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29.03.2007 Politics

DCE in trouble

By Daily Guide

A committee set up to investigate the mobilization and disbursement of funds by the Berekum DCE, Mr. Kyere Yeboah, as regards the construction of a community center at Jinijini, has recommended that the DCE be sanctioned.

It further recommended that the contractor, Nana Osei Zumi of Baasconts Ltd, be banned from executing any contract of the Berekum District Assembly's.

The Committee, which was set up by the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, comprised Mr. Jacob Tampuri of RCC, Sunyani, and Johnson Alifo of inspectorate division of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. It had since presented its report.

According to the findings of the committee, the chiefs and people of Jinijini through the DCE of Berekum, applied for financial support of ¢300 million from the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development for the construction of a community center to promote culture.

The application letter was duly sent to the minister by the DCE, covered by a letter dated 14th April 2004.

In another letter dated 26th May 2004, the Jinijini Traditional Council wrote to the DCE informing him about their intention to offer communal labour to beat down the cost of the project and further advised the DCE that the project should not be awarded on contract.

However at a meeting of the Berekum District Tender Board held on Wednesday 16th June 2004, the contract was awarded to Basconst Ltd at a cost of ¢300 million with the contractor sitting in as a member of the Tender Board.

When the contractor applied for a mobilization of ¢100 million, the DCE quickly released the amount.

The last tranche of ¢200 million was released to the contractor on June 29th 2004 but as at September 2004, the project was at the foundation stage.

And as at November 16th 2004, only about 7% of the work had been completed.

According to the report, due diligence was not exercised by the DCE and the team handling the project, especially in the financial management aspect of it.

The committee also noted that issues of payment of mobilization and payment in tranches appeared to be deliberate.

Additionally, funds for the project appeared to be diverted for a purpose other than the Jinijini community complex.

Meanwhile when the project site was visited, the building was at the lintel level and workers had abandoned the site.

In an interview with a cross section of the people of Jinijini, they were of the opinion that the Serious Fraud Office should come in to investigate the matter.