4 INTERDICTED OVER WATER MESS
By Daniel Nonor
Four officers at the Ghana Water Company Limited have been interdicted for their roles leading to the importation and use of expired Aluminum Sulphate in treating water in the country, pending further investigations into the matter.
They are Miss Dora A. Bonnah, Procurement Officer of Ghana Urban Water Limited (GUWL), Mr. David Yankson, Procurement Officer of the Ghana Water Company Limited, Edwin Kwamivi, a Logistic Officer, and Evans Balaara, Chief Manager, Water Quality Assurance, GUWL.
Their interdiction is contained in a report by a committee commissioned by Alhaji Collins Duada, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, to investigate media reports, which alleged that the expired chemicals were being used for water treatment in some parts of the country.
The report, which was made public yesterday, collaborated earlier investigations conducted by The Chronicle to the effect that the company used some of the expired products in the treatment of water for the people of Ghana.
The report stated “that 0.7% of the total of 12,000 metric tonnes was used at the Weija Treatment plant.”
The Chief Manager for Business Planning at the GWCL, Cephas Oguaa, whom is acting in place of the Managing Director, Mr. Kweku Botwe, in an earlier denial of the story, told Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station, “As a responsible company, we have never used expired chemicals to treat our water ever since we started using chemicals to treat our water over 50 years ago. We have never used expired chemicals, and we will never use expired chemicals.”
The same defense was mounted by the Public Affairs Director of the Ghana Water Company, Stanley Martey, who vehemently insisted: “This chemical has not been used; it has not been used at all.”
The report noted among other things that an independent chemist, who spoke to the committee on the matter, indicated that the chemical in question does not expire when stored well.
The committee also established that the chemical was neither poisonous nor harmful to the human body when used in water treatment.
The report further cited the supplier of the chemicals, Messrs Santa Baron Ventures Limited, for misleading the Ghana Water Company in the course of the transaction.
For example, the report noted that although the supplier provided samples of alum manufactured by AVS Bhagvatee Chemicals of Gujarat, India, it ordered the chemicals from China without permission from Ghana Water Company.
The report also established that although the alum expired at the Tema Port due to delays in clearing the consignments, the chemicals were given a clean bill of potency by the Ghana Standards Authority at the request of GWCL, before they were allowed to be cleared by Customs.
But the committee said the approval of the expired chemicals by the Standards Authority “is clearly not within the mandate of the Authority.”
The committee, however, recommended that the retrieved chemicals should continue to be in the custody of National Security, while the Logistics Officer at Ghana Water Company should be held partly for the delay in clearing the chemicals.
The committee is also requesting the suppliers to provide explanations for the shelf life of the chemical from the manufacturer, as the committee found that the one year shelf life indicated by the manufacturer was strange.
“The committee finds the one year shelf life of the alleged expired alum as strange, since it is a stable inorganic salt, which will not expire when it is stored in good conditions.”
Meanwhile, further investigations by National Security into the matter are currently ongoing.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Water Company declined comment on the report when contacted by The Chronicle.
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