$2m spent on $3bn Sky Train project but feasibility studies inconclusive – Auditor-General
Government is said to have spent some $2 million on the Sky Train project.
This, according to the Auditor-General, was executed through the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund’s acquisition of 10 ordinary shares in the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Ai Sky Train Consortium Holdings, valued at the said amount.
This monumental infrastructure announced by President Akufo-Addo had its plan drafted back in 2017.
But an assessment of GIIF’s risk management issues reveals that the policy is still in the draft stage The feasibility studies which will better inform the project economics and required approvals from the Cabinet of Ghana and the Parliament of Ghana are still not conclusive,” the Auditor-General said.
These were contained in the Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana for the year ended 31 December 2021.
In 2018, Africa Investor Holdings Limited incorporated a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in Mauritius to establish the Ghana Sky Train Limited to develop the Accra Sky Train Project through a Design, Build, Finance and Operate arrangements.
Already, the Minister for Railways Development, John Peter Amewu hinted that the incumbent government will not be able to provide Ghanaians sky trains as earlier indicated.
According to him, even in a few years to come, this project cannot be implemented because it requires a significant amount of capital and government does not have the fiscal space to absorb such a facility.
“It is not possible to be done now. I don’t see any sky train being done in the next 3 to 4 years. There is not going to be any sky train in the country. It is not possible,” he said in an interview in November 2021
Prior to Peter Amewu’s comments, Transport Minister Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, during the ministerial vetting process, indicated that processes are still ongoing for government to construct the sky train project as a means of transport in the country.
At his vetting on February 23, Mr Asiamah told the Appointments Committee chaired by Chairman Joseph Osei Owusu that his office together with Railways Ministry had engaged various prospective developers who had expressed interest in constructing the project.
But 2021 report by the Auditor General indicated that not much has been seen in terms of feasibility studies regarding the project.
The A-G said it has already advised the management of the Fund to take steps towards “finalisation and approval of the risk management policy by the Governing Board for implementation.”
The report subsequently urged management to “continue to monitor the feasibility of the investment in the SPV and make the necessary provisions based on the outcome of the feasibility studies.”
Meanwhile, despite receiving the money in February 2019, the SPV, Ai Sky Train Consortium Holdings, is yet to obtain a licence for “Aeromovel Technology’ required for the Sky Train project.
GIIF was found to not have certificates of ownership for the equity investments in three companies totalling ¢146.6 million.
“We advised Management to take steps to obtain the appropriate certificates for all its investments.”
In November 2019, government signed the concession agreement with South African firm Africa Investment (Al) at a cost of $3 billion.It was geared toward reducing traffic congestion in Accra with construction expected to commence in January 2020.
Pastor closes church after winning bet
After winning 100 million Ugandan Shillings from sports betting, a pastor in a local church in Uganda abandoned his church members by closing the church.
Explaining his motivation, the overjoyed pastor revealed that the lottery was a gift from God and a quick way to get him out of poverty, which he had been experiencing.
He also revealed that he established the church as a source of income rather than through anointing.
“I must admit I opened this church due to greed but not anointing. I saw how several pastors make money by having large crowds and making false prophecies to attract more,” he opened up.
He stated that running a church without a calling became extremely difficult, resulting in sleepless nights. Burdened with guilt, the pastor chose to close it and seek other sources of income.
“As time went on, I realized this was not right; I started having sleepless nights and I would always have weird dreams.
“Before I opened this church, everything was normal on my side. Even without money, I did not have any strange dreams. So I decided to abolish this and look for other ways of making money” he said.
The pastor stated that he tried his luck at gambling, putting a whopping Ush1 million on the line.
“I had to pay for these games and surprisingly it took me about a month to receive them. They told me they had issues with their system and the process of securing games takes time. I almost gave up and called them scammers but they contacted me with the details and wow! I went full swing and got odd of 700,” he said.
He stopped going to church after discovering that he made far more money gambling than he had ever made operating a church in his entire life.
The Energy Ministry has not been disconnected from the power grid – ECG
The Managing Director of Ghana’s Electricity Company, Samuel Dubik Mahama, has denied reports that the Ministry of Energy had been disconnected from the national grid due to unpaid bills for power supplied.
Mr Mahama hinted that reports of the Ministry’s disconnection are just a few of the innuendos thrown into the media sphere in an attempt to divert attention away from the power distribution company’s revenue mobilisation drive.
Mr Mahama revealed on Citi TV’s Point of View that government establishments owe 15% of the GH5.7 billion he hopes to recover within a month.
He emphatically disclosed that “The Ministry of Energy doesn’t owe us and the Ministry is exclusively on prepaid meters and that is the case with most of the MMDAs and state-owned enterprises.”
“We are not going to favour anybody and our main debtors are industry, they are not doing what they are supposed to do, and they are pretending not to know that they owe us,” Mr Mahama further lamented.
The power distribution company is currently on the ground, attempting to recover debts owed to it in order to improve its operations.
Mr Mahama also stated that the company is putting in place the necessary processes to digitalize power vending in order to increase revenue inflows and eliminate long lines at vending points.
“Hopefully, in the next month or two and with my digital process, queues will be a thing of the past because very soon consumers will be able to purchase ECG credit with their mobile devices with NFC connection.
“Very soon there will be no queues, and we are going to be customer-driven and even now postpaid customers are able to sit in the comfort of their homes to pay their electricity bill.”
Pantang Hospital employees put their lives in danger by living in a dilapidated structure
Several squatters and Pantang hospital employees are forced to occupy unfinished and dilapidated buildings at the risk of their lives.
The Ministry of Health declared the structures unsafe following a structural integrity test in 2021.
The structure was originally built to house hospital staff, but nursing students and other community members have turned the dilapidated and worn-out structure into their home, despite hospital management’s warnings to vacate the building.
A visit to Pantang on March 16, 2023, revealed that the structure was still in use despite its deplorable condition.
There were various types of cracks and leaks, exposed and rusted iron rods, and exposed wires.
All of the stairs connecting the ground floor to the other floors were completely destroyed. One of the stairs in the Okonkwo Building was made of rotten wood, and the structure was crooked, but the building’s occupants continued to use it unconcerned.
Delali Tomegah, an environmental officer with the Pantang hospital, said he was given the accommodation by the hospital when asked if he came to live in the building of his own free will.
“The walling of the hospital affected my accommodation, so the hospital authorities asked me to move into the building.”
He has lived in the building for two years and believes the structure is sound.
“The structure is very strong, but from the outside, it appears weak. It only appears to be old; with a little TLC, it will look brand new.”
A resident – name withheld – stated that, while she is terrified that the building will collapse, she has no choice.
“I am scared the building may collapse on us one day, but we have nowhere to go”.
Doris Attiogbe, a mother of two, told Citi News about her dangerous living conditions.
“The building soaks the water anytime it rains, I don’t know about the other tenants though. The cement component along the stairs has recently begun to fall off.”
She added that after 5 years in the building and numerous evacuation notices, she is now ready to leave.
Dr Frank Baning, the hospital’s Medical Director, denied that the hospital’s management had authorised their stay.
“I can tell you for a fact that none of them, at least not that I am aware of, will be able to show you that they were given a letter to go and live in such a structure, and I have been at the helm of affairs since 2016.”
He also stated that the hospital is situated on an earthquake fault line in Ghana.
“I am the one pushing for it to be demolished because I’m afraid that if you are not careful, one of these days it will collapse on staff and that’s been one of my fears. You know we fall within the fault lines. Anytime there is one of those earth tremors, we at the Pantang Hospital usually feel it here, so you can just imagine if the scale goes up a little what will happen to that building. So those are some of the fears, and we won’t ask staff to live in a place like that.”
Dr Baning went on to say that the fact that residents live in the building rent-free indicates that their stay was not approved by hospital management.
He added that they were unable to evict them as planned because the occupants had filed an appeal with the Ministry of Health.
“They petitioned my bosses, that is the mental health authority and the Ministry [of Health] so as far as I’m concerned, it’s been taken up by a higher institution than Pantang hospital and [it is] being dealt with. So I would say the best people to talk to would be the Ministry because they went to petition them”.
“The minister delegated the Deputy Minister of health to come here and resolve the issue, they all saw it and said no it must come down. The municipal assembly put together a team made of engineers and security people to come and take a look and the conclusion is that it should be pulled down.”
Mahama and three other NDC flagbearer candidates to be vetted next week
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