Former Minister of Railways Development and New Patriotic Party Presidential aspirant for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Joe Ghartey, has stated emphatically that he never paid any money to AI Sky or authorized the payment of US$2 million to fund the Accra Sky Train Project.
Contrary to the propaganda being done to tarnish his hard-won reputation, Mr Ghartey who has served Ghana for several years with a high degree of integrity, has stated that the Auditor-General Report stated clearly that it was Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund that acquired shares in the foreign company which had approached the Ministry of Railways Development with an offer to develop an elevated metro tram system for Accra which was envisaged to cost $2.6 billion.
Joe Ghartey stated in an interview 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.
However, he said he welcomed the project as a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) Project.
According to Mr Ghartey, 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.
In 2019, he said the Ministry signed a concession agreement with the promoters which included several conditions precedent. These conditions precedent including approval by Cabinet, approval by Parliament, approval by the Ministry of Finance, conduct of a Value for Money Audit, among other conditions that had to be satisfied before the concession agreement took effect.
Joe Ghartey stated categorically that at no time did he pay any money to AI Sky Train or authorize the payment of any money to it. The $2m transaction was between Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund and the investors, he said while clearing the air.
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. The Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund is not an agency or statutory body.
Joe Ghartey stated that it is not under the Ministry of Railways Development.
He stated that in the third quarter of 2019, the concession agreement was signed in South Africa and the investors were supposed to come to Ghana with their technical team to complete the full feasibility and final bill of quantities in 2020 but COVID and lockdowns both in South Africa and Ghana threw their program out of gear whilst he was Minister.