Former Roads and Highways Minister, Inusah Fuseini has dismissed claims that the Ministry he superintended overpaid some road contractors in excess of 25 million cedis in 2016.
The Tamale Central Member of Parliament (MP) said payments were made based on certificates raised by the Ministry’s engineers after assessing the work performed by the contractors.
“It cannot be that a contractor will be paid twice [because] the documents you will use to support payment are the same documents the people will rely upon [at the Finance Ministry],” he said.
Related Article: Debt owed 24 road contractors overpaid by ¢25m in 2016– Auditor-General report
Mr Fuseini was reacting to the Auditor General’s 2016 report which revealed some questionable transactions at the Roads Ministry, leading to an overpayment of some ¢25million.
The report showed that instead of ¢75,053,875.39 quoted to be the total debt owed some 24 companies as at December 31, 2016, the Chief Finance Director at the Ministry paid ¢100,679,315.28 prior to the end of 2016, representing an excess payment of GH¢25,625,439.89.
Each of the companies was found to have received more money than was due it for the various services they discharged to the state.
(a) Anastasia Company (GH) Limited was paid ¢1,840,545.48 instead of ¢853,069.41 for bitumen surfacing of the Gwollu-Jeffisi Feeder Road.
(b) G.S. International Developers GH Limited which rehabilitated some selected roads and Motorway was given ¢7,810,886.32 instead of the actual ¢2,619,495.60 debt owed it.
(c) Justmoh Construction Limited which provided an emergency Asphaltic overlay of some selected roads was owed ¢175,343.24 but was paid ¢21,572,095.68.
The Auditor-General has directed the Roads Ministry to initiate the process for the recovery of the overpayment after it rejected the claims.
But speaking on Joy FM’s Midday News Wednesday, Mr Fuseini said what may appear as an overpayment to the Auditor-General was interests paid on the debts owed the contractors.
“It is not overpayment. If you sign for execution of work and the contract stipulates when the payment must be done, if it is not paid the money accrues interests,” he said.
The Auditor-General may have an issue with the documentation at the Roads Ministry but the money paid was not an overpayment, he emphasised.
“Payment will not arrive or start and end at the Head Office of the High Roads Ministry [but] 90 days after execution [of work] you don’t expect that the contractor will receive the same amount,” he said.