Ghana: Dutch Company Swindles €165,000 From GPHA - Minister Tells PAC

10 September 2020

Dutch ship making company, Scheepsbouw Noord, has swindled the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) of €165,000, the Auditor-General has reported to Parliament.

The amount is a part payment for the production and delivery of a €1,100,000 pilot launch boat for the Authority in 2011.

"During our audit, (in 2016), the boat had still not been delivered to the Authority," the Auditor General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, stated in his report on public boards, corporations and other statutory institutions for the year ending December 31, 2017.

The report, which is currently under consideration by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, said: "This amount cannot be treated as bad debt. Every effort should be made by management to recover this amount, including legal action."

But leading the GPHA to appear before the PAC, Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, asked the Committee to consider the amount a bad debt.

He explained that efforts to retrieve the money have been fruitless, saying "we are not making any headway (in efforts to retrieve the money), yet we are spending a lot of money on this matter."

"If I were to bring before you the kind of cost that we have incurred in retrieving this money (you would be surprised)," he told the James Klutse Avedzi chaired Committee in Accra yesterday.

Mr Asiamah continued: "If you go into it, you will find out that the agent who led the (company) to Ghana is dead and the company has gone bankrupt."

He explained that the GPHA has on several occasions traced the agent, before his death, to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Germany and Holland to no avail.

"Mr Chairman, we are incurring a lot of money in dealing with this matter yet we are not making any headway. It's a difficult situation and as a body, you need to take a decision on this matter, because we are spending a lot," the minister said.

When asked how much the GPHA might have spent chasing the money, Mr Asiamah was unable to tell the Committee, but promised to furnish it with the necessary documentation.

In determining the matter, Mr Avedzi said a decision to whether or not write-off the debt could only be recommended to the board of the GPHA.

"Let us have a basis for the Committee to take a decision. Give us an idea of how much you have spent so far in chasing this money... and based on that we will recommend to the board for it to be written-off," Mr Avedzi said.

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