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Halt in Flood Control Drain Projects causing flooding – Auditor General

A Special Audit conducted by the Auditor-General’s Department on drains, indicates that Flood Control Drain Projects started between 2015 and 2019, have stalled leading to flooding.

The Hydrological Services Department of the Ministry of Works and Housing, invested more than one hundred and seventeen-point seven million Cedis (GHS 117.7 million)  in five years to construct 110 kilometers of drains to tackle flooding.

However, the Department did only 12 kilometers, representing 11 per cent leaving 89 per cent untackled. Out of 27 drainage projects selected for the audit, 15 had engineering defects. Again, the Auditors also discovered that from 2015 to 2019, the Hydrological Services Department failed to construct any of the retention ponds targeted for 18 drainage basins.

Delay in completion of construction also resulted in the choking of the drains by weed and silt at the sites.

Portions of the report said the inability of the Hydrological Services Department, and the Ministry of Works and Housing to allocate sufficient budget to cover the planned length of drains, and failure of the Ministry of Finance to release funds on time, stalled completion of the projects.

The Auditor-General’s Report, therefore called for the timely release of funds by the Ministry of Finance to complete abandoned drain projects to help address the perennial flooding in some parts of the country.

It also urged the Hydrological Services Department to allocate sufficient budget to implement targeted drainage facilities needed to mitigate flooding nationwide.

The Auditor-General commissioned the audit to ascertain how measures implemented by the Hydrological Services Department had been effective in mitigating flooding in the country. The Report was prepared in compliance with Article 187(2) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 13(e) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584).

The Deputy Auditor-General in charge of the Performance and Special Audit Department (PSAD), Lawrence Ndaago Ayagiba, who supervised the audit, said the team identified defective drains, poor maintenance of existing drains and failure to execute targeted drainage projects as the main causes of flooding across the country. The auditors also found that the Hydrological Services Department and the Works and Housing Ministry, failed to make budgetary allocations in their annual activity to maintain the completed drains.

Consequently, the drains were choked with weeds, silt and debris, thereby impeding the smooth flow of water and reducing the effectiveness of existing drains to mitigate flooding. The team found out that although the drainage master plan featured prominently in the Hydrological Services Department’s medium-term plan, budgetary allocations had not been made for it in the annual plans of the Ministry since 2013.

Mr Ayagiba explained that the performance audit was meant to find out whether value for money had been achieved, whether it had been done economically, efficiently and effectively, adding, that the audit was also to ascertain whether lessons had been learnt after the June 3 twin disaster in 2015.

He said 27 drains were sampled across the country,15 in the Greater Accra Region, 6 in Ashanti and three each in the Upper East and Central regions. Out of the number, the team found engineering defects in 15 of them, which is about 54 per cent of the total drain projects. Considering the complex nature of the issues surrounding flooding, the Deputy Auditor-General called for effective collaboration among stakeholders, such as the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the Department of Urban Roads, to ensure that they deliver their services in a way that would not obstruct the free flow of water in drains.

 

Source: GBCghanaonline.com/

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