The Ghanaian Minister of Roads and Highways has focused the investigative lenses of Bureau of National Investigation on some of his officials for alleged conflict of interest deals.
The engineers and architects in the ministry are said to have formed own companies with which they “bid for execution of contracts”.
The BNI launched the investigation into the matter sequel to reports made to it by the executives of the Road Contractors Association.
Roads and Highways Minister Inusah Fuseini who disclosed the probe at a management meeting of the Department of Urban Roads in Bolgatanga, said the officials concerned would be dealt with according to law, if found culpable.
“It is unethical and a conflict of interest for the officials to be directly involved in bidding and actual execution of works. This is completely unacceptable, if a public servant wants to be a contractor, he or she should resign and go into the private sector,” he said.
The Minister condemned numerous cost variations of contracts awarded, in some instances, as much as 45 per cent of the initial cost, which he said “resulted in huge cost overruns with serious implications on the already overheated budgets of roads and the Consolidated Fund.”
“Cost variation means that the officials did not do thorough work; such practices impugn on your credibility and allow third parties to think otherwise. The ministry expects that you will improve on your design and estimating capacities to ensure value for money on all your projects,” he admonished
He urged the professionals to think through their projects from concept to execution to reduce negative aspects of cost overruns, adding: “Your road portfolio should contain projects that can be adequately supervised over the period for effective results.”
Alhaji Fuseini said the monitoring and evaluation reports of the ministerial team had shown only a marginal improvement over the 2013 observations, saying, “The final quality on some maintenance projects still indicates poor workmanship”.
“A major contributory factor is from the poor supervision of works. Your staff in the regions are expected to exhibit a high sense of purpose and professionalism in ensuring that works are executed to contractual standards and specifications,” he said.