No evidence Norway property deal was cancelled – Ablakwa insists
A Ranking Member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has refuted claims by the Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, that the controversial property agreement in Norway has been withdrawn.
According to Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Minister has not presented evidence to Parliament, where the deal had been sent for perusal, to back her claim that she pulled out of the deal after suspecting an anomaly.
Following Ablakwa’s red flags in Parliament about the agreement to purchase a Chancery and an Ambassador’s Residence in Oslo, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said she only expressed interest, insisting in a press release that her Ministry “has not signed any agreement to purchase the said properties”.
However, speaking on PM Express, a current affairs programme on the Joy News channel on MultiTV Mr Ablakwa suggests the Minister only said that after the lid was blown on the suspected fraudulent purchase agreement.
“This goes beyond an expression of interest,” the North Tongu MP said after reading copiously from documents presented to the House by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“That is why we are saying that that communication to the parties [Sellers] that we are no longer interested, we want to see the evidence. As we speak, Parliament has not seen any evidence that indeed this whole transaction has been terminated,” he said on the nightly current affairs programme.
He said there must equally be evidence of a response by the Sellers of the property because there is video evidence that the Seller has invested funds to meet the Ministry’s requested specifications on the property.
There was drama on the floor of Parliament Monday when the Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey attempted to move the appropriation bill.
She was confronted by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who raised concerns over a building in Norway which he claimed the government was planning to buy.
According to him, the government had inflated the price of the building it intends to use as a Chancery in Norway by over $8 million.
He presented some documents which the Speaker Prof Mike Ocquaye objected and described as inadmissible.
But that did not end the drama.
Shortly after the sitting, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey engaged Ablakwa in a heated argument which turned into a confrontation when MP for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, attempted to capture the exchanges on video.
A day after the drama, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement claiming it had not made any payment for the building even though an offer had been made, an offer they have rejected.
The Minority in Parliament is demanding a Presidential probe into the $12 million deal.
They say the possibly inflated cost of the deal has tarnished the image of the country.
The Minority believes a Presidential probe will bring out the truth in the matter.