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07.08.2009 Crime & Punishment

Confusion over GH¢380,000 bungalow contract OBUASI ASSEMBLY ORDERS CONTRACTORS TO REFUND GH¢68,000 … Company also blacklisted

By Albert Nana Asante, Obuasi - Ghanaian Chronicle
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A FIVE-member ad hoc committee, constituted by the Obuasi Municipal Assembly on June 8, this year, and chaired by Mr. Asiedu Kotwi to investigate the construction of the much-talked about GH¢380,193.440 Municipal Chief Executive's Bungalow, has submitted its report for consideration by the General Assembly.

On the basis of the finding, the committee recommended among others that the assembly terminate its contact with the contractor who executed the project, and made to refund to the assembly a total amount of ¢680,185,101.00.

The committee, which has Messrs Charles Appiah-Kubi, Benjamin Annan, Victor Alhassan Baba and Mrs. Gifty Owusu Afriyie as other members, was constituted in view of concerns raised by members at its emergency meeting held in May, this year.

The committee was charged among others, to investigate the cost of the project, state of the project, payments made in respect of the project, the commencement and completion dates of the project, and the demolition of an old bungalow which served as the colonial era official residence for government representatives in the district.

The assembly's commitment so far made to the MCE's bungalow project, which commenced on May 11, 2007, and was expected to be completed by January 14, 2008, stands at ¢2,038,296,106.00 (old cedis).

According to the report, the value of works completed by the contractor to date, as certified by the consultant, Public Works Department, Kumasi, is ¢1,532,405,500 (old cedis).

“It was revealed that payments have been certified for works which have not been practically executed at all by the contractor, and those which have been executed, but overvalued, totaled ¢263,277,825.00 (old cedis). Total payment certified and made for works not done at all, is ¢101,613,000.00 (old cedis), and that of payment made in respect of overvaluation of some works are ¢164,625,825.00, and this clearly shows that the contractor remains indebted to the assembly, in respect of the overpayments of works and advance payment towards mobilisation, totaling ¢680,185,101.00,” the committee said in its findings.

The report continued that some requirements were not met by the contractor, Messrs ELLIOKOL Company Limited in Accra, even though the colossal sum of ¢136,028,277.80 (old cedis) was provided as part of the contract sum to secure insurance against liability to persons and the property, which was not provided.

On the progress of the project, the committee maintained that “the progress of the project is not satisfactory, as it is one and half years behind completion, thereby rendering it unduly delayed.

“There are indications that the delay is due to the contractor's inability to perform, as the assembly does not owe the contractor in any way.”

The committee accused the contractor of not following due construction processes. “because works which were supposed to be completed before painting was done, were not carried out, but painting had already been started,” and this, the committee said, was an attempt by the contractor to deceive the assembly.

On the demolition of the three bedroom guest house, the committee recommended that whoever directed its demolition, which cost the assembly ¢97,978,000, should be made to refund the cost of reconstruction and demolition, and that the contractor should no more be solicited to undertake any consultancy work with the assembly.

The committee also recommended that all ongoing, and yet to commence contracts that the assembly has awarded the contractor, should immediately be abrogated to save the assembly from “unprecedented financial loss in future.”

The committee, again, recommended that the contractor should be made to suffer liquidated ascertained damages for the undue delay of the project, and called for an independent private external auditor to investigate all issues relating to the project.

At the time of filing the report, the assembly was yet to discus the recommendations.

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