GETFUND Cripples Harry Zakour
STUDENTS AND Staff of premier technical training institute- Accra Technical Training College (ATTC) are at their tether's end about the abandoning of the refurbishment of an important mechanical workshop -ATTC's auto-mechanical department.
Apparently, the refurbishment is being delayed by the non-release of funds for completion by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND).
The contract was awarded to H&R Investment Limited owned by popular football administrator and NDC stalwart, Harry Zakour.
When contacted, Mr. Zakour told DAILY GUIDE that GETFUND had not released the necessary funding to complete the project. 'They [GETFUND] owe me money, if they pay me, I will continue the job'.
According to him, he had locked up almost GH¢500,000 in the contentious contract. Meanwhile, he says GETFUND has promised to pay him his contract fee next week.
Sources from the technical college say the abandoned project is preventing scores of mechanical engineering students of ATTC from undertaking crucial practical lessons.
Indeed, a tour of the facility by the paper showed gaping holes in the roof of the workshop, exposing learning equipment to the elements.
Whenever it rains, it drops directly through the roof onto expensive learning equipment in the workshop and after every rainfall, large puddles of water form in the workshop and the adjoining classrooms.
In this condition, access to tuition is practically impossible for students during the raining season.
The initial contract for the workshop refurbishment involves four companies splitting six refurbishment projects across the school among themselves.
The contract is valued at GH¢19 million and H&R Investment won the bulk of the contracts (four projects). However, the other contractors have completed their projects.
According to sources from ATTC, H&R only finished three of the projects and abandoned the last one (the auto-mechanical department), attracting the anger of both staff and students.
When completed, the refurbished workshop is expected to house training equipment valued at about $2million given to the school by the South Korean government,
'All the other projects are in place and the equipments have been fixed. It is only Harry Zakour that is letting the whole project down,' the source who wants to remain anonymous said. 'His utter negligence is tainting an otherwise good project. His position as an NDC top gun makes it even worse for him.'
Ameyaw Baafi, Principal of ATTC says he is personally concerned about the delay in the project, 'It is a huge investment that government has undertaken; the delay is unfortunate,' he said.
According to him, the Minister of Education is doing his best to speed up action on the project which will benefit Ghana's next generation of mechanical engineers.
GETFUND has had several intense confrontations with contractors involved in various educational projects across the country for non-payment of contract fees. It has even been cited for issuing dud cheques to contractors. This has caused intense criticism about the commitment of the Mills government to funding education infrastructural development.
By Raphael Adeniran