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GACC fights Gov’t over non-involvement of MMDAs in contracts signed from ‘Jubilee House’


Date: Thursday February 28, 2019, 11:37 pm


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A six unit classroom block without toilet & urinal
The Local Accountability Network of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Campaign Coalition (GACC) and some Assembly members in the Bono, Ahafo and Bono East Regions have raised serious concerns about the irresponsible manner Central Government and GETfund project contracts are being awarded without the involvement of the beneficiary district assemblies.

They described as highly unacceptable for the Central Government to sign contracts at the [Jubilee House] in the name of local assemblies without involving them to ensure effective monitoring, transparency and accountability. 

Speaking to a section of the media in Sunyani at a review meeting with assembly members on the outcome of monitoring of Government/GETfund projects in the Regions, the Secretary of the Local Accountability Network, Mr. Raphael Godlove Ahenu revealed how the various assemblies the team had visited expressed displeasure about the non-transparency in the award of contracts coming to the districts. 

He lamented that the monitoring exercise by the Local Accountability Network had also uncovered several Government projects funded with taxpayers money that have been poorly executed or abandoned of which the District Assemblies are unable to supervise or trace the contractors. 

“The situation is so serious in the sense that in some districts some of the contracts though awarded and monies paid to contractors, they don’t show up at all and the assemblies are not able to take any action. Another issue is that where contractors are executing projects below standards, the assemblies are not able to monitor, supervise or raise concerns because the contractors feel they are not answerable to them”.

The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC)/Local Accountability Network (LANet) is implementing the project dubbed “Strengthening Accountability and Transparency in the Utilization of Public Resources at the Local Level through Active Citizen Participation to Enhance Quality Service Delivery and Development”, which is a two-year project funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

The project seeks to increase transparency and accountability in local governance by supporting 12 citizens’ groups to hold their District Assemblies accountable for better development results in the implementation of their Medium-Term Plan, specifically the 2017 and 2019 Annual Action Plans.
 
Particularly, the project will build the capacity of 12 citizens groups to use appropriate social accountability tools such as community score cards and public expenditure tracking surveys in monitoring and tracking developmental projects and public funds in the implementation of selected Health and Education projects contained in the annual action plans of the district assemblies.

Mr. Raphael Ahenu cited several instances where contracts awarded from Accra by GETfund and Central Government such as health and education facilities have been executed without strict adherence to project specifications, and yet the beneficiary assemblies could not complain. 

“We are not against the Government or GETfund awarding contracts from Accra, but when those contracts are awarded at the blind side of the very people who are the direct beneficiaries like assemblies, chiefs, opinion leaders and community members we definitely have to condemn it. It becomes extremely difficult for the local assembly to monitor. This amounts to non-transparency, and defeats the laws of accountability and purpose of local governance”.

Mr. Ahenu also the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF) insisted that the Central Government in every single contract coming to the community, must involve the District Assemblies right from the beginning to enable them have an idea about the project specification, amount involved and date of completion among others. 

This he said would also empower the assemblies to exercise oversight responsibility to monitor the project effectively and hold the contractors accountable for any avoidable defects.  

He said the issue of awarding contracts at the seat of the President without the involvement of the District Assemblies is not peculiar to only this current Government but the previous Governments as well.

In Sunyani for instance, some modern six unit classroom blocks commissioned by the GETfund including one at the St. Ancelin Anglican Primary School are without urinal and toilet facilities and pupils would have to resort to open defecation within the school compound.

Another building, which was commissioned two weeks ago, Mr. Ahenu noted had already developed deep cracks, after it was approved by some Supervisors from Accra. 

“The same issues came up in almost every district we visited and the sad thing is that when the project is handed over to the assemblies and they identify any problem they are unable to call the contractors back to fix them because the Government did not involve them”. 

According to the Local Accountability Network Secretary, all the numerous projects including one district one factory, one village one dam, community toilet projects being implemented by the Ministry of Government Special Initiatives are also awarded from Accra without the involvement of the District Assemblies. 

“Some of the assemblies complained that Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) projects are also awarded without them and the contractors don’t even recognize them as key stakeholders”.

Source: WatchGhana.Com

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Author: WatchGhana.Com    Verified

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