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25.03.2009 General News

AU Village contractor in dog fight with workers

By The Statesman

Workers involved in the execution of civil engineering and sewerage projects at the African Union Village at La Wireless in the Greater Accra Region are on a collision course with their employers, Environmental Engineering Company over unpaid salaries and allowances two years after the completion of the project.

Investigations by The Statesman established that Environmental Engineering Company was contracted by the [email protected] Secretariat to execute civil engineering and sewerage projects at Dompoase and Sampa in the Brong-Ahafo region as well as the AU village at La Wireless. The contract awarded for the three projects run into over GH¢100,000.

However, two years after the celebration of the grand event, the management of the company has failed to pay workers their due salaries and allowances claiming they have not been paid by government.

The workers have however rejected claim and have called on the Auditor-General to intervene and audit the accounts of the company to verify its financial state, insisting the contract sums have already been paid.

"For almost one year, the company has refused to pay a penny to its workers and management seems to have no problem with that,' claimed a mid-level management staff who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In an interview with this paper, the Managing Director of Environmental Engineering Company, Bempah Mensah, said the [email protected] Secretariat was yet to pay the company the full contract sum.

He however disputed the claim that workers have not received any salaries for close to a year. 'We have started paying the workers their due salaries from January this year and shall make full payments as soon as we receive payment from government,' said he.

This assertion was once again rejected by the workers when The Statesman visited the site at La Wireless (East Cantonments), who are bent on having their pound of flesh from the management of the company.

'We call on the Auditor-General to intervene and probe this company. They are taking we the poor workers for a ride,' said one worker who refused to give his name for fear of victimization.

The Statesman's investigations revealed that the company has been awarded a contract by the World Bank running into several thousands of dollars. The workers, who are mainly from La and its neighbouring communities, feel they might lose their salaries if the company folds up from the AU Village and relocates to the new project site which is not known to them.

Enquiries conducted at the [email protected] Secretariat as to whether EEC has been paid or not indicated that all contractors who executed different projects on behalf of the Secretariat have been duly paid.

This sharply contradicts the company"s position that it had not received full payment from Government for work it executed.