Bill to stop public officeholders from buying state assets will be ready soon – Ablakwa says

Source The Ghana Report

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said that he is working around the clock to introduce a private member’s bill in Parliament to prevent politicians and politically exposed persons from purchasing state assets.

According to Mr Ablakwa, these public officials are elected to manage state assets; therefore, they should not be the ones benefiting from such sales.

“We want this bill to be ready in this Parliament. So that is why at our press conference today, we appealed to the President that he should stand by to assent to it. We don’t want him to do what he has been doing to other private members bill where he causes his secretary to write a cease and desist [letter],” he said.

He added that although the current law prevents these officials from engaging in conflicts of interest, many legislators still find loopholes.

“I am proposing a private members legislation and work is advancing very impressively. …we want to ban, you see people are taking advantage of grey areas, even though there is conflict of interest in our constitution… clearly people are taking advantage so we want a very explicit, very clear and precise piece of legislation that will ban all politicians and politically exposed persons.

“When they give you state assets to manage on all of us on our behalf, if it was six hotels, why don’t you make it eight, make it 10 or 12? Add to it so that those coming after us, our children, our children’s children, will look up to us and say ooh, we did well. We have become so irresponsible.

“So only Nkrumah should build assets for you, and we are just selling. What are we leaving behind for the younger ones?” he quizzed on Joy News.

The North Tongu MP has already petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate allegations surrounding the sale of six hotels owned by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to Bryan Acheampong.

In his petition, Mr Ablakwa contends that documents in his possession indicate that SSNIT is on the verge of selling a majority 60% stake in six of its hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited, a company reportedly owned by Bryan Acheampong, the Minister for Food and Agriculture.

The hotels under scrutiny in the petition include Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel, Busua Beach Resort, and the Trust Lodge Hotel.

According to Mr Ablakwa, the sale of SSNIT’s shares in the hotels lacks due process and violates procurement procedures.

He is therefore asking CHRAJ to stop the hotel sales to the Abetifi MP.

However, SSNIT, in response, explained that based on its criteria set out for sale, Rock City Hotel Limited submitted the best and strongest technical and financial proposal among the bids received.

SSNIT further clarified that the bids were successful for only four hotels, not the entire six, as the North Tongu MP claimed.

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