Investigations carried out have established that Limex Bau – a company that originated from the erstwhile East Germany (German Democratic Republic GDR) was overpaid by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to the tune of US$724,111.63 in respect of rehabilitation of roads in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital.
A report of the special Audit on Suspected Duplicate Payment of Certificate No.76 to Limex Bau submitted to the auditor-general in October 2001, had indicated that on May 24, 1993, a letter signed by A.S. Bekoe, head, Aid/Debt Management Unit on behalf of the Minister of Finance, authorized the payment of US$724,111.64 to the then East German company.
Consequently, on June 15, 1993, Bank of Ghana paid Limex Bau the sum of US$724,111.63 for work certificate no.76 for the Kumasi City Roads Rehabilitation Project. The payment was made to Deutsche Bank Account No. 71399000, Berline, Rouding Coe 12070300. the payment was effected by Hilda F. Djoleto. The former minister of finance, Kwame Peprah was said to have written a letter to Limex Bau confirming the duplicate payment and requested that subsequent certificates be used to offset the payment, but his request was not heeded.
According to the findings made by the auditing firm, initially, there was a barter agreement between the then East German Government and the Republic of Ghana. In the Agreement, Ghana would supply coco beans to GDR in return for construction services. This began in 1985 and continued until 1996. Limex Bau was contracted by the GDR to perform their part of the contract. The report intimated that when the first phase of the contract was completed, there was still additional work to be done – which were treated as variation orders. The variation orders were outside the barter agreement. It stated also that one Baba Kamara, was the agent of Limex Bau and represented the company at the time of the transaction.
A source close to the ministry of finance and economic planning intimated that as the company had been taken over by one Kojo Botsio Aduhene, a nephew of Mr. Ato Ahwoi, it (company) accepted liability and offered to repay though deductions of its Interim Payments Certificates for projects if would be executing on behalf of government. The source maintained that the ministry agreed to that request and wrote to the ministry of roads and highways informing it of the arrangement. But three years on, the company has reneged on its obligations to honour its side of the bargain.
According to the audit report, Limex Bau was paid twice for certificate No.76. The officials involved caused the state a loss of US$724,111.63 in 1993. the value of the loss was at ht time of the report (2001) estimated at US$1,340,329 (calculated at 8% interest per annum) The cedi equivalent at the prevailing exchange rate was therefore around ¢9.5milion.
Limex Bau was to refund the amount of US$1,340,329 and Baba Kamara, who represented the company at the time of the transfer, should be held.