Reveals 22 Suicide & Debt Shock Deaths Over Govt’s Refusal To Pay them
A frustrated road contractor, Akoa Kofi Owusu Akyaw, who couldn’t hold back his pain anymore, has taken to radio, describing President Akufo-Addo, as ‘a liar and a murderer’ due to what he terms as bad treatment of road contractors, saying government has refused to pay them various sums owed them.
He also accused the President of ‘killing’ about 22 Road Contractors, since assumption of office in 2017, adding that they died from mounting bank loans, shock and apprehension over unpaid road contracts they have executed for the country which the Akufo-Addo government, has refused to pay.
They engaged the intervention of Asantehene, Otumfour Osei Tutu II, to have the government pay them, but it didn’t work.
They got pastors, including Rev. Sam Korankye Ankrah of the Royal House Chapel International, praying and publicly using his pulpit to demand payment, but again, no fruit was realized. They also held a demonstration at the Road Ministry, that also did not
The highly incensed contractor, said some also committed suicide, as he explained why they packed their equipment from sites shortly after President Akufo-Addo’s tour of the Ashanti Region, last week where he visited some of the sites.
The Herald’s information was that Road Contractors, who had long left the sites over the refusal of government to pay them, were begged to return to work for what is perhaps a publicity stunt for President Akufo-Addo, designed to attract the attention of the public. They were promised payment after the President’s visit. But minutes after the tour, they packed out of the sites, leaving the roads more damaged.
Speaking on Otec FM Morning show programme dubbed,’ Nyansapo’ on Thursday October 10,2019, the Founder of Progressive Road Contractors Association, Akoa Kofi Owusu Akyaw, told the host Captain Koda, that most of the road contractors have lost confidence in the President due to his failure to pay them after continuous promises have proven futile.
President Akuffo-Addo, during the tour of the Ashanti Region, visited abandoned road projects at the airport roundabout, Tech-Ejisu Highway and Manso-Nkwanta.
Most of the residents in Kumasi, have accused both the contractors and the NPP government for the slow pace of road constructions and expected to see massive construction after the visit, not knowing that the contractors had not been paid.
But Mr Owusu Akyaw, insisted that the President and the Road Minister, Kwaku Amoako Atta, must be blamed for the challenges facing them, noting that the President claims to defend and protect the citizens, have been relegated to the background.
Asked why some of the contractors run to the roads during the visit of the President, Akoa Kofi Owusu, insisted,” Some of the contractors are hypocrites because they want to please the President unduly. Left with me alone I won’t do that. I have to let the President ply the roads himself to know its condition to inform him to release funds. Maybe some of them are paid secretly so they would do whatever to please them.”
Akoa Kofi Owusu Akyaw has, therefore, asked Asantehene to sack President Akufo- Addo from the region due to the unfortunate way the President has treated the people of the region, as far as poor road project was concerned, explaining that most of the road networks in the region were horrible undeserving of a region popularly referred to as NPP’s World Bank, adding that, the President should be ashamed of the road networks.
According to him, Manhyia, should not entertain the President, because he has been wicked to the people in the region, as far as road matters are concerned. Interestingly, most roads in Accra, are in similar state or worse than those of the Kumasi metropolis.
Mr Owusu Akyaw, however, pleaded to Otumfour to organize all the road contractors in the region to devise means to construct the roads, adding that, that would go a long to see massive improvements for the people.
He told the programme’s host, Captain Koda, that most of the road contractors, have lost confidence in the President, due to his failure to pay them after continuous promise have proven futile.
He severally called the President a “Rascal”, a “liar” and a “murderer”, and attempts by the host to get him withdraw the derogatory words proved futile. He many times, insisted he was not a politician.
He posited,” I expect Otumfour to drive Akufo-Addo from the region before he kills some of you. Mankyia can also organize all the road contractors to do it rather than to rely on the President who has nothing to offer you.”
The alarming situation, according to the founder of Progressive Contractors Association, is the result of “hunger” and “frustration”, following government’s inability to pay for works executed by the contractors, with some dating back to 2013.
He said, while some of the deceased contractors died of sheer hunger, others committed suicide out of frustration to avoid harassment by their creditors.
Contractors who have executed projects for the government in various sectors, have in recent times put up varying offensives to demand payment.
They have in recent times voiced out their frustrations over government’s refusal to pay them for work done.
In July, some road contractors in an unprecedented move, besieged the Ministry of Roads and Highways to demand immediate payment; it took the intervention of police to bring the marauding crowd under control.
It took the police to avert any unforeseen circumstance, preached for calmness, while protecting the main entrance of the ministry building.
The Ministry has, however, not been forthcoming with explanations on why it has taken so long to pay the hundreds of contractors.Some of them said they have lost hope in the government and have had cause to predict its return to opposition should the trend continues unabated.
The development has compelled surviving contractors who are owed by the Government in various sectors to take their demand for payment a notch further by petitioning the Asantehene, to intervene.
On Wednesday, August 14 at the Manhyia Palace, the contractors reportedly met Otumfour,Consequently, to pour out their frustration and getting him to beg the government but it appears that plea did not yield any result considering the hurried manner they collected their tool and equipment and drove away from the site while the President was leaving the sites.
Ahead of the August 14 meeting, a circular was circulated inviting “all contractors owed by the Government of Ghana”, entreats all contractors to “try to be at the meeting as it would serve as a viable platform and tool for the success of our struggle for the future of our business”.
According to Mr OwusuAchiaw, the posturing, utterances and general attitude of the appointees of this government are injurious to the chances of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to staying in power and insisted, that the posturing, utterances and general attitude of the appointees of this government are injurious to the chances of the NPP’s to stay in power.
But the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, hit back at the contractor, saying those who feel they are unable to independently source funds to complete government projects to forfeit them to their counterparts who may be willing to do so.
The minister in an interview on Kumasi-based Angel FM, condemned government for being indebted to contractors and charged it to by all means possible, find money to settle the age-old debts, but chastised contractors for using the situation as a yardstick to stifle government projects.
Last month, Rev. Sam Korankye Ankrah, also appealed to President Akufo-Addo, to pay the contractors in his church so that they can pay their tithe.
The man of God’s appeal to the President, follows calls by the Road Contractors Association of Ghana on the government to pay all arrears due its members.
Delivering his sermon on Sunday, September 16, 2019, Rev Korankye Ankrah, appealed to the President thus: “Mr. President, I have contractors and businessmen in my church, they must be paid for the work they have done so they can pay tithe and offerings so that we can go to Tamale Prisons, so we can go to Tamale University and hold crusades, so that we can preach the gospel so that we can help the poor, so that we can pay the school fees of the intelligent and the people who have graduated from the Free SHS who are now hanging, queueing, waiting for money to go to the university. Mr. President, please pay my contractors for me, I beg, pay them, pay them”.
Secretary to the Chartered Institute of Buildings (CIOB), Reginald Obeng, revealed that some of their members, have died due to the failure of the government to pay them.
The member of the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry, explained that the banks and other financial institutions that gave loans to their members for the works are chasing after them, and appealed to the Akufo-Addo government to pay the debt inherited from the Mahama administration.
Speaking on Accra100.5FM on Thursday, July 11, 2019, Mr Obeng said: “The properties of our members, including houses used as collateral, are being confiscated by the banks and the financial institutions and this situation is rendering them homeless. Some are also dying out of frustration.”
He added: “We need a roadmap as to how the government will pay us. We know this government inherited the situation but it has been three years and we expect them to act quickly and pay us.They told us they were doing audits of the projects because the contracts were awarded when there were no secure funds”.
“Some of the projects their members did for which we are not being paid include the E-blocks, CHPS compounds and roads in most of the districts across the country,” he added.
He further, said a meeting has been scheduled with the Finance Ministry to deal with the situation, but it is not clear if this meeting came on.