Former Minister of Education, Youth and Sports in the Kufuor Administration, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo has made it clear that government never sourced funds from external entities in the CAN 2008 stadium rehabilitation and construction projects.
According to him, all the monies involved in the six stadia across the country, were taken from the consolidated fund. Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo was yesterday continuing his evidence before an Accra Financial Court in the case in which businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome is held for defrauding the state in the controversial GH¢51Million judgment debt paid to him.
Witness emphasized that the bid put in by M-Powapak for the contract, of which Mr. Woyome had an interest in, was not completed before it was terminated and, therefore, there was no offer made, let alone an acceptance.
Giving his evidence before the court presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam, the former Education, Youth and Sports minister noted that when tender bids were opened on July 4, 2005, eight companies applied out of which included M-Powapak Limited and the accused person, being a representative for Vameed Engineering.
Witness further noted that before the result of the bid could be communicated on April 5, 2005 by the Central Tender Committee, which con-currently approved of the tender, which had the support of both the Education and Sports ministry, Cabinet had rejected the decision and halted the tender processes citing high price quoting and therefore opted for sole sourcing.
Mr. Osafo Maafo told the court that Cabinet's decision, which was taken at a Special Emergency meeting held at Akosombo in the first week of April, 2005 and communicated its decision on April 3, 2005, way ahead of the decision of the Central Tender Committee, after he sent the issued before Cabinet to seek it approval.
The witness indicated that after Cabinet came out with its decision, he wrote a memorandum dated July 27, 2005, disagreeing with the decision and further cautioned that the relevant processes in accordance with the law should be taken before going sole sourcing.
It was therefore brought to the notice of the court that Cabinet went ahead and applied through the Ministry of Finance for sole sourcing, which was gazette through Parliament on December 16, 2005, paving the way for sole sourcing, which eventually save the country over $50,000.
Mr. Osafo Maafo explained that the sole sourcing comprised rehabilitation projects on the El-Wak, Ohene Djan and Baba Yara sports stadia and the construction of new projects at Tamale, Essipon and Cape Coast stadia, which was given to Shanghai Construction Engineers of China.
Witness also noted that after the approval of the new projects for the Chinese company, a delegation went to Shanghai with Fifa's Specifications and the total cost of the Essipon and Tamale stadia was fixed at $77million with government making a down payment of 25% of the total project value.
Government, Mr. Osafo Maafo indicated, paid an amount of $19.35million through Bank of Ghana from the consolidated funds and further agreed that all other payments would be done based on the work done, adding that a bank guarantee was then provided to meet the demand of government.
He, therefore, told the court that the final agreement was signed with the Chinese company on October 30, 2005, through Ghana's High Commissioner, Mr. Afari Donkor, adding that a committee set up to advise the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports called for local contractor to be used for the rehabilitation projects, under the sole sourcing venture opted by government.
Following from the advice from the Committee, government went for Michelleti Limited for the rehabilitation projects for the Ohene Djan and El-Wak Stadia, while that of the Baba Yara Sports Stadium was given to Consa Limited, witness told the court, adding that a Memoradum of Understanding (M.O.U.) was drawn between the two local construction companies, the Ministry and Waterville for the later to provide financial engineering to the construction companies.
Meanwhile, government attached some five conditions, including demanding the full payment of the contract value into the escrow accounts to be met by Waterville, in order for the contract to be effective, but Waterville could not meet the conditions, and the Attorney General wrote to terminate the contract, witness told the court.
Witness was of the view that government never signed any contract with any other body, adding that Waterville could not face the challenge and so the contract had to be terminated.
However, government sourced $50million through Parliament from Barclays Bank to finance the new projects to be constructed by the two local construction firms, emphasizing that nobody provided financial engineering services for the projects and no external bank was used in financing the project.
In cross-examination from Mr. Safo Buabeng, counsel for the accused person, Mr. Osafo Maafo, noted that he knew Woyome for years, and had travelled to Austria with him to re-assure the government of Austria for the continuity of hospital projects agreements between the two countries that started during the Rawlings Regime.
According to the witness, the accused person had an interest in those projects but denied that it amounted to financial engineering since it was an agreement between two governments.
Mr. Osafo Maafo further stressed that his memorandum to cabinet on their decision was his personal opinion, which was accepted by Cabinet by going through the necessary procurement procedures of the country. Sitting continues 0n July 23, this year.
Woyome is currently facing two charges of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state. He had pleaded not guilty to all the charges and he is currently on a GH¢20 million bail with three sureties.