Oil money school project stalls for 6 years

- Lack of funds to blame

The uncompleted 6-unit classroom block of Akenten Presby Primary. Inset: Some of the PIAC team and journalists interacting with the school’s headteacher

A six-unit classroom block for Apenten Presbyterian Primary School at Akenten in the Sene West district of the Brong Ahafo Region – partly supported with funds from the oil revenue – remains uncompleted 6 years after the contract was awarded.

The project was originally awarded to Messrs. BuKhan Ghana Limited in 2011 – estimated at GH¢297,291 and to be completed in five calendar months -, was allocated GH¢91,341 of the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).

But the contract was terminated and the project re-awarded to Messrs. Multi Concepts Services of Accra in 2012, after the original contractor was said to have deserted site for more than a year, according to documents available at the school.

But in a bizarre twist, Messrs. BuKhan Ghana Limited returned to the site to continue with the initial work they started – amid calls to stop; and now there is also an uncompleted and unroofed structure in the school’s compound.

According to records available to the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), which was at the school together with journalists from the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) to inspect the project, the Ministry of Education (MoE) indicated only GH¢91,341 had been paid to the contractor for work done.

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The MoE had also captured that there remains an outstanding balance of GH¢205,950 to be paid the contractor, while estimating work already done to be 35 percent.

Contrary to this assertion, Messrs. Multi Concepts Services of Accra – speaking on phone with PIAC officials – indicated that about GH¢189,944 representing 74 percent of work done, had been settled despite a submission for 80 percent payment. The amount excluded 5 percent of withholding tax.

The current state of the project was attributed to delay in the release of funds for remaining work to be completed.

The Akenten Presbyterian Primary School, with a population of 295 pupils, has been forced to share the uncompleted block with its Junior High School, while the newly constructed KVIP toilet attached to the project is also still inaccessible.

The situation has compelled the school authorities to house only Primary one to three in the uncompleted block, while the others occupy the only three other classroom blocks built by World Vision Ghana.

The headteacher of Akenten Presbyterian Primary School, Kofi Oporku, noted that the current situation of sharing the uncompleted structure with no doors and windows in the JHS section of the school poses a lot of challenges for them.

“Anytime it rains teaching and learning activities are halted; and also, because of the unavailability of doors, animals enter the classes and defecate everywhere,” he stated.

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He also said, given that their timetable conflicts with the JHS section that occupies the same block with them, teaching and learning activities are often affected by noise from those who may be on break.

The District Directorate of Education, Mr. Oporku said, has been informed about the development but no immediate response has been given – despite an earlier promise to collaborate with the District Assembly to address the situation.

The maintenance of the other classroom blocks, he indicated, has had to be borne by the staff – given that no help is coming from anywhere.

Among other challenges, he said the school lacks electricity, playing materials for the children, and has only one desktop computer donated by a benevolent individual – which has to be connected from the teachers’ quarters whenever there is a need to teach ICT.

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