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Minority Raise Red Flag: ‘No value-for-money audit’ in $2bn Sinohydro project

Hon. Governs Kwame Agboza

The Minority caucus in parliament have expressed fear, Ghanaians could be shortchanged if government proceeds with a $2bn Sinohydro project without value for money assessment.

The Minority also raised red flag that, there was no written legal opinion on the project by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice on the sinohydro project agreement,to provide economic and social infrastructure for the country.

Hon Governs Kwame Agbodza, Ranking on Roads and Transport, raised the issue of value for money’s on the project, after the Defence and Interior Committee Report was presented to parliament of US100 million in respect of the execution and completion of the Military Housing projects for the Ministry of Defence.

The money is part of a $2bn Sinohydro project the government set to commission for a number of projects.

But Kwame Agboza pointed out that, the two documents are vital in nature backed by law and not just that the Minority wanted to push out.

The Sinhydro project is expected to be inaugurated Wednesday as the Akufo-Addo government unveils its signature infrastructure plan at the expenses of Chinese.

Per the agreement, Ghana must within the next three years have a bauxite processing factory up and running and used to process raw material as payment for the red dragon’s investment.

The agreements were sealed after Presidents Nana Addo Akufo-Addo and Xi Jinping held bilateral talks in September 2018.

The House in December 2018 approved the first tranche of $646.6m which Sinohydro is expected to borrow to finance an important slew of projects.

The facility comes with a tenor of 15 years, a three-year grace period and a 12-year repayment period.
Sinhydro Corporation under the terms of the Master Project Support Agreement will finance and construct Accra and Kumasi inner city roads, Tamale interchange, Takoradi PTC roundabout interchange, and Adenta-Dodowa dual carriageway.

Others are the Sunyani and Cape Coast inner city roads, upgrading of selected roads in Ashanti and Western regions, rehabilitation of the Oda-Ofoase-Abirem road and Hohoe-Jasikan-Dodi Pepesu road.
Nonetheless, Kwame Agbodza said an “ordinary” road which costs $500m will go for $1.2m under the project. There are several “hyper-inflated” projects to be found in the agreement “fraught with so many irregularities.”

In his view, government is reneging on a promise to provide sceptical MPs, a value-for-money audit and a legal opinion from the government’s legal advisor, stating that, “It was approved on that condition.”

The Adaklu lawmaker added, up till date, these documents are “significantly missing”, and expressed shock that government would go ahead with the deal without sufficient accountability to Parliament.

“I don’t remember the last time this House approved a construction agreement without providing value for money,” Kwame Agbodza drew attention to what he observed as an unusual turn of events.

He however served notice to Sinohydro Corporation that, an NDC government could consider the contract null and void. “One day they will be called to account for having an invalid agreement with government, ” he stressed.

Hon Yaw Frimpong Addo, MP for Manso Adubia, explained that, while waiting for these documents to be supplied, government ought to go ahead with the construction.

He said the Minority and Ghanaians in general need to insist on these documents but it should not be at the expense of the project, stating, “All these things cannot be ready at the same time because the process is quite lengthy.”

”Time is off the essence…if you waste so much time on these other details, construction will suffer”, he said. Parliament is expected to rise on Friday for the Easter break.

Source: therepublicbewsonkune.com/Felix Nyaaba

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