'No value-for-money audit' in $2bn Sinohydro project leaves NDC shocked

'No value-for-money audit' in $2bn Sinohydro project leaves NDC shocked
Source: Ghana|myjoyonline.com|edwin.appiah@myjoyonline.com
Date: 09-04-2019 Time: 02:04:16:pm
Section of NDC MPs

Ghanaians could be shortchanged if government proceeds with a $2bn Sinohydro project without financial assessment of whether it offers value for money, the opposition in Parliament has said.

And there is also no written legal opinion on the project expected to provide social infrastructure, National Democratic Congress MP for Adaklu constituency in the Volta region has pointed out.

The MP, Kwame Agbodza, who is Minority spokesperson on Roads and Transport is leading the NDC in reminding government, the two documents are required by law.

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Photo:Governs Kwame Agbodza

Government is set to commission a $2bn Sinohydro project which the NDC says is without any value for money audit.

The Minority MPs also say there is no legal opinion from the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice covering the project. And these two documents are demanded not by the Minority but by law, Kwame Agbodza pointed out.

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

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.

MPs bickered over the project, which received Parliamentary approval in an NPP-controlled House last July.

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Photo: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.

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.

But the Minority spokesperson has branded the expected road construction as “the most expensive in Ghana”.

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,” he claimed.

He said 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. ‘It was approved on that condition’, the Adaklu MP said.

But to date, these documents are “significantly missing”, the MP 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.

The Minority spokesperson for Roads and Transport warned Sinohydro Corporation, 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 told JoyNews’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo.

Former chairman of Government Assurances Committee and NPP MP for Manso Adubia conceded the two documents have not been provided. “It would seem that something untoward is being done and therefore people will be a bit apprehensive”, he told the reporter.

But he explained while waiting for these documents to be supplied, government ought to go ahead with the construction.  The NPP MP said while Ghanaians “need to insist” on these documents “but it should not be at the expense of the project”.

“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.

Vice-president Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who has been leading the Sinohydro deal he called “innovative”, “out-of-the-box thinking,” is expected to cut the sod for construction works as scheduled to begin by the first quarter of 2019.