The former Minister of Railways Development and New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirant for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Joe Ghartey, has stated that he never paid any money to AI Sky nor authorized the payment of US$2 million to fund the Accra Sky Train Project.
Clarifying the issues in an interview on Citi FM, Joe Ghartey stated that he had made it clear from the beginning to the promoters of the Accra Sky Train Project that his ministry did not have the budget for the proposed project.
He, however, said he welcomed the project as a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) Project.
According to Ghartey, who is also the Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan, the Ministry of Railways Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2018 and signed another agreement with the promoters in November 2018.
He added that in 2019, the ministry signed a concession agreement with the promoters which included several conditions precedent.
“It is the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund that paid the money and the Fund is mandated to make such payments and so if the Minority wants anyone to refund the money, they should tell the Auditor General to ask the Fund to refund the money,” he said.
Joe Ghartey also indicated that the plan was for the South African company expected to execute the project to return to Ghana, but this became impossible because of the outbreak of the COVID-19.
He stressed that with that, the ongoing engagement with the company ended.
“I went to South Africa in 2018 to make the presentation because the quality of life is affected by heavy traffic and then the South Africans came. The company went back and said they wanted a concession agreement of thirty years and I said it was not possible. The company went away and was supposed to come in 2020 and then there was COVID-19.
“And so as far as my Ministry is concerned, we did not give them any money. I didn’t have any money and I didn’t have the power to pay any money and I did not pay any money. I don’t have the power to write for payment to the company in Mauritius. GIIF [Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund] is the statutory corporation that has the power to make such payments and so you can ask them,” he explained.
The Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund was established to mobilize, manage, coordinate and provide financial resources for investment in a diversified portfolio of infrastructure projects in Ghana.
It has invested over US$300m in various infrastructure projects although the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund is not an agency or statutory body.