A one-storey dormitory block constructed for students of Gbeogo School for the Deaf and mute in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region has been under lock and key for almost two and half years after its completion while the students with disabilities crowd in a dilapidated dormitory structure.
The situation according to school authorities is affecting the living conditions of the students who are compelled to sleep on the floor and in the open due to lack of space.
Headmaster of the school Felix Faatah in an interview on Yem Radio in Bolgatanga monitored by MyNewsGh.com disclosed that the current dormitory block used by the students could accommodate a maximum of 200 students but now contains in excess of about 350 students.
Checks by MyNewsGh.com at the structure reveals that the old building has deep cracks, leaking roofs and poor ventilation due to its dilapidated nature.
“Anytime the rain is falling, some of the students have to stand up and perch somewhere until it finishes raining because the roof leaks. Some also sleep on the floor because the building can’t contain more beds” the headmaster said.
In a rather shocking situation, a newly constructed and yet to be used 500 capacity one-storey building with modern washrooms, water storage facility, fenced resting area and a large compound stands unused few meters away from the dilapidated used structure.
The new dormitory block, this news portal has gathered was awarded for construction in August 2015 and to be completed in August 2016 at a cost of over 1.6 million Ghana cedis.
Further checks have revealed that the contractor, Eborics Company Limited indeed commenced the project and completed before December 2016. However, the new block has remained locked after completion apparently because of a feud between the contractor and consultant of the project over termination of previous projects and purchase of specified finishing materials to be used for the project.
According to the contractor, the failure of the consultant to conduct a final assessment of the project and to process for his retention to be paid is the cause of the delay in handing over the block to the school for use.
“Government actually does not owe me. What is left is my retention, which is money they keep for some time [Defect Liability Period] and then pay later. Is the consultant who should come and see what I’ve done and he has not come” the contractor said.
Checks at the office of A&Q Consultancy Services, the consultants to the project reveals that an amount of over GH¢100,000.00 is being held as retention for the project but revealed that the contractor had not written officially to the firm for the last assessment to be conducted, a reason the project has not been handed over almost two and half years after its completion.
The rift between the contractor and the consultant has been identified as the major reason that has denied students of Gbeogo School for the Deaf the access to a decent accommodation facility.
This acrimonious relationship between the contractor and the consultant, sources say is the product of the termination of similar contracts given to the contractor in the past and subsequently terminated by the said consultants and a former Upper East Regional Minister Rockson Ayine Bukari.
Meanwhile, District Chief Executive for the Talensi District, Dr. Christopher Boabil when contacted by reporters on the issue indicated he had little knowledge about the said facility but was working on contacting the consultant to resolve the issue.
This claim by the DCE is however contradicted by revelations that the Headmaster of the School in 2018 had written to the District Chief Executive through the Ghana Education Service drawing his attention to the issue and the need for an urgent intervention. It also emerged that the issue was presented at a townhall meeting where the DCE was present. Consultant to the project had also indicated that the DCE was informed on the matter.