Three helicopters costing a hundred and fifty million dollars ($ 150 million) that were to be purchased for Ghana Gas Company cannot be traced, investigations have shown.
The three helicopters costing $ 50 million each, Dr Steve Manteaw of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee alleged are missing from Atuabo, the site of the Ghana Gas company.
“The three helicopters that were bought for $ 150 million are nowhere to be found at the site…I have asked about the helicopters but there are no answers forth coming…,” he said on Adom FM’s Morning Show, ‘Dwaso Nsem’ on Tuesday.
According to him, the leadership of Ghana Gas in Atuabo are surprised about the purchasing of the three (3) helicopters for the project as according to them, there is no helipad for the helicopters.
His revelation was corroborated by revelations from the Monitoring and Evaluation Minister, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei that four out of seven helicopters which were to be purchased for the project has broken down.
The four, he said were initially purchased at the cost of 100 million dollars for the project.
These four (4) helicopters, he said could have been bought for eight (8) million dollars each instead of the $ 25 million each spent on the purchase of the four.
“The four (4) could have just cost the nation $ 32 million and not $ 100 million, go to the Americas and we would get them for less instead of purchasing them at that expensive cost from China…,” he said.
Dr Anthony Akoto Osei who was at the time the Minority Spokesperson on Finance said Ghana acquired a loan from the Chinese Development Bank to purchase the helicopters.
Ironically, the four which were commissioned by President John Mahama in September 2015 have all broken down.
Additional loan facility, he said was sought from China to purchase the other three (3) helicopters for the project.
And these helicopters, Dr Steve Manteaw said cannot be traced and hence urged that persons who were mandated to ensure its procurement ought to be brought to book.
Cost of Ghana Gas Project and payment of taxes
The actual cost of the Ghana project which started in 2012, Dr Steve Manteaw said is still unknown as the $ 850 million which was initially earmarked for the project was increased.
The loan for the project, Monitoring and Evaluation Minister, Dr Anthony Akoto-Osei emphasized was not presented to Parliament despite his insistence and hence said he would demand of the Energy Minister to appear before Parliament and answer questions about the project.
“Fortunately, the main characters in the Ghana Gas Project are still around and we can call them to come and clarify issues for us…I will demand in Parliament that they come and clarify issues on the award of contracts and others…,” he added.
At the start of project, Dr Manteaw said he went to the offices of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in search of tax file of Cinopec but couldn’t be traced both in Accra and the Western Region.
Research, he said showed that the company was given tax concession by Ghana Gas; an action which was against the Constitution as Parliament is the only body that can waive tax for foreign companies.
Interestingly, it was in 2016 that the finance ministry brought the tax file demanding that Cinopec should be exempted from tax.
Diligence on his part, he said led to Ghana retrieving as much as 15 million Ghana cedis in tax from Cinopec Gas Company.