Construction Pioneers DM117m Rip-Off
Top NDC Officials Involved The final special audit report of the foreign components of payments made to Construction Pioneers (CP), an expatriate construction firm based in Accra has been submitted to the Auditor General and government. The report which has a high scent of 'ebon wo' had and varying degrees of 'scent noo' has named a number of government officials who were involved in the fraudulent transfer of funds to CP's account in Liechtenstein'.
The named officials served in the erstwhile government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). They are Ato Quarshie, then minister of Roads and Highways who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of December 9, 1994 and the full settlement terms of Clause 9 of MoU of December 9, 1994.
In addition as the sector minister Ato Quarshie who is a two-term member of Parliament for Komenda/Edna/Eguafo District Assembly (KEEA), signed the 'loaded contracts relating to the three road projects without following the proper procedure'.
Furthermore, Dr. Ato Quarshie ignored the objections of the technical officers of Ministry of Road and Highways and allowed payment schedule to be made out of the off-loaded amount.
Mr. Kwame Peprah then minister of Finance, on his part signed the 'off loading' contract of March 10, 1999 relating to the payment schedule which appeared to have been prepared by CP without any written correspondence from Minsitry of Roads and Highways (MHR). He also instructed the controller and accountant general's department to effect payments to CP's account in Liechtenstein. The minister then deviated from the payment schedule and used the contract as a basis for transferring DM117 million to Liechtenstein, Germany. In their haste to deal with CP, the then minister Peprah, signed the payment schedule, which included the offloaded amounts on the three contracts.
Convict Peprah's deputy, Victor Selormey, who is also serving a prison term at the Nsawam Prisons, signed the payment of funds over and above the agreed payment amount and also doubled the payment.
Auditors concluded that payment procedures for road cons tracts were not followed, and that payments made to CP were in contravention of laid-down procedures is tantamount to fraud. The total amount transferred to CP irregularly amounted to DM117million. These payments, it has been found out, were transferred through Loans Portfolio, therefore withholding taxes were not taken, contrary to the provisions of the land. It has also been found out that CP altered the contract document and loaded the three contracts by an amount of DM44million.
The reputable auditors of Baffour Awuah and Associates have recommended that all monies transferred to Liechtenstein as well as payments made under the contracts totaling DM117million, in contravention of procedures for payment to Road Contractors, should be declared null and void and CP made to refund all the monies with interest to the state. It also recommended that the CP and the above listed officials involved in the fraudulent transfer of funds to CPs account in Liechtenstein should be made to explain their roles and account to the people.