Railways Development Minister, John Peter Amewu, is not happy with former President John Mahama for some comments he made regarding the controversial accident involving Ghana’s new train.

The test run failed after the train ran into a truck that had been parked on a part of the rail line at Abortia in the Volta Region.

Following the accident, the driver of the truck, Abel Dzidotor, has been jailed for six months after pleading guilty to three of the four charges against him, including inconsiderate driving and causing unlawful damage.

Four more persons have been also picked up by the police for their alleged roles in the accident.

The 2024 Presidential Candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, who took to social media platform X to comment on the accident, said, “How can you conduct a test run on a new railway line without a track inspection? How long had the vehicle been on the track before the test run? If I were President, I’ll be asking some serious questions,” John Mahama’s post stated.

Responding to Mr Mahama on Joy News PM Express on Monday, April 22, the Railways Development Minister said, “I totally disagree with his excellency John Dramani Mahama. I don’t blame him, this is not his field. These guys who did this test run are experts. These are 16 engineers who were brought from Poland. This is the 304th test they’ve conducted worldwide this year, I was told. And so I don’t know where his excellency John Mahama is coming from with this understanding that no inspection had been done.”

The Hohoe MP further explained that the inspection and the test run were handled by the Polish because that was part of the contract.

As I clearly explained, they put in a system for inspection. Earlier on in the morning, they went around the whole line to see that there was no obstacle. 30 minutes before the takeoff of this DMU, the rail track, and the maintenance track were put ahead. So what is he [John Mahama] saying? I don’t think he understood the question he was asking.”

He said Mr Mahama had the option to seek clarity for his stature in Ghanaian politics before joining the bandwagon of uninformed commentary on the incident.

“Did he [John Mahama] try to find out whether the inspection was done as a former president? He knows me well, he could just find out from me and they will tell him the truth. He has not established that fact and then he comes out with this kind of statement. His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, this is below the belt. I am sorry, I give you all the respect but I expect you to find out first. You’re not even an engineer. These are 16 qualified engineers brought from Poland.

According to him, per the contract, Ghana had not taken full ownership of the train at the time of the test run, although the country had full ownership and responsibility for the state of the tracks.

He said the cost of repairs would not be borne by Ghana. “There was no transfer of ownership. Which means the supplier was still responsible for the train. We’ll get ownership when the government has made the full payment which we haven’t done yet. So Ghana is not going to bear the cost of repairing the train involved in the accident during the test ride."

“The inspection and test run were not conducted by the Ghana government.”

He added that there is no radar system to monitor the track except for the manual system of checking to see if the line was safe before the train moved – something that was done.

"So, this manual system that his excellency is talking about was conducted, so I don’t know what he’s talking about. The inspection was conducted on the same day. The engineers informed us that the rail track was 30 minutes ahead of the train. So when the incident happened, where did the rail track come from? It came from kilometre 97 back to the scene, kilometre 76 or so to do the recovery because they were ahead about the 30-minute difference. It is just a coincidence or an accident that I cannot explain” he noted

Asked whether he suspected sabotage as some have suggested, Mr Amewu said he was not in the position to justify that.

“What I can say is that the motive of just parking along the rail is very uncultured and cannot be accepted in any modern civilization.

On how long the vehicle had been on the track before the test run as Mr Mahama had questioned, Mr Amewu said that was extremely difficult to determine under the circumstances.

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