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As Govt. delays to pay for service…

EDSA contractor under enormous pressure

January 11, 2021

By Alusine Sesay

The management of Energy Venture (Ghana limited) is currently under undue pressure from their landlord and other suppliers due to the delay on the part of the government to disburse over half a million United States Dollars they owe the company.

“Our landlord has taken us to court because we could not pay our rent and our suppliers are at our back on daily basis, threatening to take court action against us because we owe them. We also have the burden to pay our security guards who are securing our materials,” said the managing Director of the company, Krishnan Nagarajan.

 The Managing Director had expressed his deep frustration over the delay on the part of the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) to pay his company over half a million United States Dollars for the materials supplied and progress of works on the ECOWAS funded Emergency Electric Power Supply Programme.

After winning an international competitive bidding in 2014 for the supply and installation of transmission and distribution materials within communities across Freetown and it immediate environs, the company started operations on 17th May, 2015 and the said project was supposed to have lasted for eight months.

The Managing Director had earlier threatened to seek redress in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice.

“EDSA has virtually mismanaged the project and today they owe us over half a million dollars and they are saying nothing about it.They don’t want to tell us whether the money has been syphoned, nobody wants to talk about it .They have refused to respond to several letters sent by my lawyers and the only option at hand now is to go through the legal means by going to the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice,” said  Krishnan Nagarajan, Managing Director, Energy Ventures(Ghana) Limited.

While certain communities within the Western Area were going without electricity, ECOWAS provided grant to the Government of Sierra Leone to implement the Emergency Electric Power Supply Programme. The contracting company has executed a larger portion of it part of the bargain, but EDSA is still reneging on disbursing the needed funds to complete the project.

According to correspondences from Energy Venture, ECOWAS had from the inception of the project, released the complete  grant amount to the Government of Sierra Leone which was public knowledge too, but that the said money was allegedly diverted into other use by EDSA.

Our investigation revealed that the money was diverted into other use by EDSA-to purchase some lubricant. The diversion and misappropriation of public funds is by a law a criminal offense under the Anti-Corruption Act of Sierra Leone.

The project, which was supposed to have lasted for eight months, had been delayed for over five years due to the negligence on the side EDSA to release the needed funds for the company to complete work.

The project had been halted for two years now and the contracting company is now constrained to pay workers, pay up the rent for the house they have hired for their staff, with most of their materials being stolen.

“Our rent has run out and our insurance regarding the project implementation has expired,” said one of the workers who begged for anonymity. 

In a letter written by lawyers on behalf of the company in September 25, 2020 to the project manager at EDSA, Ing. James Rogers, it was expressed that, “ Despite the best efforts of our client to execute the contract, which was scheduled to be completed in eight months, it has been largely unable to fulfil its mandate due to the failure of the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA),which was made responsible for the disbursement of funds in relation to the project, to fulfil its contractual obligations. It will be recalled that full funding for completion of the project was made available by ECOWAS at the beginning of the project.

The letter reiterated that lack of support, lack of communication and failure to provide funds on the part of EDSA constitute issues faced by the contractual company in the execution of its mandate under the project.

However, Director General of EDSA, Dr.Joe-Lahai Sormana, admitted that ECOWAS had released the funds for the project, but noted that it was not to his knowledge as to whether the money was diverted to other use or not, because he was not in office by then.

He said as an institution they are very much disturbed that the project is yet to be completed because they would have been receiving revenue from the project communities, where people are currently going without electricity.

He said EDSA is never a signatory to the project’s account but stated that they are doing all to ensure that the funds are provided for the completion of the project.

He said the Ministry of Finance has strongly promised to provide the funds to the company and that they are pushing hard to see that that happens.