The Central Regional branch of the Ghana Road Contractors Association (GRCOA) on Thursday appealed to government to as a matter of urgency set up a committee to investigate and retrieve mobilization funds paid to some “fraudulent contractors” from outside the region, who have failed to execute contracts awarded them within the region.
Mr. Hammond Larbi, President of the Association who made the appeal at a press conference in Cape Coast expressed concern that “a chunk of the taxpayers money was going down the drain” as a result of such malpractices.
According to him, many of these contractors have, within the past two to three years accessed the mobilization fund but have abandoned the projects they were to execute, including the Road Fund and the GETFund and that effort by the government agencies in the industry to trace them have proved futile.
He noted that such attitude did not augur well for the future of the industry, and if not checked, could collapse the local construction industry, and called on the government to terminate all such contracts and reward them to “serious and genuine” contractors in the region.
Mr Larbi expressed concern that, genuine contractors in the country were rather being frustrated as their contract certificates were not honoured on time after the completion of their contracts, thereby making them to accrue more interest on loans taken from the banks.
He stressed the need for up and coming contractors to be encouraged by being awarded more contracts to help grow and sustain them in the industry.
Mr Larbi suggested that in future, all contracts should be networked for easy identification of contractors who abandoned project in one region and moved to another in search of other contracts.
He pledged the Association's readiness to assist the government to flush out recalcitrant contractors, in other to “clean” the system to curb the “theft” of taxpayers' money, and appealed to the road governing agencies to be vigilant and collaborate with the Association to ensure sanity in the industry.
Mr Amoako Boateng, Deputy Regional Director of the Department of Feeder Roads, corroborated Mr Larbi's claim and said about five contractors who were awarded contracts in the region within the past few years have abandoned them and could not be traced.
He said this was the case because information provided, such as telephone numbers and business addresses had all been found to be fictitious, but could however not provide the amount involved in such payments.
Mr Boateng observed that some contractors also do not have requisite personnel like civil engineers and quantity surveyors and also lacked the requisite equipment.