21 February 2013

Ghana: Minister Orders Probe Into Water Scandal

In the next five working days, officials of the Ghana Water Company would be explaining how the tax payers' money was used in importing about 6,000 bags of expired Aluminum Sulphate from China, for the treatment of water in the country.

Although insiders say the expired product might have already found its way into the country's water system, the water company says it had not used any of the expired products in the treatment of water.

Yesterday, the Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, inaugurated a five member committee to investigate the issue.

The committee is chaired by Mr. Albert A. Ogyiri of the Ghana Institute of Engineers. Other members include Mrs. Hawawu Salifu, a procurement specialist at the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr. Samuel Kwakye of the Food and Drugs Authority, and Mr. Frederick Addae of the Water Directorate of the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing (Secretary to the committee).

The Minister's directive come a day after it emerged that the company had taken delivery of the water treatment chemical, eight clear months after they had expired.

The supplier of the chemicals, Sanata Baron Ventures, has also denied ever supplying expired product to the water company.

The work of the committee is, however, to determine if the water company imported expired Aluminum Sulphate into the country, and the circumstances leading to the procurement.

Other terms of reference include establishing if any of the expired chemicals had been used for treating water, and if any state agency certified the chemicals as potent.

Finally, the committee is expected to make further enquiries on other matters related to the allegations, and make recommendations to the Minister within six working days, starting from yesterday.

Alhaji Colins Dauda assured the general public that the report of the committee would be open to the public.

He noted that his ministry and the government would not renege on its promise to ensure that the citizens get safe and affordable water.

"We are doing this, because the vision of H.E. President John Dramani Mahama in the water sector is to ensure that anybody living in this country has access to safe and affordable water, and therefore, we cannot compromise on the safety of water to the people of this country," he noted.

Meanwhile, the Communications Director at the Ghana Water Company, Mr. Stanley Martey, told The Chronicle that the Minister's enquiry was welcome by the company, and was hopeful that the committee would be able to unravel the mystery behind the issue.

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