Ghana Water Pipe Theft Report Out

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But Leaves Many Unanswered Questions

An investigative committee setup to look into publications by The Herald early January 2015, detailing the theft of some materials meant for water projects in parts of the Central Region infested with Guinea worm disease, has completed its work, but with lots of unanswered questions.

The committee, identified that some of the pipes indeed, cannot be accounted for.

The report interestingly noted contradictions in the accounts presented by various players, but failed to make definitive pronouncement on how the conflicting accounts should be treated. It also failed to recommend exoneration or punishment for the key architect, a former Central Regional Distribution Manager, Francis Lamptey.

The missing pipes, have been blamed on Francis Lamptey, who singlehandedly ordered for the collection of pipes, as has been identified in the report, 500 pieces of
4-inch and 250 pieces of 6-inch pipes, totaling millions of Ghana Cedis to an undisclosed destination.

The report, according to information, has been presented to the acting Managing Director (MD) of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Fred C. Lokko, who was
instructed at the time by the immediate past Water Resources Works and Housing Minister, Alhaji Collins Dauda, to establish the investigative team.

The Herald has also learnt that the management of Ghana Water, was yet to submit the report to the Ministry. It appears Alhaji Collins Dauda’s absence is the significant reason.

Additional reports coming from Fred C. Lokko’s office, suggest that plans are far advanced to elevate the ex-Central Regional Distribution Manager, Francis Lamptey, to a higher position in the company.

The committee, chaired by Daniel Muomaalah with three other members, including the secretary, Eric Owusu-Twumesi, had revealed interesting details, even though the committee was not clear in apportioning blame on, Mr. Lamptey in its conclusion.

The committee in finding the veracity of the issue, spoke to all the officials of the company involved in the matter, including the Regional Materials Manager, Anthony Donkor, Materials Assistant, Seth Appiah, Finance Officer, J.Y Appianti, Distribution Manager, Michael Botse-Baidoo, Contractor, Kweku Nkansah, Chief
Manager, Public Relations Officer,Michael Agyemang, and many others, who gave accounts of what they knew about the issue and where cross examinations were necessary, they were conducted.

In his submission, Mr. Lamptey admitted instructing for the collection of the materials from Enyan-Apaa and depositing them at the yard of the company’s Store in Cape Coast with strict instruction that, they should not be added to the company’s stock.

According to him, the action followed an inspection tour he went with the Regional Chief Manager, Emmanuel Ashia, in parts of the region, where they chanced upon the materials in the said village.

He continued that he was later informed by the district manager, Saltpond, Isaac Essilfie, that the 6-inch pipes were brought for the Enyan-Apaa project, instead of the 4-inch, and so they had become redundant.

He said, “The region had written several times to the Head Office for assistance to solve a longstanding problem of supply to the nurses’ flats at the Regional Hospital and so the Regional Chief Manager, Mr. Ashia, asked him to arrange for the collection of the pipes at Enyan-Apaa to be used for distribution reinforcements in the municipality.

Accordingly, Mr. Lamptey, said he instructed one Mintah, a driver to go to Mr. Essilfie, who would lead him to where the pipes were and cart them to Cape Coast.
But when the two gentlemen; Mr. Lamptey and Mr. Ashia were made to confront each other, they both stood by their various accounts, which they had told the committee.

“Whilst Mr. Ashia said he never knew about the collection of pipes from the site or their use under the North OLA and Regional Hospital, Mr. Lamptey on his part, insisted he asked for the pipes to be brought from site on the instructions of his boss, Mr. Ashia.

To make his point clearer, Mr. Lamptey, told the committee that the pipes were mentioned at management and operational meetings that, they are collected from Enyan-Apaa to execute the North OLA and Regional Hospital jobs, questioning why no pipes were ever purchased for the said works?

However, according to the committee, “a later examination of the minutes of the management and operational meetings over the period, containned no mention of the pipes brought from Enyan-Apaa”.

Again, a way-bill for 26 pipes issued on February 4, 2014 to support Mr. Lamptey’s claim that some of the alleged stolen pipes were used for repairs at North OLA in the region, later showed that the materials were rather taken from the operational stock of the region and not pipes from Enyan-Apaa, as he wanted the committee to believe.

The committee also established that indeed, the 4-inch and 6-inch pipes were brought to Enyan-Apaa by the GWCL Head Office Projects department for a link between Baifikrom and Enyan to boost water supply to the surrounding villages and the first phase of the project involving the laying of 4” inch pipes within the communities was completed leaving the second phase.

The project was part of a campaign promise by the late President John Evans Atta Mills to the communities during a tour of the region.

The second phase, which is yet to be started was to reinforce supply in the area by laying a 6-inch pipeline from Baifikrom Headworks to Enyan-Maim, where lack of potable water is said to be wrecking havoc.

Contrary to The Herald’s report that 500 pieces of 6-inch and 400 pieces of 4-inch pipes were sent to the project site at Enyan, the committee claims it found 250 6-inch pipes and 500 4-inch pipes were procured and delivered to the project site.

According to the committee findings, “no one could tell the quantity of the said pipes that was taken from Enyan-Apaa and the quantity that was delivered at the Regional yard”. Of all the people invited to speak to the issue, none of them was able to tell the total number of the materials collected from the village to the regional store yard.

The report showed the lack of proper security arrangement at the Central Regional offices of Ghana Water as it said apart from the two consignments of 15 and 80 pipes which were covered by waybills, the pipes were taken out of the regional yard without any documentation.

The committee was informed that the pipes used for the mains extensions at Regional Hospital and North OLA, were the ones brought from Enyan-Apaa while some were used for distribution repairs in the districts. But the committee’s conclusions, it said “the pipe routes measured including replacements and road crossings totaled 228 pipes and thus 20 lengths of pipes remain unaccounted for”.

Mr. Michael Agyeman, Chief Manager, Public Relations at the headquarters in Accra, who hurriedly issued a statement denying the publication at the time, told the committee he did so not knowing the facts, except that he needed to save the image of the company, especially so when they had no idea of the said pipes.

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