Auditor-General angry over shoddy work on $350m electrification project

Auditor General’s report of 2014 reveals that the national electrification project which cost the taxpayers millions of dollars was executed with substandard poles and leaking transformers.

A nationwide audit by the Auditor General’s Department has revealed lots of shoddy work, poor project supervision, and underhand dealings in the execution of the project.

The rural electrification project has over the years been embroiled in controversies. Former Minister of Energy, Dr. Oteng Adjei was previously cited for appropriating one of the luxurious vehicles meant for project inspection in the earmarked communities.

On Monday, March 14, Parliament passed the commercial agreement for a separate contract which has been found to be overpriced to the tune of $9 million for rural electrification in the Eastern, Volta and the Northern regions due to be executed by China Hunan Construction Engineering Group.

However, the controversies surrounding the projects are intensifying at a time when the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is complaining of insufficient funds to upgrade its equipment and to ensure efficient reliable power supply to Ghanaians.

JOYNEWS has found out that the Auditor-General’s report has discovered that ECG gave out material loans to some of its associates to the tune of almost ¢4 million when the amount could have helped the nation’s energy supplier solve part of its challenges. The company is yet to redeem the loan given to its associates.

The report further states that in the Brong Ahafo Region specifically in the Kintampo North District, transformers mounted at Portor Kokomba, Alhassan Akura, Cheranda and Dawadawa No.1, had mineral oil leaking from them.

According to the Auditor-General, the leaking transformers could result in additional cost to the project in the area of repairs or replacement of equipment.

The report said recommendations were made to the consultants and the Ministry of Energy to closely supervise the various projects during the execution stages and to ensure the total completion of the projects.

The Auditor-General noted that contractors of the project told his outfit that the leaking transformers have been replaced since December 2013, however; further checks revealed the leaking transformers are still there.

The report said at Anokyekrom, the transformer mounted to transmit electricity were found to have been commissioned and energized yet service meters have not been provided to households though the community had been added to the list of completed projects submitted to the Auditor-General.

It was also discovered that statistics on projects in the rural electrification project are misleading especially in instances projects have not been completed yet classified as completed and vice versa.

At Sedorm, the report said ten low voltage (LV) poles were discovered to be poorly erected and found to be made of substandard poles posing a danger to community members in the event the poles collapse.

According to the Auditor’s report, the contractors of the project said they were not responsible for the substandard poles saying in line with the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP) policy, it is the responsibility of the beneficiary community to provide the Low Voltage poles.

They also said they discovered the Low Voltage poles provided by the community were substandard, and notified the Ministry of Energy which is in the process of replacing the poles.

Further, the report said projects at Kwaku Ansah in Ewutu Efutu Senya District were captured to be completed and listed in the 2012 financial year even though they have not been executed.

These are some of the many scandalous revelations detailed in the Auditor’s report every year, however, the Auditor-General, Richard Quartey, has expressed his displeasure in what he described as the failure of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to execute the recommendations of the report.

Speaking to Joy News’ Raymond Acquah, Mr Quartey said: “It is quite frustrating and it appears as if amounts of money invested in the work that we have done are going down the drain.”

He explained that after the Department submits the Auditor’s report to Parliament; PAC is expected to hold public hearings and later submit another report to the House for deliberations but said this is not done.

However, Member of Parliament for North Dayi, George Loh said PAC has no responsibility to implement the report adding Parliament is rather mandated to form another committee to ensure the implementation of the Auditor’s report.

He also remarked the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has taken on an additional duty to conduct post-hearing monitoring in a way to ensure that recommendations of the report are implemented.

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