The minority in Parliament has demanded that the government of Ghana abrogate a $570 million contract with Portuguese company Mota Ingil for the expansion of the Accra-Tema motorway.
The minority MPs told the media at a press conference on Wednesday, 11 August 2021 that the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, sidestepped parliament in signing the agreement which will see to the expansion of the motorway into three lanes.
The minority spokesperson on Roads and Transport, Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza, said: “The process leading to the selection of the contractor is what we have always cautioned the government against”, adding: “If the government decides that the PPP process wouldn’t work, that they still needed a developer and Mota Ingil has failed and cannot raise the funds, Mota Ingil is an international company and falls directly under article 185”.
“The top five contractors in this country can do a good job as Mota Ingil can do but the minister says, ‘No, they can’t’. I feel very sad for the minister”, the Adaklu MP noted, adding: “So, we are calling on the government, this contract is illegitimate. Mota Ingil is touting this contract all over the world trying to raise funds. This contract is not binding on the government. The minister must come back to parliament or do an open competitive bidding or consider yourself as someone who has breached the law and it would catch up with you in the future.”
Earlier this year, the minority MPs on parliament’s Appointments Committee said in their report that Mr Amoako-Attah, the President’s Minister-designate of Roads and Highways at the time, “was unconvincing and opaque on the matter relating to US$570 million Accra-Tema road expansion project” when he appeared before them to be vetted.
“We note that the same project was valued at US$480 million in an earlier PPP arrangement”, the minority caucus said in its report.
Mr Amoako-Attah, who served in the same portfolio in the president’s first term, was, at the time, one of five ministers-designate whose nominations were suspended by the minority MPs.
The caucus, at the time, said: “He must clarify his role in signing the contract with Mota-Engil Engenharia & Construcao Africa without cabinet and parliamentary approvals”.
Mota-Engil has built up a large business in Africa.
A press release signed by Mr Amoako-Attah months ago, said the contract was signed on 16 December 2020, after receiving approval from the country’s Public Procurement Authority and the Central Tender Review Board.
The project will upgrade and extend the motorway between the capital, Accra, and the city of Tema, which hosts the country’s largest port.
The existing 19.5-km road will be reconstructed and expanded into a two-lane dual carriageway, with an extra lane added in urban areas.
A number of interchanges will also be modernised.
Work will take place over a period of 48 months.
The original road was completed in 1965 under the administration of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, and it was the first motorway in the country.
However, it was built with insufficient lighting, which has posed a challenge to the drivers that use it.
As part of the contract, Mota-Engil will add lighting to the road.
The company had previously headed a consortium of companies that was to have carried out the same work, as part of a public-private partnership, the first in Ghanaian history.