts.

He stated that the contractors who were awarded contracts by the previous administration and had genuine claims were promptly paid.

An amount of GHc497 million during 2017/2018 was paid to contractors whose contracts by the John Mahama led administration and another GHc414 million was subsequently paid in 2018/2019 cocoa season making a total of GHc1. billion, he declared.

Road projects started under the NDC that were near completion he said, were allowed to be completed by the current government.

He said the Mahama led administration deviated from the purpose and intent for the construction of the cocoa roads because there was a heavy concentration on the construction of highways and some cases, roads in non-cocoa growing areas.

He claimed that a ”whopping 63% of the funds for cocoa roads, were diverted to highways. 5%, were diverted to urban roads and the rest went to feeder roads. This situation has changed significantly in the current dispensation. That is why today, the increase in feeder roads across the cocoa regions in Ghana can be as higher as 40% in just under four years, 37% specifically in the Eastern region from 34 kilometres in 2016 to 466 kilometres today, serving the genuine, purpose of evacuating cocoa from the growing areas to the takeover centres.”

Addressing a durbar of chiefs at Bopa in the Sefwi Akontombra District of the Western North Region, Mr. Mahama said Mr. Akufo-Addo and the NPP, because of politics, stopped the ongoing road projects, leading to a neglect of the roads for almost four years, and eroding the progress already made on those roads.

Mr. Mahama, who is the Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said he doubts the existence of any audit report.

“They should tell us the findings. Which contractors were paid for work they had not done? But there is no such report. Because of politics, you abandon the roads and now that it’s close to elections, you’re now scrambling to fix roads. Meanwhile you had four years to do so” he disclosed.

Explaining the reason for instituting the cocoa roads project, the NDC Leader said his government observed that the cocoa growing communities had some of the poorest roads in the country and together with Cocobod, agreed to vote $150 million of cocoa proceeds annually into constructing roads for those cocoa growing areas.

But reacting, Mr. Buaben Asamoa said Mr. Mahama is brave to have asked for the report of an inflated cost of projects he supervised when it is already in public.

Mahama he added awarded contracts when he had no clue where the money to pay for the contracts would come from.

To him, Mr. Mahama is brave to have asked for the report of an inflated cost of projects he supervised when it is already in public.

Mahama he added awarded contracts when he had no clue where the money to pay for the contracts would come from.

The NDC he said awarded 229 cocoa roads project amounting to GHc5.1 billion at a time when funds available to pay for road contracts was only GHc1.7 billion.

”Specifically for cocoa roads, the approved annual amount averaged GHc500 million for the COCOBOD Infrastructural Development Trust Fund for the entire 5-year period of the programme. Indeed, John Mahama committed GHc3. 2 billion, 64% of funds he did not have to just 74 projects awarded by the Ghana Highway Authority, not by the Department of Feeder Roads. The 131 projects under Feeder Roads were valued at just GHc1.5 billion. Again, the average cost per kilometre of trunk roads in the projects awarded was GThc2.5 million, more than double the kilometre cost of the feeder roads at GHc1.16 million. The 140 contractors who were awarded the 229 contracts, non of the contracts went through a competitive tendering process. Not a single one went through a competitive tendering process. The cost per kilometre was much higher than the average cost of other government sponsored road projects.”

In an example, he said the cost of the Prestea-Samireboi road contract awarded to Asabea Engineering Limited was inflated, by 121.8% although he failed to disclose the original amount.


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