The argument between the Ghana Railways Company Limited (GRC) and Ghana Manganese Company (GMC) got heated as the former refuted claims by the mining company that it paid $10 million to government in 2017, for the rehabilitation of the Western Rail Line.
The GRC, however, revealed that the GMC must show how $5.1 million, which was part of the contract, was spent.
“We want to state categorically that the Chief Operations Officer of GMC has been part of the rehabilitation committee, and so we find it mischievous for him to have made such a misguided statement that that GMC had paid $10million to GRC, and yet has not seen any results. The statement does not support the facts,” the deputy managing director of GRC in charge of Engineering, Dr Michael Anyetei told journalist at a news conference at the Takoradi Harbour on Thursday.
Giving the background to the story, he said, on August 23, 2017, the GRC, Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA), China Manganese Limited, Consolidate Minerals Limited and the GMC signed a $10 million agreement for the rehabilitation of the Western Rail Line, which had suffered years of decline.
The situation, he added, also affected the operations and revenue base of the GRCL.
Dr Anyetei said the component of the project included $4.55 million for the employee fund, 350,000 dollars for the operation fund and $5.1 million for the rehabilitation fund, and conceded that “the employee and the rehabilitation funds have been disbursed to GRCL.”
He said, as the project progressed, the GRC was not satisfied with the work of Holdtrade, the contractor, and, therefore, abrogated the contract.
He said, “GMC never gave any money to the Ministry of Railway Development as stated by the Chief Operations Officer. The GMC should rather account for the $5.1 million and not the GRCL.”
According to the Deputy MD of GRCL, with 300 workers, the company with support from government, took over the rehabilitation works in January, this year, and had so far, replaced 35,000 units of sleepers and 5,000 ballast materials along the corridor, adding that a test run by a passenger train from Tarkwa to Takoradi was successful.
In all of this, Dr Anyetei indicated that GH¢30 million has been spent, and added that “the rehabilitation work is about 85 per cent complete. Indeed, we believe that the money has been a good investment.”
The Managing Director of GRCL, John Essel, explained that the employee fund was necessary to ensure that workers were paid, while they worked on the project.
“We realised that during rehabilitation, revenue will go down, but, we also need to pay workers for them to be happy. The fact that you’re doing rehabilitation works does not mean you don’t pay workers’ salaries. The $5.1 million did not come to us,” he argued.
It will be recalled that recently, the Chief Operating Officer of the Ghana Manganese Company, Benjamin Atsu Quashie, during a visit by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines to GMC sites, mentioned that the company had given $10 million to the government to revamp the Western Railway Corridor, but had not seen any evidence.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI HARBOUR