Oteng Adjei returns car

K.T Hammond addressing the pressDr. Joe Oteng Adjei, former Minister of
Energy, yesterday returned the Lexus LX570 vehicle in his possession to the ministry, following media bashing.

“I didn’t steal the vehicle”, he said.

The former Minister’s action followed the Auditor-General’s (A-G) recent report which cited him as having used part of monies meant for rural electrification projects, to purchase luxury vehicles.

Dr. Adjei told newsmen that some vehicles were purchased by the NDC government from a Contingency Fund under a loan secured from the US Exim Bank, to support electrification projects in the country.

He said the move followed the abrogation of the contract sum signed by the NPP government, which was considered to be over-bloated, noting that the country saved 46 million dollars from the re-negotiation, part of which was used to purchase the vehicles.

“The engineers explained to me that a Landcruiser in the US is equivalent to a Lexus, and Toyota Camry is also equivalent to Chrysler. I didn’t question them and I didn’t consider the vehicles as luxurious”, he stated.

Dr. Oteng Adjei said when he was appointed a minister, the Toyota Landcruiser given to him was later involved in an accident, and so he requested for one of the long distance Lexus vehicles which had then arrived in the country to use.

He said when he was later transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Science, he made arrangements to continue using the vehicle because his outfit was cash-trapped.

“I considered the Lexus vehicle as rugged, which could be used for long distance travels”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) Caucus in Parliament, has taken a swipe at the government for allowing the former minister to purchase three Chryslers and four Lexus Lx570s with monies meant for the extension of electricity to 1,200 communities, reports Yaw Kyei.

Dr. Oteng Adjei, was cited in the Auditor-General’s (A-G) recent report, to have used part of monies meant for an electricity extension project to purchase luxury cars.

Addressing the media in Parliament yesterday, the Minority Spokesperson on Energy, Kwabena Tahir Hammond, said the contract signed and approved by Parliament made no provision for the purchase of vehicles.

“Indeed, the first addendum signed on 21st August, 2009 by the Minister of Energy, Dr. Oteng Adjei, and incorporated into the contract made no provision for the purchase of vehicles. So how did the vehicles find their way into the contract provisions?”, he asked.

He alleged that the four Lexus vehicles were purchased by Dr. Adjei, against the rule of public service engagements, and accused him of appropriating one for his personal use, and was still using it though he is no longer in government.

Touching on the power challenges in the country, Mr. Hammond wondered why the government was still blaming the NPP government for the crisis, six years after the NPP had exited from power.

He said with the exception of the 2.5 megawatts solar installation in Navorongo in the Upper East Region, the government had not added a single megawatt of grid power.

“All of the 1,043 megawatts of the additional installed capacity the minister talked about and more, was either completely installed under the Kufuor administration or partially completed under the Kufuor’s NPP. All of them were initiated and started by the NPP government,” he said.

He said before the government took over from the NPP government, 885.5 megawatt had been added to the installed generating capacity.

“The NPP government of John Agyekum Kufuor was conscious of the critical role energy plays in the socio-economic development of any nation. It recognised that electric power was a crucial requirement for the achievement of our growth agenda,” he said.

The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, said the power challenges the government was facing was not a generation issue but rather, lack of funds to purchase crude oil to power the plants.

He said the plants need either gas or crude oil to power, but the government does not have money to purchase crude oil for the plants to run effectively.

During the NPP era, he said, prices of petroleum products were high but the then government was mindful of the critical role power played to the economy, and spent so much money to generate power for Ghanaians.

He said out of the $900 million dollars the government earned from the sale of 70 per cent of the shareholdings in the erstwhile Ghana Telecom to Vodafone, $500 million dollars was used to generate power.

By Times Reporter

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