The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, has told parliament that the combined cost of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange (Circle Dubai) and Ring Road flyover projects was GH¢268,159,470.20.
According to him, the two projects were together known as the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange.
He said while the construction of the main Kwame Nkrumah Interchange was €74,880,000, that of the Ring Road Flyover was US$170 million, which together amounted to GH¢268,159,470.20.
The total cost, he told parliament, was arrived at using the Bank of Ghana’s exchange rate as of September 17, 2012 – the date of the start of the project.
Similarly, he reported to the house that the total cost for the Pokuase interchange was US$73,954,605.08.
He said it was made up of two funding components of US$73,572,624.32 and GH¢1,682,357.88.
Amoako-Attah informed the house that the total cost was arrived at by using the Bank of Ghana’s exchange rate as of April 17, 2018 – the time of the start of the project – which the minister said was “substantially completed in July 2021”.
The minister’s statement was in response to a question filed by the MP for Fanteakwa South, Mr Kofi Okyere Agyekum.
In August 2020, the cost of the Kwame Nkrumah interchange, in particular, became one of debate between the Akufo-Addo government and the biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
It followed a claim by Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia at the time during a virtual town hall meeting held in Accra at the College of Physicians and Surgeons on Tuesday, 18 August 2020 that whereas the then-flag bearer of the NDC, former President John Mahama, expended $260 million on the Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange alone, the Akufo-Addo government was been able to construct four interchanges at nearly the same cost.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s important to note that the cost of the Tema, Tamale, Pokuase and Obetsebi Lamptey interchanges is USD289 million while the Kwame Nkrumah interchange was constructed at USD260 million”. Dr Bawumia said at the time.
“So, you have four major interchanges – Tema, Tamale, Pokuase and Obetsebi Lamptey for US$289 million and one Kwame Nkrumah Circle for US$260 million. I will leave that for you to ponder,” Dr Bawumia said.
The NDC responded to the Vice-President at a press conference describing Dr Bawumia’s assertion as a “barefaced lie”.
The conference was addressed by the opposition party’s National Communications Officer, Mr Sammy Gyamfi, in Accra on Monday, 24 August 2020.
He said: “What Dr Bawumia did was that he added the cost of two separate and distinct projects (Kwame Nkrumah interchange and the Ring Road Flyover) and created the impression as though that was the cost of just one project, the Kwame Nkrumah interchange. He then proceeded to engage in a pedestrian comparison of the cost of projects, which has a different scope of works and specifications,” Mr Gyamfi said.
According to him, “this mischief, which was peddled by no less a person than the Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana, is shameful and reprehensible, to say the least.”
Mr Gyamfi explained that the Kwame Nkrumah interchange project cost ₵74.8 million equivalent to US$90 million at the time.
He said that fact was contained in the parliamentary Hansard of 16 August 2012, when the transaction was approved by the 5th Parliament of Ghana, with the full participation and approval of the then-NPP minority.
Explaining further, Mr Gyamfi stated that two years after the Kwame interchange had been approved by Parliament and the construction of the project commenced, the Mahama government, on 1 October 2014, laid before parliament another export credit facility for the design and construction of another project, the Ring Road Flyover, at a cost $170 million.
That transaction, he noted, was approved on 2 October 2014 by the 6th Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.
“It is important to emphasise that the two projects (the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange and the Ring Road Flyover) are distinct from each other and were separately approved by Parliament at different periods for different purposes,” he said, adding: “The scope of work of the two projects are totally different, and, so, it is disingenuous and shameful for Dr Bawumia to lump the cost of the two projects together and create the impression that same is inflated.”
At the time, Mr Gyamfi called on Dr Bawumia to retract and apologise “for this lie which has further lowered his fast-sinking reputation and sullied his integrity and that of the high office he occupies.”