The immediate-past Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah says the lawmaking body cannot be blamed for the looming judgement debt arising from Ghana’s termination of the intelligent traffic management system deal with Chinese company, Beijing Everyway.
The private construction company has filed a lawsuit against the Government of Ghana in the London court of international arbitration to demand $55 million from Ghana for cancelling the contract.
Many are calling for sanctions against individuals and Parliament over the development which they believe is due to their negligence.
But Dr. Assibey-Yeboah, the former Member of Parliament New Juaben South in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show explained that the deal had duly gone through parliamentary approval and was yet to be finally approved by the Finance Ministry to take effect but the Roads and Highways Ministry went ahead of that process to get the company to begin work.
“Once Parliament gives approval, that is not the final bit of all this contracting process. After Parliament has given its approval, it goes to the Attorney General, there was no objection following which an agreement is actually signed between the contracting parties then it takes off.”
“There are letters to the effect that Beijing Everyway through the CDB [China Development Bank] was urging the Ministry of Finance to execute the contract. The Ministry of Finance did not do that but somehow, the Ministry of Roads and Highways got Beijing Everyway to commence work. I don’t think Parliament is to be blamed in this one,” he said.
Beijing Everyway, said prior to the cancellation of the contract, it had worked on the provision and installation of a traffic management system.
The contract was awarded to another Chinese-based company by the government of Ghana despite concerns from policy think-tank, IMANI Africa and some Members of Parliament including Inusah Fuseini.
“The project that is being implemented is coming back to Parliament and if even we allow them to go ahead, you can be rest assured that what they are going to do will be a candidate for judgement debt,” Fuseini said in an earlier interview.
About the Intelligent Traffic Management System
The Accra Areawide Intelligent Traffic Management System was introduced to help reduce traffic congestion in the capital city.
The system relies on a coordinated traffic signal system with digitised traffic lights and a centralised control centre where all traffic signals will be monitored and controlled to improve traffic flow, trip reliability and road safety.
This means that all traffic lights across the city, including the newly deployed ones with artificial intelligence capabilities, will be managed from a Traffic Management Centre, where traffic on vital corridors and intersections in the city will be examined.
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwesi Amoako-Atta, inaugurated two of the areawide traffic intelligent systems in Accra on February 2020.
They were the Kanda Highway/Castle Road and the Starlet 91/Nationalism Park (close to the Accra Stadium) traffic lights. Mr Amoako-Atta said the project was being implemented in two phases.
He said the first phase, which includes the operationalisation of 44 signalised intersections on the Amasaman/central business district of Accra corridor and the construction of the Traffic Management Centre, was completed in July 2019.
The second phase was to include the completion of 253 signalised and non-signalised intersections within the city, he added.