Investigative Desk Report
The NPP government is being requested to launch investigations into the doubtful payment of US$ 18 million to Euroget De- Invest by the Ministry of Finance over the construction of the nine Hospital projects across the country.
Sources within government have described the US$18 Million paid to Euroget De Invest as doubtful based on the fact that the entire project was a suppliers credit (turnkey) which required that any payment by the government of Ghana to the Investor, that’s Euroget De -Invest, be made only after the 9 hospitals have been fully constructed and equipped on the deadline of November 2012.
Interestingly, this huge sum was paid to Euroget De Invest when the project had not even started and at the blind side of the president at the time, John Evans Atta Mills.
Sources indicate that the President then, John Evans Atta Mills, got furious when he heard about the payment and was said to have ordered investigations into the deal but died shortly in 2012 and the investigation was halted.
Not satisfied with the US$18 million sum allegedly received from the Ministry of Finance, the Chief Executive of Euroget De Invest, Dr. Said Deraz is alleged to be pushing for additional money from the government of Ghana with 6% on insurance interest on the external funds which he promised to invest in the projects but never came. This amounts to US$20 million.
Meanwhile the Chairman/CEO of Euroget De-Invest Dr. Said Deraz is alleged to have obtained some documentations and justification from the Ministries of Finance and Health to support his claim for US$147 million as money allegedly spent on the project so far and for which he is requesting payment from government of Ghana. Interestingly, most of the projects are at a standstill.
Regrettably, the contractor is yet to lay a single block for the Madina and Adenta district hospital projects which form part of the 9 hospitals nine years after the project contract was signed. Besides, Work has stalled at the Salaga WA, Tepa, and Twifo Praso project sites.
When the investigative team visited the WA project site, the supervisor at the site who mentioned his name as Abdul confirmed that the project has stalled due to financial constraints. Workers were seen loitering around but no work was being done he said he has been instructed not to grant interview any media entity or allow anybody to take pictures at site. When the team visited the Tepa Project site in the Ashanti Region, the security man on duty, name withheld said Euroget has abandoned their side of the project. “The project has been partitioned. One is developed by Euroget and the other by the China State construction. What you can see here is the part being done by the China State Construction Firm. The one with Euroget has been abandoned. I am told that government is bringing in a new contractor to continue from where Euroget stopped.
Euroget De Invest,, an Egyptian company had a contract with the government of Ghana to design , build and equip nine new hospitals at the cost of US$519 million and insurance of US$612.42 million . None of the nine projects initiated in 2008, that’s nine years ago has been completed. Sources indicated that under the provision of the contract, the entire project should have been completed within three years of commencement’ that’s between 2008 and 2011.
Till date after many ceremonies, announcements, discussions and finger pointing, most of the projects have been abandoned half way.
However Euroget is alleged to have surreptitiously obtained about 18 million dollars for fees for arranging the financing and interest payments on monies they allege they spent on the project in to amount of US%147,923,000 (One Hundred and Forty Seven Thousand , Nine Hundred and twenty three thousand , which no one can comprehend nor reconcile. Nonetheless, the government of Ghana paid the US$18 million to them.
On 9th February 2012, Euroget De Invest wrote letters to the government demanding payment of interest amounting to Twenty Four million dollars. However there are substantial questions and inconsistencies in their claim stating that they spent US$78.8 million in a letter dated 4th April 2011. Interestingly, in another letter Dated 12 December 2011 Euroget changed the figure to US$147,923,000.
Our sources indicate that the claim by the Chairman of Euroget that he has insurance coverage for the political risk and non-honoring sovereign insurance , when he had none provides inconsistent and questionable data concerning the insurer of such policies. Yet the company has collected insurance premiums from the government of Ghana. “We are amazed at such demands since the projects are yet to be completed.
The stakeholders are therefore requesting the President , Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo , to use his good offices to cause an investigation to be conducted both in Ghana and Egypt into the circumstances under which Euroget De Invest s.a. received the sum of US18 million plus from the ministry of finance and how the money was utilized. This is based on the fact that Euroget has failed to perform under the specific provisions of their contracts with the government of Ghana.
In April 2008 EDI signed a memorandum of understanding with Ghana represented by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Defence to design, engineer, construct and equip nine hospitals with a total capacity of 1,310 beds.
The projects comprise one military hospital in Kumasi, one regional hospital in WA and another one in Kumasi and district hospitals for Salaga, Nsawkaw, Tepa, Konongo, Twifo Praso and Madina
Under the terms of the contract Euroget was obligated to obtain and provide financing in the amount of US$612.42 million being principal and insurance immediately upon the signing of the contracts in 2008 and immediately commence with the construction of all the nine hospitals which should have been completed and commissioned to the Republic of Ghana by not later than 2011 for the people of Ghana.
Stakeholders are also suggesting that no further payment be made to Euroget De- Invest until details of such expenditures are ascertained and sources made known to the President or the new government. They are also suggesting a possible withdrawal of all promissory notes given to Euroget in respect of the above mentioned projects and termination of all their contracts for nonperformance.
The Resident Civil Engineer of Euroget De Invest Ahmed , Abu Shama who conducted the Upper West Regional Minister , Mr Suleman Alhassan and his entourage around the new WA hospital project on Thursday was quoted by Ghana Television and Radio Ghana saying that the project has delayed due to financial and other challenges and said they needed funding from government to complete the project. He said the funds are needed to help purchase and fix the equipment’s and also engage in training of technicians and other workers. He promised that when funding is made available the WA project would be completed by the end of the year. Meanwhile government of Ghana is under no obligation to make any payment to Euroget De Invest until the entire nine hospital projects are completed across the country.
In a reaction, the Upper West Regional Minister, Suleman Alhassan urged the contractor to work faster and complete the facility within the next two to three months.
“We hope that you expedite action so that within the next two to three months the project will be completed and handed over to us. So the conflict here is that the regional minister wants the project to be completed within three months but the contractor says even with money the project would be completed by the end of the year”, he stated.
Meanwhile the terms of the agreement between Euroget and Government of Ghana are that the contractor would self-finance all the nine hospital projects before government does the repayment. Interestingly what is happening is that government is rather releasing money for the construction of the entire nine projects contrary to the terms of the agreement. Government is therefore being requested not to make any further payment until investigations are conducted and concluded on these hospital projects.
On Friday 27th April 2012, The Tide, a pro NDC newspaper carried a story on its front page with the title “EXPOSED. Scandal @ Finance Ministry. 19 million Dollars Embezzled. Ex –Govt Official implicated. The paper which supported the then governing National Democratic Congress was referring to this same issue of nine hospital projects and wanted a thorough investigations to be conducted on the issue,