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UK consultant walks off Ghana airport job

NEWS

A BRITISH consultant has stopped work on a prestige contract in Ghana in a row over money which could end with the British taxpayer being forced to foot the bill.

TPS Consult is in dispute with the Ghanaian Civil Aviation Authority over unpaid fees for work on the US$75M (£50M) Phase 2 of the Kotoka International Airport development in the capital, Accra.

Local sources said that the consultant had walked off the site in November after fees of between £500,000 and £750,000 were unpaid. The sums involved have not been confirmed by either side of the dispute.

The UK consultant is understood to have been replaced by a consortium of Ghanaian firms carrying out site supervision, as the design work is largely complete.

Contractor for the project, which is not in dispute, is Swedish based Skanska Jensen International, in joint venture with an Irish-Ghanaian firm PW Ghana and Danish company Intertec.

The project involves extensive terminal building works and refurbishment, as well as taxiway and apron repair and construction.

TPS director George Parker said: 'We've stopped working on the project, but as we are in delicate negotiations, I cannot comment any more.'

Kotoka Airport chief executive Captain Joe Boachi told NCE that meetings would take place 'as soon as both sides were ready' to discuss the problems.

'We have reached an impasse with this company, which I don't wish to discuss, ' he said.

The project is being part-funded by the UK government's Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), which is the largest single backer for the project. Other funding is coming from the Swedish and Danish equivalents and a group of merchant banks.

Export credit guarantees ensure payment to contractors engaged in overseas work should they be left out of pocket if the client is unable or unwilling to pay.

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