General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, appears to have bitten more than he could chew after issuing threats on former President John Agyekum Kufuor over the latter’s handling of projects relating to the construction of the Bui Dam.
The NDC General Secretary, popularly called General Mosquito, was badly exposed for transacting business with the Bui Power Project while serving as a Board member.
Asiedu-Nketia confirmed allegations that he was now a high-flying contractor who also supplied cement blocks to the Bui Power Project, of which he is a member of the Board of Directors.
The NDC boss however disagreed with suggestions that his relation with the project constituted a conflict of interest, insisting he was a supplier like others who supplied building materials for the project, which was started under the Kufuor administration with funding from the Chinese government.
He was compelled to reveal his business relations after Fred Oware raised red flags over a company purported to be owned by the NDC chieftain, which he said was the only block manufacturing company for the entire resettlement project.
He stated that “the higher prices charged by him (Asiedu-Nketiah) ultimately affect the project cost.”
Yesterday, Asiedu-Nketiah, former manager of the Seikwa-based Nkoranman Rural Bank, clashed with the leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) after he urged the power authority to invite the former President to answer for his stewardship regarding the project.
According to him, the former administration failed to leave behind any document that could help with the implementation process, especially regarding the Bui City Project.
Mosquito had, among others, alleged that the former President as Chairman of the Bui Power Authority, together with the Board and management, failed in the implementation of the hydro power project and particularly in the funding of the Bui City Development project – a claim former Chief Executive Officer of the Bui Power Authority (BPA) and current First Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Fred Oware, vehemently denied.
Asiedu-Nketia, a former teacher at Seikwa Presbyterian Middle School, alleged that no funds were made available either as part of the hydro funds or other financial arrangements initiated for the Bui City project.
He therefore suggested that President Kufuor should be made to appear before a body for questioning.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr. Oware said, “Such irresponsible statements can only come from one who does not read materials sent to him or if he plainly chooses to be mischievous.”
Mr Oware told journalists how a block manufacturing company owned by the NDC General Secretary had been single-handedly awarded a contract to supply blocks for the entire resettlement project, indicating that “subcontractors who make their own blocks risk their contracts being terminated”.
Mr. Oware dared General Mosquito to do his worst by, as it were, telling the whole country what wrong either he or President Kufuor did regarding the Bui project.
Though Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah admitted ownership of the said block manufacturing company in Kabrono which sells blocks to companies working on the Bui dam project, he denied that it was the only one supplying blocks to the project site saying there were about four others.
Prior to leaving office in May 2009, the former CEO of BPA said, they had made provisions for funding for the Bui City with $28million set aside, of which $5million goes into employers permanent facilities, $12million for irrigation structures and $11million for facilities for resettlement as contained in the Bui Hydroelectric, EPC/Turnkey project contract volume 1 schedule of payment, subsection scheduled no. 17 provisional sum.
Additionally, Mr. Oware indicated that “there was a sum of $12million under schedule no. 2 road and bridge works which was to be applied to road works within the proposed city”, noting with emphasis, “A copy of the business plan (on the planning and development of Bui City) was handed over to the new Chief Executive Officer as part of the materials I left behind.”
He could also not fathom why the current government had approached Parliament with a request for additional funding of $118million to complete the hydroelectric project and submitted that “as an EPC/Turnkey contract, any additional funding to complete the project should have been out of the question.”
At the time of leaving office, Mr. Oware claimed there were three passed certificates totalling over $97million which were unpaid, attracting penalties and therefore increasing the project cost, indicating that “the late payment has also led to delayed completion date.”
He said the current Board of Bui had appointed a number of subcontractors to undertake the resettlement housing with charges higher than the Chinese rates, in the name of enhancing local content, whilst the Chinese continue to supervise the resettlement project.
Furthermore, the new Board was said to be insisting that the Chinese should buy chippings/aggregates from a supplier based in Sunyani (over 60km) at a price likely to add a further $50million to the original project cost.
As it stands now, the former CEO of the BPA said the project would be completed in the year 2013 instead of 2012 with further cost implications.
Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah told DAILY GUIDE yesterday that since there were about four other companies operating there, everybody was free to sell blocks and that others even brought blocks from as far as Kumasi to the project site.
According to him, the system at the project site was a free market, noting that “because of their quality, my blocks are a little more expensive than the others. So those who want it, come to buy, those who cannot, buy from the other block manufacturers.”
But this time round, General Mosquito changed his tongue and said “I have my operations in Bungase and so those who want it come to buy.”
Source Daily Guide