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16.06.2003 General News

Deputy Minister Abuse HIPC Fund

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.......FOR PARLIAMENTARY AMBITION Investigations by The Independent have confirmed that Deputy Volta Regional Minister, Mr. Kofi Dzamesi, is abusing money allocated to the Volta Region from the HIPC relief funds in pursuit of his personal ambition to contest for parliament in Election 2004.

Although the deputy minister, who is seeking nomination to contest on the ticket of the ruling party in the 2004 elections claims, he is personally funding development projects in the area, investigations conducted by this reporter offer a contrary picture.

The Independent established that these projects- some of which are on-going are being funded with the HIPC relief funds, but in a tale hard to relate, the news making rounds from the camp of the deputy regional minister say the projects are being funded by Mr. Dzamesi himself.

This reporter found out from checks at the Ketu District Tender Board in the Ketu North Constituency that for his scheme to gain currency, most of the contracts did not go through the Tender Board, which has the sole responsibility of scrutinizing prospective projects bidders.

Sources at the Tender Board hinted The Independent that the deputy minister deliberately refused to take many of the contracts in the region through the Tender Board, so that the constituents would believe in his campaign message that he is personally funding many of the projects in progress in the Volta Region.

Members of the Tender Board who The Independent spoke to denied any knowledge of the many projects in the Ketu constituency going through their outfit.

In an interview, Mr. Dzamesi said, people might misconstrue the noise being made by the NPP government on the many development projects embarked on in the Ketu District to mean that he is bragging as being the sole financier of the many projects in the district.

Many constituents in Dzamesi’s own hometown of Awlikope, in the Torgodo Electoral Area at Dzodze, were miffed at the behaviour of their “son”.

Further investigations revealed that during the last district level elections, the deputy regional minister made known to his constituents, his decision to contest the parliamentary seat in the Ketu North Constituency on the ticket of the NPP and promised at various fora held at Fiabgedu, Ablorme and Tadzewu that he would provide each of the communities with a ten-seater KVIP facility and promised to finance them personally.

Deputy Minister Kofi Dzamesi then made available 80 bags and 100 bags of cement and stones to the people of Fiagbedu and Tadzewu.

The Fiagbedu project, this reporter discovered, could not commence on schedule because the Assembly man for the area, one Richard Tordzro was accused of stealing five of the cements meant for the project.

Whilst the Dzodze police were investigating the conduct of the Assemblyman, the deputy regional minister, intervened and directed the police to discontinue with the case.

The police told this reporter that Mr. Dzamesi, claimed he directed the suspect, Richard Tordzro to take five bags of cements and sell to defray some of the expenses he incurred during the district level elections.

The deputy minister’s intervention, we found out, did not go down well with the residents of Fiagbedu. Investigations show that on 7th February 2003, the deputy regional minister signed a letter awarding the Fiagbedu project on contract to Messrs Harriana Construction Limited at the cost of ¢79,962,300 and is expected to be completed by 27th June 2003.

Records available at the Architectural Engineering Services Limited (AESL) regional offices at Ho, show that the Ketu District awarded only nine projects under the HIPC relief fund projects without the Tagbewu and Fiagbedu KVIP projects.

When contacted on phone, the District Chief Executive for Ketu, Linus Koffie, said, the project was awarded on contract because the Tender Board realized that the communal spirit of the people was waning since they always fight at the project site.

He disclosed that in the spirit of communal spirit, the assembly spent ¢20 million on the project, before it was awarded to Hariana Construction.

Though the Deputy Minister admitted awarding the project on contract, he questioned this reporter whether it was wrong to have awarded the contracts.

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