Drama unfolded at the last General Meeting of the Ahanta West District Assembly in the Western Region recently, when the elected members asked the Presiding Member (PM), Mr. Okumi-Andoh, to explain the terms of the contract entered into with a waste management company, Zoomlion, to sweep and evacuate waste generated in the district.
The question, which stood in the name of the Elected Assembly Member for Aboade Fasin Electoral Area, Ebenezer Essien, became necessary, because workers of Zoomlion had laid down their tools and refused to work, because their salaries had not been paid for over eight months.
As a result of strike by the workers of Zoomlion, refuse has piled up in towns and villages in the district, even though the waste management company had been paid through deduction at source of the district’s share of the Common Fund in Accra.
To avoid the emergence of cholera in the district as a result of the insanitary environment, the poor district has now been compelled ‘cough up’ GH¢25,000 from its internally generated funds to evacuate waste that has piled up in the district capital, Agona Nkwanta, and some of its villages at the time the contract sum for Zoomlion to do the work had already been deducted in Accra.
Mr. Okumi-Andoh, the PM, told the agitated assembly members that he did not know anything about the contract, and subsequently directed the District Environmental Officer to answer the question.
The Environmental Officer, Mr. Owusu Sekyere, could also not answer the question. He honestly told the meeting that he did not know the terms of the contract between the Assembly and Zoomlion Company, because he was not a party to the signing.
The Assembly Member for the Apowa Electoral Area, Nicholas Nyanko, told this reporter in an interview that for the past months, workers of Zoomlion Company, who sweep, evacuate waste, and spray disinfectant, had all laid down their tools in protest over salary arrears.
He said for the past eight months, none of the workers of the Zoomlion Company in the district had received any salary. This development, according to the Assembly Member, had led to the piling up of waste in the district.
He mentioned, for instance, Agona-Nkwanta, Apowa, Beahu amongst other electoral areas, where refuse had piled up.
Assembly Member Nyanko told The Chronicle that it was as a result of the failure of the waste management company to collect the refuse in the aforementioned areas that compelled them (assembly members) to find out the terms of the contract between the Assembly and the Zoomlion Company, in order to advise the assembly, either to abrogate it, or not.
He argued that they (assembly members) could not sit down unconcerned for Zoomlion Company to be paid for services it had not rendered. “How can we pay you, and you are not rendering the services?” he asked.
The District Environmental Officer, Owusu-Sekyere, confirmed to The Chronicle that the assembly had spent GH¢25,000 on waste management.
He, however, explained that the money was spent in areas where the maintenance and evacuation of refuse was under the direct care of the assembly.
The Public Relations unit of Zoomlion told the editorial team in Accra that it was not aware of the story, and pleaded for time to investigate and get back to the paper.
When no response came after three days, a follow up text message was sent to the unit reminding them that The Chronicle was still waiting for their response, but they did not bother this time to respond.
As the time of going to press yesterday (Monday), the text message, which was sent last week Friday, had still not been responded to by the PR unit.
Source: The Chronicle
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