It is emerging that copies of the GHS3.5 million Dodi Princess Boat contract signed between Volta River Authority (VRA) and Onur Makina, a Turkish based Marine Engineering firm in 2013 for the latter to construct a 176-seater pleasure boat for use by Akosombo Hotels Limited (AHL) a subsidiary of VRA cannot be traced.
Officials of the VRA and the General Manager of the Akosombo Hotel Limited, Frederick Bart-Plange have not been able to furnish this paper with a valid copy of the contract covering the boat construction to date after several publications. Besides, several attempts to secure a copy of the contract from Head of Communication of VRA Madam Gertrude Koomson and the General Manager of AHL, Frederick Bart-Plange have proved futile.
It will be recalled that the construction of the Dodi Princess two river boats which commenced in 2013 in Akosombo has not been completed as a result of allegations of corruption and malfeasance in the contractual arrangement. It has been alleged that the scarce state resources channelled into the project cannot be accounted for and the project to date remain suspended. This has deprived the general public, patronage of the facility. The engineers engaged to construct the boat, Onur Makina, have suspended work and returned to Turkey after several millions of cedis of the taxpayers’ money have been invested into the project.
Related to afore-mentioned issue is the refurbishment of the old Dodi princess boat which also got burnt in 2012. The refurbishment of this old Dodi princess pleasure boat has also become a subject of protracted litigation between Bluefone Marine Technology and the VRA after several financial resources were remitted to the latter as out of court settlement arising as a result of unlawful termination of contract by the former. This matter has found its way in court again and it does not appear that there will be end in sight soon.
It will be recalled that this paper published two stories on the construction of the Dodi Princess boat on 29th June, 2016 and 5th July, 2016 respectively and to date no concrete action has been taken on it. Recently, it took the timely intervention of this paper again to stop the unlawful procurement of gym equipment valued at USD59,000 by the General Manager of Akosombo Hotels Limited after finalising a contract deal with Solution to Exercise Through Life Limited, a local company based in Ghana.
This and many actions of the General Manager of AHL, Fred Bart-Plange has led to growing tension between the workers and himself and the fortunes of this state hotel have taken a nose dive in the last four years. The Ghanaian taxpayers’ money cannot be invested into projects which have no safeguards but rather create opportunities for corruption and malfeasance in high places.
Meanwhile Information available indicates that the Flag staff House has waded into the investigations and invited the General Manager of Volta Hotel, Fred Bart Plange for questioning over the boat contract and the signing of the contract for the gym equipment’s at the hotel.
Sources at the Volta hotel claim that the General Manager has been boasting that not even the Akufo Addo Government can get him out of the Volta Hotel and that he has the power to do whatever he wants. So Far, the Flag Staff House has reacted to the issue and assured that it will get to the bottom of the issue and sanction every one found guilty.