The Minority in Parliament has taken a swipe at the government for using part of a $350-million loan meant for rural electrification to purchase luxury cars.
It said the contract, which had been signed and approved by Parliament, made no provision for the purchase of vehicles, adding that it was, therefore, strange that the purchase had been incorporated into the agreement after it had been established by the authority of Parliament.
Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Minority Spokesperson on Energy and Petroleum, Mr K.T. Hammond, said it was even more scandalous that the government's preference was for Lexuses and Chryslers, which are very luxurious and expensive.
A former Minister of Energy, Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, was cited in the Auditor-General’s (A-G’s) recent report for using part of the money meant for an electricity extension project to purchase luxury cars.
Mr Hammond alleged that one of the four Lexus vehicles purchased by Dr Oteng-Adjei, against the rule of public service engagements, was appropriated for his personal use and he was still using it, even though he was no longer in government.
"The hypocrisy in all this is that this was the same person who sent BNI operatives to retrieve aged and over 10-year-old Ministry of Energy 4×4 vehicles from former ministers who were returning those vehicles in any event," he said.
On the power challenges facing the country, Mr Hammond wondered why the government was still blaming the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for the crisis, six years after the NPP had lost power.
According to him, all the plans laid down by the NPP government were set aside by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) when it assumed power in 2009.
He said the Kufuor administration increased the generation capacity by about 1,000 megawatts (MW), adding that with the exception of the 2.5MW solar plant installed in Navrongo in the Upper East Region, the current NDC administration had not added a single megawatt to the national grid.
“All of the 1,043MW of additional installed capacity the minister talked about and more were either completely installed under the Kufuor administration or partially completed under Kufuor’s NPP. All of them were initiated and started by the NPP government,” he said.
Mr Hammond said the NPP government of John Agyekum Kufuor was conscious of the critical role energy played in the socio-economic development of any nation and recognised that electric power was a crucial requirement for the achievement of the nation's growth agenda.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, said the power challenge the government was facing was not a generation issue but rather lack of funds to purchase crude oil to power the thermal plants.
He said the plants needed either gas or crude oil to generate power but the government did not have money to purchase crude oil for the plants to run effectively.
In the NPP era, he said, prices of petroleum products were high but the government was mindful of the crucial role energy played in the economy and expended huge sums of money to generate power
He indicated that out of the US$900 million the government earned from the sale of 70 per cent of its shareholding in the erstwhile Ghana Telecom to Vodafone, US$500 million was invested in the power sector.
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