Some interesting and hard facts have been unearthed on the much-talked Keta sea defence project.
With the incontrovertible facts, one person who has been vindicated is the Minister of Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh. He made a series of revelations that Ghanaians did not know.
The facts are:
- The first facility of the project was approved by Parliament in November 1996. Indeed, it is on record that President Rawlings at the time sat on a bulldozer to signify the commencement of the project in response to claims by the people of Keta that they had been neglected.
The contractor, Pentrexx was overpaid $3.9m. On 18th May, 1998, Joy FM report captured the state of abeyance of the project and indicated without any record of rebuttal that the 45 houses which the contractor alleged to have paid compensation to was false. This was two years after the pomp and pageantry by Rawlings on the project.
A committee was set up to investigate the circumstances leading to the misuse of the 1996 loan. When the contractor, Pentrexx appeared before the committee, there was an admission that the 1996 commencement ceremony was nothing but a mere ‘window dressing’ and was wholly propaganda at making the people believe President Rawlings had them at heart.
The parliamentary Hansard of 2nd March 1999 captured the then Minister for Works and Housing, Hon. IK Adjei Mensah in an answer to a question on the floor of parliament conceding to the financial malfeasance on the part of the contractor. Indeed, the minister indicated that his outfit had retrieved $1.5m and was in the process of retrieving another $2m.
On the back of the above, this is the squandering President John Agyekum Kufuor was referring to. The 1996 loan clearly was squandered.
- The next loan by the Rawlings administration for the Keta Sea Defence Project was contracted on July 30, 1999, and it was from the US Exim Bank. It was $92m. The first phase of the project thus started in the Rawlings administration. President Kufuor’s administration continued when the NDC lost power in 2000. It is on record that a large chunk of the project (the Keta side) was completed by the Kufuor administration in 2004. Indeed, President Kufuor had to use prudent economic management measures to get additional money to complete the first phase of the project at a time where it was difficult getting a loan facility to expedite the project.
Project activities completed by the Kufuor administration centered around the following:
- Stabilisation of shoreline
- Prevention of flooding from the Keta Lagoon.
- Prevention of inundation of communities by the sea.
- Land reclamation from the Keta lagoon for habitation and industrial purposes.
The project has since undergone various phases transcending the Kufuor regime and successive governments within the period continue to tackle the different nuances of the project.