A group calling itself concerned citizens of New Juaben in the Eastern Region are calling for a thorough investigation of the assembly by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).
In a statement signed by the convener Gideon Ampah, the 200 Ghana cedis paid by Melcom for the lease of property in the prime Koforidua area is not enough.
Below is the full statement
The New Juaben Municipal Assembly, Koforidua has become a den and a paradise for all forms and sorts of underhand dealing in which there is no respect for the fundamental and binding Rules, Regulations and Laws of Ghana.
In the last 5 years, the Assembly has been involved in 3 Major undertakings where the supreme interest of the inhabitants as well as the Assembly as a whole, was relegated back door, while individual interest was promoted.
All these three projects were supposed to be to the benefit of the entire citizenry within the Authority of the Municipal Assembly, an unconscionable agreement between Vorison Ventures and NJM Assembly as well as the Melcom Group and the Assembly.
It is our humble belief that the good people of New Juaben Municipality would be Short Change that which will not be the best in our Collective Interest, if these are Projects when allowed to stand, in the current form and appearance.
The Assembly’s Own Committee took the task to look into the matter and to make Recommendation to the Assembly, as the committee of enquiry did a good job, but could not proceed further to settle the dust surrounding the problem, therefore the need for EOCO.
We believe that, beyond the Assembly’s Own Fact-finding committee, which some key actors failed to appear before the committee, the state Agency responsible must remedy and punish any wrongdoers or we proceed to court for an order for renegotiation between Melcom and the Assembly as well as abrogate whatever contract that exist between the Assembly and Vorison link Ventures.
For the purpose of today’s media encounter, we would like to take the projects one after the other, with the need for An Economic Organized Crime Office investigation would be appropriately recommended.
BETOM TOILET FACILITY @ BETOM
The Management of the Municipal Assembly failed to adhere to the requirement and the provisions of the Public Procurement Act in the Award of the Building and Operate and Transfer which it intended to enter into an agreement with Vorison Link Ventures as the Project was never advertised as per the Assembly’s own records.
The Contractor (Vorison Link Ventures) moved to the Betom Toilet Site which the Contractor claims it was based on the verbal authorization (whether face to face or through a phone call, yet to be established).
This happened as at the time when the Municipal Assembly did not have any signed agreement or a signed contract with Vorison Link Ventures. The General Assembly, which is mandated to ratify such agreement was unaware of the purported authorization by the then Municipal Chief Executive.
Three years into the construction of the toilet facility, without a Bill of Quantity, and other relevant material documents necessary to determine the Proceeds on the Investment and the number of years required to operate with the aim of recouping on the investment, the Management of the Assembly forced Vorison Link Ventures into signing an unconscionable contract at the Blindside of the General Assembly.
CONTRACTUAL FAILURE AT THE BETOM TOILET FACILITY
Contained therein the purported contractual agreement between the Contractor and the Municipal Assembly were as follows;
1. Constructing from scratch or grounds, a new building with the purpose of housing a Twenty (20) seater Water Closet Sanitary Toilet
2. The Fraudulent Construction of a built store facility unreasonably located at the Toilet Facility Premises.
Vorison Link Ventures did not only fail to Construct a New Building from Foundation to house the toilet facility but demolished the existing facility.
In the cunning and an unholy attempt to Cheat and Short Change the Good People of New Juaben Municipality, the Contractor; Vorison Link Ventures rather refurbished a building which since the late 70s was abandoned contrary to building a new facility.
ECONOMIC LOSES TO THE MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY AT BETOM TOILET FACILITY
After agreeing to pay the Municipal Assembly, an unthinkable and an unimaginable
5% of its monthly net income, which is woefully inadequate, Vorison Link Ventures has, in the a years of its Operations failed to pay and is still yet to pay anything to the Municipal Assembly, according to the Assembly’s own records. Sadly, Not even 50 pesewas, to talk about 1 Ghana Cedi.
Meanwhile, this is a Municipal Assembly which is struggling to provide street lights along its Major and Minor streets.
SRODAE TOILET FACILITY @SRODAE
The Same Contractor, Vorison Links Venture deceitfully presented a multipurpose complex drawing to the Assembly for a piece of Land at Srodae to be developed.
The Municipal Chief Executive then, Dr Kwaku Acheampong unilaterally gave approval to the Contract to start work on the said piece of Land, without recourse to the Assembly’s own procedure in the award of a contract.
Three Years Later, the MCE forced them into signing a Contract or an agreement without consulting the General Assembly for ratification. The Contractor again failed to present the actual structural drawing of the project to be undertaken.
Vital Documents required determining financial proposal on the rate on the Return on the Investment was conspicuously missing as well as the bill of quantity for the project.
Verison Link Ventures went to the site, instead of starting a fresh from the foundation, to develop a structure for the 18 seater water closet facility, decided to develop an abandon weak and dilapidated 4-course structure which existed on the site. This structure which was to be demolished before the commencement of the New Project was abandoned by the previous contract who was engaged to develop the site.
The Good People of Srodae drew the attention of the Contractor to the fact that the 4 Course Foundation structure was not fit for its purpose, but all the calls fell on deaf ears, as the Contractor went ahead to construct on the weaker and dilapidated structure.
The Contractor violated the terms of the said agreement yet went ahead with the project. The Contractor who was supposed to additionally build a 20 unit Store Facility per the purported agreement failed to do so without giving any reason or whatsoever to the Assembly and has actually left the Srodae site, as we speak now.
It is a disgusting fact that the site has now ended up as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other reptiles. Recalcitrant members of the Community have also turned the site into their refuse dump
At this Juncture, we the Concerned Citizen of the New Juaben Municipality would want to ask the Management of the Municipal Assembly and bring to the attention of the General Public, what is that the Assembly sees with the Contractor; Varison Link Ventures, to go into this unconscionable agreement?!
What is the intent and the reason behind?!
Why have the Former MCEs acted unilaterally without respect to the Assembly’s own procedure?!
Why the Current MCE is after several months in office is relenting on calling the BNI and EOCO to Investigate these irregularities.
We the members of the Concerned Citizens of New Juaben are very Much disappointed in our ex officio Assembly members of the New Juaben Assembly. ie the Hon MP for Juaben South who has shown little or no interest of the Assembly. It is our humble belief that the MP could be had acted as a Check on MCEs in order not to excessively abuse its powers as the witness in the above instances.
Again, the Honorable Presiding Member cannot be exonerated of any blame or fault in his inability to detect and lead his August house, the General Assembly, during the commencement and the construction of the projects and demand a halt to the projects for a full disclosure and ratification of such projects at the floor of the general assembly in accordance with the Law.
These Projects were at a visible location under his nose at the New Juaben municipality, and unless, of course, he is not interested in the welfare of the very people whom he represents as an elected Hon Assembly Member.
THE MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY AND MELCOM GROUP LEASE AGREEMENT MALFEASANCE
The Proposed site for Construction of the Community Center for the New Juaben Tradition Council, which is Located adjacent the Apenteng Hall was Lease Under a rogue Agreement, to Melcom Group to Construct it multipurpose shopping needs investigation by the relevant state agency especially the EOCO or we take every step to abrogate the Contract in its current form and terms, due to its unconscionable nature. This would set the right tone and environment for a more reasonable contract or agreement to be entered into between the New Juaben Municipal Assembly and the Melcom Group.
This is necessitated by the fact the Former MCE who entered into agreement did not seek the ratification of the General Assembly as required under the Assembly’s Own procedure in law. The entire agreement can be said to have done at the blindside of the Assembly.
To start with, the Municipal Assembly did not have an exclusive land title over the land as at the time Melcom Group brought a Proposal for the land to develop into the multipurpose shopping center. Title to the land was acquired by the Assembly, as a result of the said lease agreement. On the 26th January 2017, while there was a new government in office without substantive Municipal Chief Executive, the Then Municipal Coordinating Director, Alhaji M A Azonko Purported to be acting under the yet to be appointed Municipal Chief Executive took a Loan to facilitate the acquisition of the land title to the proposed community center at the blindside of the General Assembly as well as the traditional Authority.
We believe that the act of the former Municipal Coordinating Director cannot be substituted for the Act of the Entire Assembly as there was no properly appointed Municipal Chief Executive and neither did he also informed the General Assembly and its Presiding Member nor the Traditional Authority who were the custodian of the said land. The Assembly did not have a single copy of sheet paper on a file for the purposes of the Lease agreement between the Municipal Assembly and the Melcom Group.
This means that the agreement was fraudulently entered by some elements at the Management level of the Municipal Assembly who did not leave behind copies of the lease agreement for future scrutiny and ratification of the General Assembly, thereby rendering the Lease Agreement null and void as the General Assembly was required to ratify such lease agreement before it could become binding.
ECONOMIC LOSES TO THE MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY UNDER THE LEASE AGREEMENT WITH MELCOM GROUP.
It is sad to observe that under the purported lease agreement between the Municipal Assembly and the Melcom Group, a charge of Two Hundred Ghana Cedis( GH c 200) annually as the grounds rents for such a prime location within the City Center. This annual grounds rent of 200 Ghana Cedis for such a prime location and a bigger space is inapplicable to the Assembly’s Own Current Fees resolution for such structure with an uncertain and an undetermined lease period.
Why would make these elements at the Management Level of the Municipal Assembly Lease such a land considering its location, intended purposes and its size for an annual rent of 200 Ghana Cedis and fail to leave behind any documents at the Assembly on the said agreement?!
Sadly, the Municipal Assembly is relying on the copies of the purported agreement which the leasee has in its possession to create its own files on the said lease agreement. This is the more reason, we believe, should require the Economic and Organized Crime Office to intervene and investigate the administration of the Municipal Assembly.
Even though the Municipal Assembly did not have absolute title and till today do not have the Absolute power over the piece of Land earmark for the Construction of the Community Center, Melcom Group is halfway through its Construction.
The Lease Period has become a bone of Contention as the Melcom Group claims to have a 49 Years lease duration while other documents also have 40 years as the lease period duration.
The Former Municipal Coordinating Director Alhaji M A Azonko, his Municipal Chief Executive Dr Kwaku Acheampong, Municipal Works Engineer, Environmental Officer, Municipal Planning Officer did not adhere to the due process and procedure required to legitimize such transaction by submitting the agreement to the General Assembly making the purported Agreement Null and Void to the extent of requiring ratification for such projects.
After the investigation by the EOCO, the Melcom Group should take every necessary steps to renegotiate a proper and a better Lease Agreement starting the number of years for lease period, agreed on by the General Assembly, with the Municipal Assembly since up till now the Municipal Assembly has not Transfer any lease documents to the Melcom Group.
After 21 working days, if no clear actions is taken on the above subject matter raised, the New Juabeng Municipal Assembly, Vorison Link Ventures as well as the Melcom Group should be prepared to meet us at the Koforidua High Court due to the unconscionable nature of the agreements entered into on behalf of the Municipal Assembly which cast a dark future over the citizens of the New Juabeng Municipal Assembly.