A private citizen has petitioned the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to initiate disciplinary action against two civil servants who are alleged to be involved high-level corruption at the Department of Urban Roads (DUR).
Bismark Brown, a journalist working with Atinka Television in Accra, filed the petition at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development against Benjamin Bampoe, the Tema Metro Director of the DUR and Francis Torsu, who is the New Juaben Municipal Director of DUR.
The broadcast journalist wants the two investigated because he claims they are part of a syndicate that is engaging in corrupt practices in the award of road contracts at the DUR.
In the petition, which has been widely copied to high places, including the presidency, Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Police Administration, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), among others, Mr. Brown claimed the two road engineers were caught on tape collecting bribes in order to ‘facilitate’ the award of road contracts at the Ministry of Roads and Highway.
The petitioner said two undercover journalists, who posed as investors targeting the roads sector, had managed to expose the modus operandi of the two DUR officials and alleged that they collected GH¢1,000 each to get them to where the contracts could be secured.
On the secret audiovisual recording, Mr. Bampoe could be heard introducing the supposed investors in the road sector to Mr. Torsu.
“I have some brothers with me right here. I have known them for some time now. They’ve been trying to get you. It has been difficult getting you so they have come to me to probably arrange a meeting with you for them,” Mr. Bampoe said, adding, “They have been tracking you in Koforidua to have a meeting with you concerning an interest they have but to no avail.
“Basically they are into construction. They have the equipment and many things. They wanted to have a discussion with you and see how they could partner your outfit and see how you can do some business together. Anything at all, whether it is into rentals, construction, etc. which has profit or loss component! (he then laughs and says “no businessman wants to suffer losses”).
He continued further, “I told them you are a very busy person and you have lots of movements. If you are not bothered, let me give them your telephone number so they call you themselves. They are nice people and you will enjoy working with them. Boss, they are from afar and they have very strong links.”
When the undercover journalists finally met Mr. Torsu, he was also captured on the tape assuring, “I’ll speak to other engineers but the system at my outfit currently is slow.
“If you had approached me last year, I would have given you a lot of things to do there. We are trying our best to put things in place. The NDC disrupted a lot of things when they were in office,” he said, adding, “The links are there. The Highways and the others we can talk to them and see how we can go.”
On the said tape, Mr. Torsu could be heard saying they were working hard to remove the Director of the Department of Urban Roads, Mohammed Abass Awolu, from office because he was an impediment in their way.
“We are forcing to get Abass removed from the place. He is the reason why the system is slow, otherwise there would have been plenty of contracts for you. He is so selfish!
“I don’t understand why Bawumia (Vice President) still wants him to be there. It is because of him I am not going back to Koforidua for now. We are finding a way of getting him out. Bawumia thinks like Mahama (former President), I can say it without fear! If you are in to protect such a person when everybody knows is not good…”
According to the petitioner, “The conduct of the two civil servants is breach of the criminal code on bribery and a breach of the public officer’s code of conduct and aspect of the Civil Service Act. Mr. Torsu must be made to explain the circumstances under which he wants to get the Director of the Department of Urban Roads out of office.
“They must explain why they took GH¢1,000 each from the investigators. Mr. Bampoe must be made to explain.”
The two officers did not return calls or text messages sent to them by DAILY GUIDE for their side of the story.
By William Yaw Owusu