Debt Owed 24 Road Contractors Overpaid By ¢25m In 2016– Auditor-General Report

The Auditor-General’s 2016 report has revealed grave questionable transactions at the Roads and Highway Ministry, leading to an overpayment in excess of over ¢25million to some contractors.

The report showed that instead of ¢75,053,875.39 quoted to be the total debt owed some 24 companies as at December 31, 2016, the Chief Finance Director at the Ministry paid ¢100,679,315.28 prior to the end of 2016, representing an excess payment of GH¢25,625,439.89.

In the report, each one of the companies were found to have received more money than was due them for the various services they discharged to the state.
The companies included:

(a) Anastasia Company (GH) Limited was paid ¢1,840,545.48 instead of ¢853,069.41 for bitumen surfacing of the Gwollu-Jeffisi feeder road.

(b) G.S. International Developers GH Limited which rehabilitated some selected roads and Motorway was given ¢7,810,886.32 instead of the actual ¢2,619,495.60 debt owed it.

(c) Justmoh Construction Limited which provided an emergency Asphaltic overlay of some selected roads was owed ¢175,343.24 but was paid ¢21,572,095.68.

Incensed by the revelation, the Auditor-General rejected the Road Ministry’s claims and directed it to initiate the process for the recovery of the overpayment.

Delving into details of the report on Corruption Watch on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, panelists questioned why the Controller and Accountant General Department looked on while public funds were grossly misappropriated.

"How did we allow the Chief Director's account to have so much money to the extent that it could pay as much as 100 million to contractors?" Finder newspaper Editor, Elvis Darko who broke the story asked show host Kojo Yankson.

The Editor was convinced the payment was a repetition of the infamous Woyome scandal involving the National Democratic Congress (NDC) businessman Alfred Woyome who was "wrongfully" paid GHS51.2million by the past administration for no work done.

But a lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr Justice Nyigmah Bawole has blamed the country's poor record keeping for the overpayment.

"Corruption is an enterprise [and] the enterprise is engaged in for profit and sometimes when it is even clear that these could be errors we want to look on," he said.

Dr Bawole stated proper contract administration is "completely missing" in Ghana's public sector, a development he believes is fueling corruption.

But he did not rule out the ambition of people who are bent on making huge monies off the state.

"Some people want to beat the system, they will want to take advantage of the system and if they know they can get [what they want], they will do it," he said, blaming systemic lapses for the overpayment.