By Adu Koranteng
The Minority in parliament has revealed that it does not believe the government has conducted a value for money audit on the $2 billion Sinohydro deal, insisting for a report on it to be published if it has been done.
The Sinohydro deal, an agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Sinohydro Group Limited of China, will provide the infrastructure of the government’s choice in exchange for Ghana’s refined bauxite.
Some of the projects are the construction of roads, bridges, interchanges, hospitals, public housing, among other projects.
On Tuesday, the Minority called on the government to suspend the commissioning of the project and provide a legal opinion from the Attorney-General as well as a value for money audit.
But the request has been ignored. The project has been commissioned by the President, in the Northern regional capital, Tamale.
The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, rubbished the Minority’s request describing it as uncalled for and falsehood.
Addressing journalists at a press conference he said: “value for money is not a prerequisite for Parliamentary approval; it has never been the case. What Parliament considers are the financial terms and the technical specifications are also made available to the sector-specific committee.
“There are times when Parliament will say go ahead with this but share with us the value for money eventually when it is done. There is a value for money audit report that has been prepared by the Ghana Institute of Surveyors which spells out the various areas of potential risks and gives a specification for it,” he added.
Mr Oppong-Nkrumah while responding to the Minority, added that it was not standard practice that the Attorney-General has to furnish written opinion to Parliament anytime it is considering an agreement of such nature.
The Minister expressed surprise at the Roads and Transport Committee in Parliament for not requesting for the document from the government.
He stated: “if indeed there was the need for it by the Committee, I would have expected that they would have requested the Attorney-General to make that opinion available.”
The Minority’s spokesperson on the Committee, Kwame Agbodza said if the documents were available, then the government should publish it.
“This is a desperate attempt by the government to muddy the waters by saying ‘we have it’. Let them publish all of them and tell us who the lead consultant was.”
According to him, the government said it did not have the documents when the Committee demanded it before the deal was passed by Parliament.