Kofi Job Construction Limited, the company in charge of asphalting the 8.2km road from Kenyase to Hwidiem road in the Ahafo Region has abandoned the road after taking full payment.
Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA), after a visit to Kenyase to assess the progress of work, found out that the contractor has moved all its equipment from the construction site to Kumasi in the Ashanti region where its office is located without any explanation to stakeholders.
JBA further learnt that all efforts to get the contractor to come back to site and complete the project has yielded no fruit.
The rehabilitation of the road, which is being sponsored by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited was initially estimated to cost of GHc71 million, but was re-evaluated to GHc95.4m due to Ghana’s economic meltdown in 2022. The revised amount was subsequently paid in full by the sponsor to ensure speedy completion of road to avoid further delays.
This single act by the contractor has angered the chiefs and members of the beneficiary communities who have even threatened a demonstration by the end of August if the Ministry of Roads and the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) does not compel the contractor to come back to site to complete the remaining road.
The acting President of Kenyase No.2 Traditional Council/Akwamuhehe of Kenyase No.2 Traditional Council, Nana Owusu Boadu Ayeboafo, in an interview expressed disappointed with the government and the Ministry of Roads and Highways for allowing the contractor to hold everyone to ransom.
He said they were informed that a committee will be set up to oversee the project but nothing happened when they inquired from the District Assembly, they were told to go the central government for feedback.
We don’t Kofi Job, it is Newmont and government that we know so we are calling on the government to compel it’s contractor to come back to site and complete the remainder of the road,” he emphasized.
He further stated that “We gathered that the work has seized because of inflation and more money is needed to ensure completion so we inquired from Newmont at the Social Responsibility Forum and we were told that all expenses had been paid,” he noted.
We were however unhappy that Newmont paid the full amount when work had not been completed,” he queried.
Nana Ayeboafo there urged the Ahafo Regional Minister to either facilitate the recovery of the monies meant for the construction of the road or see to it that it is completed without any further delays.
Regional Minister confirmed the payments at the forum and we told him that as the political head of the region, he should see to the recovery of the funds or completion of the road,” he stated.
Commenting on the impending demonstration, the chief noted that the youth have the right to demonstrate especially when other roads in the region which were also awarded to Kofi Job have also been abandoned.
He observed that both government and Newmont were at fault for not ensuring that the proper procedures were followed before disbursement of funds to the contractor.
This should never happen again. We are disappointed at both government and Newmont for this singular act. It was a wrong act by both parties,” he rebuked.
The Youth Leader for Kenyase No.1, Abdul Karim Yeboah, stated that the Youth Association consulted the the District Assembly, Newmont Officials and the Ahafo Regional Minister to find out the reason for the halt in construction and was informed that it was due to economic meltdown down in 2022.
As a result, he stated that the contractor had informed some stakeholders that the budget had been exhausted and could not proceed with the project.
He noted that the Association was briefed that Newmont had completed payment and had exceeded the Gh¢70.3 million earlier earmarked for the project to Gh¢95.4 million to the contractor and had still not returned to work.
The Youth Leader further said that during the Social Responsibility Forum, documents were presented to them to confirm that Newmont Ghana Ltd. had indeed made full payment. However, this did not sit well with them.
As lay men, the little we know about contracts is that we don’t give all funds to a contractor when the contractor hasn’t finished work and presented completion certificate. But Newmont’s response was that, it was because of agitation from members of the community and they wanted the contractor to expedite action in completing the project,” he noted”.
He stressed that the current nature of the road is affecting the community economically and health wise.
When asked if they have engaged the Contractor directly, Abdul Karim Yeboah said it is very difficult to meet the contractor since he does not live in the vicinity.
He hardly comes around, so we don’t even know where he is and we haven’t had the opportunity to speak to him” he said.
The Youth Leader disclosed that the Ahafo Kenyase Development Association (AKDA), together with relevant stakeholders, including the Youth Associations of the three towns, Civil Society Organisations and the general public will soon embark on a demonstration to ensure that the road is fixed.
A shop attendant at Hwidiem, Kofi Boakye, confirmed that for about six months now, he has not seen any construction works on the road.
He added that he was aware that Newmont has fully funded the road wondering why work has not been done.
What I don’t understand is that Newmont has fully paid for the completion of road but nothing is being done,” he lamented.
Another driver, Owusu Berchie lamented that the stretch has turned out to be a nightmare for the locals.
He added that last month he visited the hospital as a result of severe ear problem, only to find out that he had a lot of dust in his ears.
It’s causing financial loss as well as health issues to members of the communities” he cried.
When the team contacted the Project Engineer of Kofi Job Construction Limited, Kofi Kankam who was in charge of the road and he said as a company, they do not want to speak on the matter, but JBA show rather contact GHA for any information.
The road when completed would be critical in enhancing the socio-economic life of the people of the area, as well as improving operational efficiency of the mining firm.
Newmont Ghana Gold (NGGL) and the Ministry of Roads and Highways entered into a collaborative agreement for Ghc70.3m to fund construction of the road on 18 July 2022, with Kofi Job Construction Ltd as contractor, Ministry of Roads and Highways subsequently held the direct contract with Kofi Job.
Newmont fulfilled its obligations under the agreement with the MRH to provide funding towards the upgrading of the 82km road.
During 2022 with construction fully in progress, Ghana’s economic conditions worsened, and the Ghana Cedi depreciated against the US Dollar, prices of inputs escalated beyond the limit of the normal price adjustment mechanism contained in agreement between MRH and NGGA, in addition to all this, a concern was raised that the condition of the road was indeed worse than captured in the initial survey, NGGL again, wishing to ensure speedy completion of the Project met with Ministry or Roads and Highways to amend the original agreement to increase the NGGA contribution to the Ghana Cell equivalent of $9.1m. This amount represented the full and final contribution from Newmont for the road upgrade.
The amended amount approximates to more than $1m per km which in the view of the mining company should have been more than enough to complete the works under the amended agreement with MRH, NGGI has paid Kofijob Constructions Ghc95.4m ($9.1m) as per the agreement.
Per the MoU, Newmont Ghana Ltd was responsible for providing funding for the construction of the road, while government’s responsibility (through the Ghana Highway Authority) was to engage a qualified contractor to asphalt the road. GHA was also responsible for the verification of completion of work and when satisfied, instructs Newmont to pay the contractor.
However, following the re-evaluation of the project due to inflation and exchange rate challenges, and the undue delay in completing the road coupled with agitation from the residents of the beneficiary communities, GHA and Newmont agreed to pay the contractor in full to expedite early completion.
In actual fact, construction works began on the road in 2016 but was stalled for several reasons leaving it to deteriorate. The deplorable nature of the road was a deciding factor for Newmont to partner Government to asphalt the road.
Kofi Job Company Limited which started the construction works in 2016 is still the same company working on the road.
Newmont is also working on another 4km road spanning from Kenyasi 1& 2, Ntotroso, Wamihiso to Gydu.
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