Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, is in fresh trouble over what an ex-worker of the Komenda Sugar Factory in the Central Region, described as “untrue statements” he made about the facility to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament that, the state-of-the-art-factory has never processed sugar cane into sugar but only produced sugar from a semi-processed sugar.
According to Ransford Chatman Vanni-Amoah, a former member and secretary of the Komenda Sugar Project Management Board, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay committed perjury when he appeared before PAC to provide answers to a report by the Auditor General pertaining to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, its allied institutions and agencies.
Mr. Vanni-Amoah, has since petitioned PAC giving names of company events, places and dates that the Komenda Sugar factory operated insisting that the Deputy Trade Minister told a blatant lie in his submission to the Committee.
Since becoming a Deputy Trade Minister in the Akufo-Addo government Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay has been on a crusade running down the Komenda Sugar Factory built by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah but revived by the John Mahama administration at the cost of US$35million to end the US$200 million dollars in the importation of sugar annually.
The state-owned factory expected to produce 150000 metric tonnes of sugar per year and 1.0MW surplus power from factory waste, has been abandoned by the Akufo-Addo government and is currently rusting away in the bushes of Komenda.
Mr. Vanni-Amoah’s petition which The Herald intercepted on its way to the clerk of PAC Alhaji Mohammed Baba Inusah, revealed that the Komenda Sugar Factory produced sugar during the test run season.
Chairman of PAC, James Klutse Avedzi, is expected to make a pronouncement on the matter soon by inviting both Mr. Vanni-Amoah and Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay before the committee.
But the petitioner insists, Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay’s claim that the factory only produced processed sugar is false because “the current state of the processing plant of the Komenda Sugar Factory makes it almost impossible to process a semi-processed sugar”.
He revealed that “… after the commissioning of the factory management received proposals from other organisations willing to import raw-sugar and refine in our sugar refinery. But the Seftech India Private Limited who built the factory and have the technical know-how made management aware that, some additional technical modifications were needed to be done before raw-sugar could be refined by the factory”.
Mr. Vanni-Amoah disclosed that “the Komenda Sugar Factory procured about 2,000 tons of sugarcane from farmers within Central and Western Regions and one of the local companies contracted for haulage services for the factory is Perrilines Limited. Perrilines Limited alone hauled between 1,300 to 1,400 tons of sugarcane. Other three companies are G-Kads Limited, Hajia Schoco Company Limited and RUDAMS Consult. These sugarcanes were crushed to produce the first ever sugar for the Factory”.
The Komenda Sugar Factory, he said also “produced bagasse to generate three (3) megawatts of energy for the operations of the Factory. Bagasse is obtained after the extraction of sugar-bearing juice from sugarcane”.
The Komenda Sugar Factory, he added also “produced molasses which is a byproduct of sugar obtained during the test run. The molasses which tested positive was on high demand by local distillers. Between 31st October and 4th November 2016, the Factory sold more than 500 drums of molasses to the local distillers operating in Egyaa, Kissi and Putubiw”.
In addition to these, “the Komenda Sugar Factory procured over 500 tons of firewood as the initial source of energy before the bagasse replaced the firewood in order to generate heat to power the turbines. The firewood supply was executed by Kakum Oil Mill Enterprise, whose director is Miss Dorcas Awotwe”.
On the Ahomka-Lindsay’s claim that the variety of the sugar planted in the area is not suitable, Mr. Vanni-Amoah said “the variety of sugarcane available in the catchment area is B41227 variety and it is suitable for the production of sugar”, and explained that “the Degree Brix of the B41227 variety is 20%, Pol Percentage of sucrose is 12%, Purity is 80% and its Fibre is of high quality and very resistant to pests”.
He disclosed that “the other two Indian varieties are CO-02014 and CO-86032. These two varieties have parameters almost like the B41227. These are all available at the factory’s 125 acre farm. The Seftech Agronomists made management aware at the time that, the local variety which is B41227 is good and its sucrose percentage can be improved although it is above standard. This is because every standard sugar cane should give 10% of end product when crushed”.
Upon a question from Samuel Atta Mills, MP for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem on Thursday, August 10th 2017 as to why the sugar factory was not operating although he had tasted sugar from that factory when it was test run, Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay claimed “we have never put cane sugar through the full system of the Komenda Sugar. The Sugar you tasted at that time, the government of Ghana bought semi-processed sugar; then part of it was used to process and that is what you tasted.”
Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay went on “…but the process of a proper nursery to identify the actual variety was never done….the problem we have is that if we transplant those 25 to 2,000 is basically a waste of money, because the sugar content of the variety as we know is not to the level needed to make commercial operation of Komenda.”
But the petition against Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay said “…the facts as provided above, clearly indicates that Honourable Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Robert Ahomka-Lindsey is in breach of the standing orders of Parliament”.
Vanni-Amoah stated “Mr. Chairman, Standing Order 30 (e) and (f) states “Acts which constitute breach of privileges or contempt of Parliament”, The following acts or conducts shall constitute a breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament: (e) any act or conduct calculated or intended to deceive Parliament or any of its committees;
(f) deliberate misleading of Parliament or any of its committees.”
He explained that “it is important to mention that Honourable Ahomka-Lindsey committed to an Oath to tell the truth, nothing but the truth before the Committee before proceedings. Again, as a normal practice of the Committee, respondents are initially reminded by way of caution to speak to the truth and to admit to issues they have no knowledge about rather than peddling untruths before the Committee”.
“Please, I want to bring to your attention that based on the above stated standing orders of Parliament and the practice of the Committee, Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay has perjured himself before your Committee and I petition for his statement to be expunged from the hansard and the necessary sanctions applied, adding “…as enshrined in Order 155 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, I would be willing to appear before the Committee in person if the Committee finds it necessary and grants me the invitation”, Vanni-Amoah stated.
He quoted Standing Oder 155 states; which stated “General Powers of Committees (Article 103 (6) of the Constitution)
For the purpose of effectively performing its functions each Committee shall have all such powers, rights and privileges as are vested in the High Court of Justice or a Justice of the High Court at a trial in respect of:- (a) enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, affirmation or otherwise; (b) compelling production of documents;”
Mr. Chairman, due to my previous positions at the Komenda Sugar Factory, I shall fully cooperate with your Committee to ascertain the truth. I am extremely confident that you will deal with this petition in order for the Committee and the people of Ghana know about the truth of the operations of Komenda Sugar Factory.
He attached documents, pictures, media reports and audiovisual evidence of the operations of the Komenda Sugar Factory at the time adding “the facts as provided above, clearly indicates that Honourable Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Robert Ahomka-Lindsay is in breach of the standing orders of Parliament” and insisted “the facts as provided above, clearly indicates that Honourable Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Robert Ahomka-Lindsey is in breach of the standing orders of Parliament”.
He Mr. Chairman, Standing Order 30 (e) and (f) states “Acts which constitute breach of privileges or contempt of Parliament” The following acts or conducts shall constitute a breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament:
(e) any act or conduct calculated or intended to deceive Parliament or any of its committees; (f) deliberate misleading of Parliament or any of its committees.”
Mr. Chairman, it is important to mention that Honourable Ahomka-Lindsay committed to an Oath to tell the truth, nothing but the truth before the Committee before proceedings. Again, as a normal practice of the Committee, respondents are initially reminded by way of caution to speak to the truth and to admit to issues they have no knowledge about rather than peddling untruths before the Committee.