Ghana water blows €1.5m

Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) is set to blow a whooping €950,000 on the repair of faulty filters the company’s Weija Adam Clark Plant after it spent some €600,000 for similar repairs of other filters in March 2013.

Workers have raised concerns at the rate at which the filters breakdown and the amount of money the company annually pays to a foreign company, Messer’s Ballast Nedam to have them repaired.

The workers alleged that infrastructure had collapsed at GWCL under Mr. Kweku Dovlo’s watch, adding that there is nothing to justify the huge resources accruing to the company from the state. Readers would recall that last year the company announced that following the detection of cracks and other structural defects in four of its 12 filter beds, it would ration water for the six months.

The defect, according to the Communications Manager at the GUWL, Mr Stanley Martey, required a complete redesigning and reconstruction of the four filter beds; an exercise which would take about six months to complete.

The current defect which has resulted in water shortage in some parts of the country will be fixed in the next 11months more, a situation which would certainly bring some discomfort to millions of consumers across the country.

Angry workers of the company in a resolution addressed to the Board explained that “Each time the filters break down, for fear of bacteriological breach, a low lift pump is suspended with a resultant daily water loss of 10.8mgd. It is clear to us that our management do not weigh the hardship this drop in production visits on the residents of Accra, else they would have taken the step to select a filter floor design at the Adam Clark Plant that will end the annual crises in water supply from Weija, occasioned by faulty filter bed”.

The resolution which was signed by 59 workers among other things, noted that in June 2013, it came to light that, two officers of Accra West Region were involved in a scheme that was used to siphon money from the company’s accounts.

They noted that when the issue came to light, a committee was duly instituted to investigate the crime and at the end of their work, they unravelled the total sums illegally taken by these two officers, as close to GHc3.7 million, or 37,000,000 old cedis.

According to them, their expectation was that, management was going to initiate steps to recover the said amount from the two employees.

“For reasons best known to the Managing Director, upon the receipt of the committee’s report, he decided to terminate the engagement of the two officers, without any further attempt to recover the lost amount”, they noted.

Read Below the full petition the workers sent to the board.

RESOLUTION FROM ATMA PRODUCTION STAFF

We write to acknowledge receipt of your response dated 24th October, 2014, to our resolution signed on the 15th of October in which we raised issues in respect of the leadership of our company, and wish to state that, we are at our wits end trying to understand the call on us to apologize to the sector minister, the membership of the board, and the Managing Director for casting aspersions on their persona.

Mr. Chairman, in our resolution sent to you as per the referenced date, we tried hard not to indicate the full extent of our grievances against the leadership style of our managing director, because we did not want a situation where a copy of the resolution would find its way into the print and electronic media, with the whole gamut of allegations, hence our decision to just indicate our concerns under these thematic areas of

Financial mismanagement

Serious Decline in Revenue

Visionless leadership(MD)

Selective Promotion

However, now that the Board has responded and has set up a committee to investigate our allegations we are prepared to expatiate on our allegations as follows

FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT

In June 2013, it came to light that, two officers of Accra West Region, in the persons of Ing Frank Asante Asiedu (the Distribution Manager), and Mr. Kofi Ntiamoah (Finance Manager) were involved in a scheme that was used to siphon money from the company’s accounts.

When the issue came to light, a committee was duly instituted to investigate the crime and at the end of their work, they unraveled the total sums taken illegally by these two officers, as close to GHc3.7 million or 37,000,000 old cedis, for which our expectation was that, management was going to initiate steps to recover the said amount from the two employees.

For reasons best known to the Managing Director, upon the receipt of the committee’s report, he decided to terminate the engagement of the two officers, without any further attempt to recover the lost amount.

Per this management action, we are of the opinion that, other officers in positions of trust in our company will be encouraged to do same, since the only consequence they are most likely to suffer if found out will be termination of contract.

All manner of contracts are awarded by the head office to lay pipes in areas of Accra where water flow is challenged. Sometimes these contracts are barely executed and yet huge sums are paid out as settlement of contract cost.

A typical example we can point to is the award of a dredging contract at Tanoso in the Brong-Ahafo Region. A contract was awarded by head office for the dredging of the Tanoso intake. All that the contractor did at the site was to fell a few trees around the intake, without actually carrying out any dredging, but later submitted a claim for payment, which we were duly informed that he was paid by the Head office, for no work done.

Procurement of water treatment chemicals is one area where our management causes the company to lose huge sums of money. Often, after a public tender for the purchase of the chemicals, tenderers with low price quotations are side stepped on frivolous grounds and the contracts are awarded to suppliers whose price quotations are sometimes twice that of the lowest evaluated bids.

SERIOUS DECLINE IN REVENUE

Since the departure of Aqua Vitens Rand Ltd. in June 2011, we have been witnessing a steady decline in revenue collection of our customer care department.

Mr. Chairman, you will agree with us that without the estimated revenues, GWCL as a company cannot re-tool itself to do the work it has been mandated to do for Ghanaians.

Under the watch of our Managing Director, he has failed to open more pay points to ensure easy payment of water bills by customers.

Mr. Chairman, your predecessors approved the division and creation of additional operational districts to make the districts manageable, but no action has been taken to implement this notable board policy.

We recall with a lot of nostalgia, the AVRL days, where nearly all the Vehicular fleet of GWCL was replaced within a period of a year.

The revenue AVRL collected was from the sales of water from existing treatment plants, so our question is what has changed within this short space of time that we are not able to pay salaries of our workers and other allowances on time, let alone replace broken down plant equipment.

For the month of September, workers’ salaries were paid in early October, a situation which hitherto, we used to associate with workers of the Railways Corporation.

Our fear is that, if the current revenue decline continues, we may not be able to get our salaries at the end of the coming months, for which we wish to urge immediate action to arrest the situation.

Mr. Chairman, we are all witnesses to the AVRL days, where replacement of faulty production equipment was given priority status, to ensure uninterrupted production process. Per our proof, revenue collection has gone down and our plants are not being replaced.

VISIONLESS LEADERSHIP

Beginning with Weija head works, kindly permit us to point to a few production machines that have broken down and have resulted in the decline in water production, sales and revenue collection.

The Weija new intake station is running without a working standby pump since November 2013. But for the faults to the filters at the Adam Clark Plant, which has occasioned a reduction in the number of duty pumps, the system would have been badly exposed.

The Weija old intake pumps are running without replacement coupling sets. Instead, our chief Manager has advised the use of retrofitted coupling on the last pump set that lost its coupling.

It is this same use of retrofitted parts that led to the untimely failure of the new intake pump No2, so we are afraid that sooner or later, the old intake pumps would begin to fall one after the other, unless the use of retrofitted parts are halted.

In March 2013, four filters at the Weija Adam Clark Plant were damaged and the contractor Messer’s Ballast Nedam was brought to site to rehabilitate them at a cost of almost €600,000.

Again in August 2014, the same contractor was at the Weija Adam Clark Plant to rehabilitate another round of four (4) filters at a cost close to €950,000. Our concern here is with the frequency of failure of the filters and the amount of money the company is shedding annually to have them repaired.

Each time the filters breakdown, for fear of bacteriological breach, a low lift pump is suspended with a resultant daily water loss of 10.8mgd. It is clear to us that our management do not weigh the hardship this drop in production visits on the residents of Accra, else they would have taken the step to select a filter floor design at the Adam Clark Plant that will end the annual crises in water supply from Weija, occasioned by faulty filter beds.

The Weija Adam Clark, Candy, and Bamag Plants have been without lime dosing facilities since May 2011. All this while the station has been producing and supplying customers with relatively hard water, which also has effect on the condition of the transmission lines from the head works. Request upon request has been sent to the managing director, and yet no action is taken on this crucial issue.

The Weija Adam Clark, Candy and Bamag Plants are without functional chlorinators, as a result of which disinfection of the treated water from the Weija Plant is woefully inadequate. Instead of chlorinators, management is by stealth supplying poor grade calcium hypochlorite to Weija and other places for use as the main disinfectant.

The Accra booster station which plays the strategic role in water distribution in Accra is without spare parts to repair its control panels, and HPZ pumps. The Booster station’s chlorinator sets have broken down and at the moment are out of use.

The Kpong high lift station, given its importance in the supply of potable water to the industrial city of Tema, should not be left to run without standby units, unless there is a plot to sabotage Government and the people of Ghana.

The Kpong high lift station feeder pump is running without standby. If the only duty feeder pump fails, that will be the end of water supply from the Kpong new works.

Again the auto transformer starter at the High lift is without a standby. If a power surge causes the duty auto transformer to fail, then GWCL will lose its production capacity from the Kpong High lift station.

The Tema Booster station is also one station that plays a key part in the transportation of water to the city of Accra. Notwithstanding, the ongoing developments at Kpong, which will soon bring additional supplies of potable water to Accra, the existing facilities will be needed to complement the new developments for which strategic plans must be put in place to ensure their continuous operation.

Poor human resources planning has led to the situation where maintenance of manpower base of the company has seen a steady decline to the extent that, sooner or later, the company may be compelled to hire back retired maintenance officers or else it risk not being able to run its equipment. Again, because of the poor human capital base of the company, these days all throughout the country, maintenance works are being outsourced.

Mr. Chairman, as you can see on the subject of visionary leadership we are deeply concerned about the lack of planning to keep our plants in good working conditions.

What we have catalogued is centred primarily on the ATMA production system, but information reaching us from our colleagues in the Regions indicates that, there too there is the systemic decline in plant functioning, for which we fear the collapse is much widespread than it meets our eyes in ATMA production.

Mr. Chairman, in our opinion the above stated reasons against the leadership of our managing director are god enough grounds for us all to call on you to consider terminating his appointment to arrest the decline in our company’s viability.

Mr. Chairman, in ending this write-up, we wish to render our unqualified apology for any offence our earlier grievance may have caused you and the membership of your board.

Yours sincerely,

ATMA PRODUCTION (SSU/JSU)

source : The National Forum