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Gov’t has no deal with Smarttys in rural electrification project – Jinapor

Government has refuted the assertions that it has entered into another deal with Smarttys as claimed by minority Members of Parliament (MPs) of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Deputy Minister for Power, John Jinapor, said the commercial agreement entered into was not with Smarttys Management and Productions Limited but rather with China Hunan Construction Engineering Group.

Speaking to Kojo Yankson, host of the Joy FM Super Morning Show, Mr Jinapor said the involvement of Smarttys in the course of the negotiations was only to sit in as the Public Relations company of the Chinese company and not as a negotiator.

Parliament of Ghana approved the $92 million commercial agreement for China Hunan Construction Engineering Group to execute rural electrification projects in the Eastern, Volta and Northern regions.

The deal was said to have been overpriced to the tune of $22.7 million after Crown Agents Ghana Limited conducted Value for Money Assessment. It was later renegotiated to $9 million after the two parties – Ghana Government and China Hunan Construction Engineering Group  were able to agree on a median amount with the help of Crown Agents.

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The rural electrification project was started by the Kufuor administration but it was the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) government which conducted the Value for Money Assessment.

Minority MPs in Parliament told the House to take a second look at the commercial agreement after the name of Smarttys came up as the local representatives of China Hunan Construction and Engineering Limited.

The NPP MP for Old Tafo, Dr Osei Akoto, said government should have notified Parliament about the involvement of Smarttys Productions since the company’s last deal with government was questionable.

He confirmed that Smarttys sat in the meeting when Crown Agents complained the project had been overpriced to the tune of $22.7 million disclaiming Mr Jinpor’s claim that Smarttys played no part.

Dr Akoto said government should not pretend there is no issue with the contract adding that it should have resisted Smarttys’ involvement in the deal since the company has been involved in an overpriced project.

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He said any company found to have been involved in a questionable deal with the government should be prevented in future deals and this should have been applied in this case.

However, Mr Jinapor said he is finding it hard to understand why the minority is painting a picture of their disapproval of the transaction when in actual sense the commercial agreement for the contract was approved unanimously by all Members of Parliament.

He explained that the rural electrification deal had been pending for the past two years before Smarttys was involved in the overpriced Metro Mass bus rebranding scandal and that the government is only implementing the bold initiative which will bring light to most homes in rural areas.