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15.11.2004 General News

Ningo Bridge Contract Price Inflated!

By Palaver

Accra, Nov. 15, Palaver -- A major scandal invol-ving massive corruption in the contract for the completion of the Ningo Bridge over the Djange Lagoon in the Dangbe West District of the Greater Accra Region running into billions of cedis and large amounts of foreign exchange is brewing.

The Ningo Bridge spans the coastal route of the district, which is a favourite resort for tourists, and is also to be used to transport salt from the various salt mining companies operating along the coastal plain to the Tema Harbour for export.

Documents made available to 'Ghana Palaver show that the contract was awarded by the NDC Government to Messrs. Frandesco West Africa Limited (M/s FWAL Ltd) in the contract sum of ¢13,073,634,309.00 less provision for fluctuation of ¢2.000.000.00.

When the NPP Government came into power, it abrogated the contract as it did to all Frandesco's contracts for the company's owner's alleged support for and/or membership of the NDC.

In March 2002, M/s Frandesco Ltd wrote to the Chief Executive of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) to be allowed to continue with the project, which was almost completed.

According to Frandesco's estimates, a total of £122,000.00 and ¢331,339,772.00 was all that was required to complete the Project.

The Deputy Chief Executive (Development) of the GHA, Mr. S. Swanzy-Baffoe, reporting on the Project at the time of termination of M/s FWAL Ltd's contract stated that as far as physical progress was concerned, the Abutments were fully completed, the Piers were fully completed, the Deck Slab was 62% completed, the Precast Beams were 81% completed, and the Approach Slab was 50% completed.

According to him, at the time of termination, the total amount paid to M/s FWAL Ltd was ¢14,183,297,609.84, leaving an outstanding payment of ¢498,268,489.53.

Despite Frandesco's offer to complete the works (excluding the approach roads which the Company explained they had already mobilised for) at a total cost of only £122,000.00 and ¢331,339,772.00, the Deputy Chief Executive (Development) reported that using Frandesco's contract rates, the estimated cost of the outstanding works (consisting of Manufacturing of 8 Nos Precast Beams, Launching 12 Nos Precast Beams, Casting of 3 Nos. Deck Slabs, Construction of 1 No. Approach Slab, Construction of Kerbs and Balustrades, Construction of Pedestrian Walkways, Erection of Crash Barriers and Construction of Approach Roads) will amount to £1,381,254.00 plus ¢7,459,427,769.00, making a total cedi equivalent of ¢26,457,474,727.

The GHA has therefore gone ahead and re-awarded the contract to M/s Daewoo E&C Co. Ltd. in a contract sum of ¢8,118,363,072 plus US$1,341,000, making a total cedi equivalent of ¢20,052,525,522.00.

Road engineers that 'Ghana Palaver' has talked to however are emphatic that the GHA Deputy Chief Executive is hopelessly wrong and that something very fishy is going on or has gone on.

They argue that because M/s FWAL is already mobilised on the site, their costs are far less than a new contractor who is yet to mobilise to the scene. That is why they are able to quote the figures of £122,000.00 and ¢331,339,772.00 as their offer for the total outstanding works, which offer should have been considered.

For the Deputy Chief Executive of the GHA to ignore that offer, do his own calculations albeit he says based on M/s FWAL's contract rates, arrive at a figure of ¢26,457,474,727, which is then seen to be higher than the re-awarded contract amount of ¢20,052,525,522.40 to M/s Daewoo E&C Co. Ltd, which will enable the NPP Government and the GHA to argue that they are making a saving of over ¢16 billion is entirely fictional, the engineers argued.

"The difference is between the M/s Daewoo E&C Co. Ltd's contract award sum of ¢20,052,525,522.40 and M/s FWAL Co. Ltd's contract offer of ¢331,399,773.00 plus £122,000.00, and not between M/s Daewoo E&C Co. Ltd's contract sum of ¢20,052,525,522.40 and the GHA Deputy Chief Executive's arbitrarily calculated estimated contract sum of ¢26,457,474,727 that he alleges will be required by M/s FWAL Ltd to complete the Project.

We are looking at a difference of about ¢16 billion by which M/s Daewoo E&C Co. Ltd's contract has been inflated", one of the road engineers that 'Ghana Palaver' consulted calculated.

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