As He Blows Over GHC1 Million On Renovation Works Aside GHC168, 500 Paid His Private Hotel for Food &Drinks
The Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Kwame Owusu, is back in the news less than a week after he was accused of blowing GH¢168, 500 on food and drinks, bought from his private hotel, Luxe Suite Hotel in Accra.
This time, documents from his office, indicates that Mr Kwame Owusu, renovated his official bungalow in an extravagant fashion raising eyebrows, after which he outrageously purchased and fixed as much as 11 Air-Conditioners on the two bedroom, and a Boys Quarters building which he had built in a record time.
The GMA spent over GH¢1 million on the renovation of the state bungalow, specifically GH¢1.077.655.1 on the building alone. This excludes, GH¢168, 500 on food and drinks, bought from his private hotel.
Documents available to The Herald put the cost of the 11 Air-Conditioners at GHc24, 650, 00. They were purchased from a company called St. John Technical and fixed to “the newly renovated official residence of the Director-General” for his luxury and comfort less than year into his appointment.
A November 8, 2017 memo signed by one Rhoda Atiah, had justified the purchase saying “Comparing the price quotation from St. Johns Technical’s Super Vision Ref and Air Condition Services, J.K Technical Services, St. Johns Techinicals, has the lowest quotations. I therefore suggest the purchases be made from them”.
It concluded that “all the invoices are attached for your perusal and approval, please.”
Indeed, the invoice from the St. John Technicals dated November 7, 2017 to the GMA, had mentioned that six 2.5 Horse Power NASCO air-conditioners at a unit price of GHC2,700 and a total cost of GH¢16,200.
Three pieces of the two horse power NASCO Air-Conditioners, were bought at a unit price of GH¢1,850 at a total cost of 5,550, while two one and half Air-conditioners, were purchased at GH¢1,450, were also bought at GH¢2,900 per unit prices for Mr Owusu’s official bungalow.
The memo from Rhoda Atiah, was sent to the Director-General for his immediate approval just a day after St. John Technicals invoice, suggesting those behind the extravagant purchase, had made up their mind they were going to buy the air-conditioners from this particular company.
According to documents obtained by the Authority, the two-bedroom bungalow, located atNo. 6-5 Circular Road Cantonments,was renovated with an amount of GHc176, 156. 76.
This paper cannot independently tell where in Mr Owusu’s official bungalow, all these air-conditions were fixed, whether they were fixed in the bedroom, kitchen, toilet, bathroom, boys quarters, security or where?
The Ministry of Works and Housing, allocated the building to Mr Owusu, but as usual with state officials, “The building requires renovation and expansion to suit the purpose”, a document sighted by The Herald said.
A September 4, 2017 memo in the possession of this paper, which gave details of the renovation work on the official bungalow for Mr Owusu’s comfort at a cost of GHC293, 594 to settle Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited, a company handpicked by the GMA for the work.
One other document, dated October 26, 2017 mentioned that the GHc481, 206.5 which came from Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited, was the lowest compared to Na-Asam Ltd, Mills Sarfo Company Ltd and an estimated value of GHC487,362.60 from the Public Works Department (PWD). This was for phase two of the project.
There was also a “phase three” of the renovation work captured in another document dated October 26, 2017, in which Mills Sarfo Company Limited, was awarded the contract to build the boy’s quarters at the cost of GHC278,204.00.
This means that all three companies namely; Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited to Na-Asam Ltd and Mills Sarfo Company Ltd handpicked by the GMA, at various times got contracts from the GMA to execute.
Indeed, documents upon documents authored by Director of Administration, Rhoda Atiah titled, “Renovation and expansion of building for D-G’s residence (No 6, 5TH circular road, Cantonments, Accra)”, give the Authority away for not subjecting the renovation contract to any serious competitive bidding.
A September 4, 2017, memo signed by the Director of Administration, Rhoda Atiah, had also disclosed that the Bills of Quantities were submitted to the PWD for estimate, adding “the PWD conducted an independent estimate for the cost of the renovation and extension and arrived at a total cost of GHc292, 647. 29”.
She said, “Comparing these quotations to the estimate from PWD, Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited, had the lowest price of Two Hundred and Ninety-Three Thousand Five request for 60 percent of the total amount (GHC176, 156. 76) to pay Kusi Appiah Global Ventures Limited as mobilization fees to start the work.”
The second phase of the renovation was awarded to Na-Asam Limited at the cost of GHC481,206.5, after it was handpicked together by the GMA, together with Mills Sarfo Company Limited and Kusi Appiah.
According to Madam Atiah, “The PWD conducted an independent estimation for the cost of the renovation and extension and arrived at a total cost of GHc 487, 362. 60. Comparing the quotations from the companies to the estimate from PWD, Na-Asam Ltd has the lowest cost of Four Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand Two Hundred and Six Ghana Cedis and Five Pesewas (GHc48, 206. 5).
We therefore request for 60percent of the total amount GH¢288, 723. 9) to pay Na-Asam Ltd as mobilization fees to start the work”.
The second phase involved the fixing of doors, kitchen cabinets, plumbing, electrical installations, painting and decoration.
Meanwhile, attempt by the Authority to deny allegation that Mr Owusu superintended the GHC145, 000 in meetings and end-of –year party by the Authority, has raised more questions than answers.
Last Friday when The Herald reported on the massive chop chop, a statement surfaced in the media purported to be coming from the Authority, denying that the Authority spent “GHc135, 125.00 covering food and drinks from Mr Owusu Luxe hotel.
The statement said early number mentioned was erroneous as the exact number was forty and not eight. The statement which was not signed did not convince the public.
Officially the Director General, has reacted saying the number of people was rather 17 and not eight as reported by the media, adding that the cost of food covered a series of meetings held by the authority.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Mr Owusu said the memo was deliberately leaked to the media for mischievous purposes.
“For the record…the person who stole the documents was only doing it for mischief purposes…any academician will know that it cannot be eight people…we are about 17 people, even eight people cannot form a quorum for us to have a meeting.”
Mr Owusu lamented that the information was put out for him to look bad in the eyes of the public.
Interestingly, Mr Owusu conveniently did not address the conflict of interest issue raised last week neither did he address the other leg of the leaked memos which indicated that another GHcGHc135, 125.00 was also spent for the 2017 end of year party.
He did not also provide names of the 17 people to clear any doubt from the minds of taxpayers.
The press conference comes a day after the Transport Ministry directed the Board of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) to investigate claims of financial malfeasance against the CEO of the authority, Mr. Kwame Owusu.
A statement signed by the Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, in parts read that “My attention has been drawn to a number of allegations against the Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr Kwame Owusu, which have gone viral on social media.
“As the sector Minister with oversight responsibility over the Ghana Maritime Authority, I wish to indicate that I have directed the Board of the Authority to investigate the allegations and report to me for necessary action.”
Perhaps, the Minister’s probe will have to extend to cover all the intriguing questions raised above, including the renovation and extension of his official residence that required nine air-conditions.