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25.04.2005 Business & Finance

Railnet asks Minister to come clean

By Chronicle
Railnet asks Minister to come clean

... cries foul over award of contract to Holdtrade UK Accra, April 25, Chronicle -- The chairman of Railnet, the company that won the bid to rehabilitate and manage the country's railway sector, Bruce Annor, has asked the minister of Harbors and Railways, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi to come out clean and tell the Ghanaian public if the existing railway engineers employed by the Ghana Railways company limited are not capable of rehabilitating rail tracks from Twifo-Kyebi to Dunkwa.

According to him, it is the onerous responsibility of the minister to tell the general public whether or not the engineers are competent enough to rehabilitate the tracks for safe haulage of bauxite from Awaso to the Takoradi port in the western region.

He stated that the minister should, as a matter of urgency and in avoidance of further discrediting newspaper publications, also let the public know why the competent civil engineers of GCA cannot rehabilitate the tracks but have to engage the services of Holtrade UK.

He contended that while Holtrade, being a shareholder in the United Rail, the 'dead' company contests against Spoornet and Railnet to win the concession of the Ghana Railways, it would be wrong to award such a contract to Holdtrade while the other two companies are sidelined from the deal.

According to him, the three aspiring companies should be kept out of Ghana Railways' operations until one emerges winner of the concession, noting that the engagement of one of the three companies on Ghana Railways' project presupposes that there is a preferred company to lobby and cheat the other two companies.

This, he said, has the tendency to lead to a raw deal since a company would tend to be favoured, virtually neglecting the other.

It is learnt that Ghana Railways has engaged two contractors to take up the rehabilitation project with a loan of $2 million US dollars from the Ghana Bauxite Company Limited, with the companies being Holdtrade UK and ABATECH construction limited, Ghana.

Information has is that Abatech Ltd would operate from Twifo-Kyebi to Dunkwa, a 30.2 kilometers project while Holdtrade would operate from Dunkwa to Awaso, a 65.2 kilometer stretch project.

Ghana Railway's decision to rehabilitate the rail tracks from Twifo-Kyebi to Dunkwa and Dunkwa to Awaso is an indicator that the tracks would be brought up from its present weak state to a considerably good one to enable safe haulage of bauxite ore from Awaso to the Takoradi port.

With the rehabilitation exercise in the offing, it is believed that the rampant derailments being experienced would be reduced considerably.

Bruce Annor therefore sought to request that for the sake of a fair deal with all the three aspiring companies, Holdtrade should be exempted from the Ghana Railways track rehabilitation contract forthwith.

According to him, otherwise, any attempt to engage the services of Holdtrade would create the impression that there has been a raw and dubious deal. This, he said would in itself be tantamount to an illegality since the other companies would be given an unfair treatment in spite of the fact that the tax payers' money is to be used for the said project.

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