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22.08.2005 General News

¢87bn GT contract deal

By Chronicle

MINISTER CONFIRMS BNI REPORT ... Workers call for dissolution of Board Takoradi, Aug 22, Chronicle -- The deputy Western Regional Minister, Madam Sophia Horner, has confirmed in a telephone interview with The Chronicle last week that the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), conducted investigations into the ¢87 billion contract deal at the Ghana Telecom and came out with some recommendations.

According to her, following series of complaints lodged with the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) by some workers of the company about the award of the contract, which they claimed did not go through a tender process, the RCC tasked the BNI to conduct thorough investigations into it and submit their report to them.

She said as directed, the BNI also conducted the investigation and came out with some findings and recommendations.

Horner Sam further told The Chronicle that when the BNI report was finally submitted to the RCC, they also forwarded it to the sector ministry in Accra for action to be taken on it where necessary.

The deputy regional minister could however not recollect what was contained in the BNI report since she had been handling a number of documents.

When asked why the RCC failed to implement the recommendations in the report after they had tasked the BNI to conduct investigation into the deal, Horner-sam said Ghana Telecom was under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Communications, hence their decision to send the report to them instead of the RCC taking action on it.

The Chronicle, about three weeks ago, carried a report about the award of an ¢87 billion contract to one Jefrey Amponsa of Byes and Ways in Kumasi to chemically treat 230,000 telegraphic poles for Ghana Telecom.

The award of the contract did not go on tender, due to the alleged interest some of the board members, especially the chairman, Nana Antwi Bosiako, had in the deal.

The award of the contract came as a surprise to most of the workers of GT since the company had its own treatment plant in Takoradi that could have handled the job at far cheaper price than what was charged by Byes and Ways, led by Mr. Jefrey Amponsa of Kumasi.

Though the BNI, which investigated the alleged deal, recommended that the whole contract be reviewed after accusing some members of the GT board, particularly the chairman, Nana Antwi Bosiako, of clear conflict of interest in the award of the contract, nothing was done about it by the ministry of communications, which it has now been confirmed, did receive a copy of the BNI report.

The BNI recommendation for the review of the contract was based on the fact that GT board and management visited the Byes and Ways treatment plant based at Ntensere, near Kumasi, to inspect its facilities but failed to visit theirs at Takoradi before awarding the contract to Mr. Jefrey Amponsah.

The GT Board and Management, in arriving at the decision, claimed their treatment plant at Takoradi had low capacity but the BNI report clearly revealed that the Takoradi plant could still have handled the treatment of the telegraphic poles within the two-year contract period.

Meanwhile, a section of the Ghana Telecom workers has called on President Kufuor to immediately dissolve the board of the company and call immediate investigations into the allegation that some of the board members had personal interest in the whole deal.

The workers, who spoke to The Chronicle on condition of anonymity, said if the treatment had been handled by their own treatment plant at Takoradi, a lot of money would have been saved for the company, but now they WEre going to dole out ¢87 billion to a company that had also won the bid to supply some of the same telegraphic poles it was going to treat.

In a related development, Madam Sophia Horner-Sam has denied any involvement in the setting up of the Individual Development Organization (IDO), said to have taken various sums of money from students of Takoradi Polytechnic, promising to pay 50% interest within a month, which they had failed to do.

Reacting to a story carried by The Chronicle that she was the one who opened the branch of the IDO in Takoradi, which has since been closed down by the Bank of Ghana, Madam Horner-Sam elucidated that she was only approached by the organizers to open a youth programme and did not know that they were turning themselves into a bank that would illegally take money from the public.

“I did not know that this is what they were going to do. I don't think I would have gone there if I had known their intentions,” she said.

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