Tuesday, July 31, 2012
"VAMED not into stadium construction"
July 13, 2012 (Front Page) There was an interesting twist at the trial of Alfred Agbesi Woyome Thursday, when it emerged that VAMED Engineering (VE), the company which was represented by Woyome in the bid for stadium projects for the CAN 2008 had no interest in stadium construction. A letter dated September 7, 2005 addressed to the then Minister of Education and Sports (MOES), Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo said “Vamed Engineering (VE) is a company which is active in the sector of health care projects only and has no qualification and no interests in the award of contracts for stadia projects”. The letter, which was signed by the Managing Director of VE, Mr. P. Hallbauer and Legal Advisor of VE, Mr. K. Krammer said VE bid for the construction of six hospitals in 2003 when it heard of the CAN 2008 project, were awarded contracts but that could not be implemented because there were no funds. Mr. Osafo-Maafo, who tendered the letter in evidence at the sitting of the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court hearing the case of Woyome, who is accused of defrauding the state to the tune of GHC51.2 million, said the country saved $50 million after the procurement process which had shortlisted VE and m-powapak Limited as the companies to construct the two stadia was cancelled by Cabinet. Led in evidence by a Chief State Attorney, Ms Cynthia Lamptey, the former Minister of Education and Sports told the court that the two companies quoted $67.7 million and $60.2 million as the cost of the Takoradi and Tamale stadia respectively. He said the two companies were among a total of 70 companies who bid for the stadium project adding that Cabinet had a special meeting at Akosombo on July 27, 2005 to deliberate on the project. According to the witness, during the meeting, former President J. A. Kufuor mentioned a Chinese company which was willing to construct the stadia at a lesser cost because the government had decided not to exceed $40 million for each of the two projects. Mr. Osafo-Maafo said he later wrote a letter to the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) and requested to do sole sourcing for the stadium project in view of the time constraint and the need to meet the CAF deadline. The witness said the PPA gave approval to the sole sourcing and subsequently Shanghai Construction Limited which quoted $38.5 million for each of the two projects was awarded the contract. Mr. Osafo-Maafo, maintained that no contract was awarded VE and m-powapack. Counsel for Woyome, Mr. Sarfo Buabeng, objected to the tendering of a copy of the VE’s letter which denied bidding for the stadium project on grounds that it was a photocopy. The court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam overruled Mr. Buabeng’s objection thereby paving the way for Mr. Osafo-Maafo to tender in evidence, photocopies of other correspondence on the project. Woyome has pleaded not guilty to causing financial loss and defrauding by false pretence and is currently on a GHC20 million bail. Mr. Osafo-Maafo is expected to continue with his evidence-in-chief on July 17, 2012.