The diversion of an oil-funded road project from the communities initially earmarked to benefit for other communities not captured in the contract has raised concerns among civil society organisations.
The 7-kilometre upgrading project – to have been undertaken from Hansua to some other communities, in the Techiman Municipality of the Brong Ahafo – was awarded to Messrs. Kofi Job Company Limited in 2011, at an initial cost of GH¢6,231,283.
However, the project – which received an allocation of GH¢4,086,903 from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) and was supposed to be complete within 12 months from the start of work in 2012 – could not be traced to the original location as stated in the contract document.
A combined team from the Public Interest and Accountability Committee and journalists from the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ), who are in region to inspect projects done using the oil revenue, were led to inspect the supposed upgrading works of Hansua roads and links.
A day later, the team discovered that communities where the project was carried out were not captured in the contract document. Communities that were mentioned in the contract were avoided during execution of the road project.
According to the Chief of Hansua, Nana Apenteng Fosu Gyeabour II – also the Bemaamuhene of Techiman Traditional Council, many of the road projects in his community were done using his own funds. He indicated that the contractor, Kofi Jobs, in 2012 attempted to ‘level’ an untarred road which is less than a kilometre in some part of the Hansua community. Beyond this, no other work has been done in the community.
The former Deputy Minister of Education, Alex Kyeremeh who was Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) when the project was awarded, could not explain why the project was diverted to a different community.
He disclosed that he lobbied for an about-16-kilometre town roads project, but this was reduced to 7-kilometres at the time the project was approved and awarded. The project, he indicated, was intended to create access roads and ease traffic in town – particularly because of vehicles that ply Kumasi to Tamale through Techiman.
“A few months after commencement of the roads, I won election as the Member of Parliament so I left as the Municipal Chief Executive; so much wasn’t done during my time, although I secured all the projects,” Mr. Kyeremeh said.
However, he acknowledged that many of the roads were to be done within the Hansua community but could not explain why his successor took the decision to scatter the project to other communities.
Contrary to this assertion, the Urban Roads Maintenance Engineer for Brong Ahafo Region Mr. Ernest Boom, who came to meet the ongoing project on his transfer to the region, said the project had not been diverted.
He explained that the project had to be started in another community and linked to Hansua, but due to some unforeseen reasons it could not be completed.
However, he put the physical progress of work on the alleged diverted project to about 65 percent, in contrast to records from the Ministry of Roads and Highways which estimated the physical progress of work to be 99 percent complete.
In the absence of the contractor to clarify some of the issues, Mr. Boom observed that the difference in stated progress of the work was as a result of the variations in the initial contract.
The Municipal Chief Executive of Techiman Municipality, Mr. John Kofi Donyina who joined the PIAC to inspect the road, was worried over the delay in completing the project. He blamed the situation on lack of involvement by local authorities in the awarding of contracts.
He said prior to the visit of PIAC and members of IFEJ, he had no knowledge of a project in the Municipality supported with funds from the oil revenue; and neither had he sighted any official document at the Assembly on the project.
He described parts of the uncompleted project as a death-trap and complained that any further delay in completing that particular portion of the project could result in an untoward development.
The PIAC team, which was led by the Vice-Chairman Dr. Thomas Stephens, particularly noted the cost overruns resulting from delays as well as state of the project.
The visit to Techiman Municipality forms part of the 2018 district engagement and oil-funded project inspection in the Brong Ahafo Region by PIAC supported by the German Development Cooperation GIZ and GOGIG.