$65m GARID fund was misapplied – Ato Forson

The Minority Leader, Cassiel Ato Forson, has alleged that $65 million of the $200 million allocated for the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development Project (GARID) was misused.

Despite the Minority’s strong opposition, Parliament approved an additional $150 million loan facility from the World Bank for the GARID project on Friday, May 17, 2024.

In an interview with Bernard Avle on The Point of View on Citi TV, Dr. Forson stated that the funds earmarked for COVID-19 expenditure were misappropriated.

The Minority Leader criticised the Ministry of Works and Housing for failing to provide a detailed account of the expenditure to Parliament.

“Someone somewhere is trying to distort the facts, but there’s the need for us to correct the records. And let Ghanaians be aware of what exactly the situation is. So far, they have drawn down almost $180 million out of the $200 million loan. Unfortunately, even though they had drawn down almost $180 million, the amount has been misappropriated or misapplied.

“For example, $65 million of the GARID loan that was supposed to be used for the purposes of killing the floods, was misapplied for the purposes of COVID-19 expenditure.

“Yet, we don’t have the breakdown of the COVID-19 expenditure. We were told that unlike a typical World Bank facility, where a project implementation unit would have been established, and payments made directly to the contractors, in this case, the amount was paid into the Ministry of Works and Housing’s account, and the Ministry has failed to account to Parliament how much money that they have spent from that account.”

He recalled how some individuals sent to the Odaw River reported no work done at the site after they were informed that $32 million was used for dredging.

“Only $32 million was the only amount they could account for, which for us, was concerning. Another $43m was supposedly used to dredge the Odaw River. When our guys went to the site, it was obvious that nothing of the sort had been done. And some of the contractors our guys spoke to at the site said they were asked to be at the site just last week. Even though, they have paid for mobilisation years ago,” he said.

“We had serious concerns until we got the government or Ministry to account for what they have used the money for, there was no way we were going to approve additional loan.”

Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, the Member of Parliament for Ho West, and the Minority Leader have called for a forensic audit of the World Bank’s country office and the GARID project.

They argued that the project should have been implemented in phases, rather than its current compounded manner.

On Monday, May 20, the Ministry issued a statement stating that it has responsibly managed the $200 million allocated for its operations.

The Ministry disclosed that as of March 2024, $127.12 million had been utilised, with $65 million allocated to support COVID-19 related expenses under the Contingent Emergency Response Component (CERC), a component agreed upon with the World Bank and included in the Project Appraisal Document.


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