Engineers and Planners Company Limited, a private company whose Chief Executive is Mr Ibrahim Mahama, brother of President John Mahama, must cough up the full cost of some government-owned heavy-duty equipment, which E&P used in dredging the heavily silted Odaw River at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, that is the call of the Minority in Parliament.
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.
According to the Minority, the efficiency and sanctity of the state-owned dredging equipment used by E&P cannot be guaranteed, thus, their call for the acquisition of 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 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 was dredging the Odaw Channel for free, and was doing the work in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD)
Mr Mahama explained that the government was supplying the needed equipment as well as fuel for the work, while his company was providing the technical expertise and personnel needed for the job at no cost.
Addressing concerns by the Minority as to why E&P had 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 had also been 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.”
He told journalists although the company was providing free services, the value of the work done, as of July, could be pegged at GH¢150 million, while the equipment that had been 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.”
Reacting to the Minority’s fresh concerns, Deputy Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuye told Joy News on Thursday October 1, 2015 that indeed his Ministry released the equipment to E&P to help open up the Odaw Channel for water to flow freely into the Korle Lagoon on purely “benevolent and sacrificial basis.”
Source: Class FM