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Speaker orders probe into Saglemi housing project

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, has ordered a parliamentary probe into the alleged misappropriation of some $159 million meant for the Saglemi Housing project. 

The Works and Housing Committee, together with the leadership of the Prosecution and Legal Committee have a period of two weeks to complete and submit their findings.

“The matter has now been referred to the Works and Housing Committee, the leadership of the Prosecution and Legal Committee are to join to look into this matter which has been presented before the House and all its aspects and report as a matter of urgency,” Prof Oquaye ordered.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea on Thursday, June 4, told Parliament that his outfit was awaiting an audit of the expenditure on the housing project.

Atta Kyea | The News God

He noted that the audit which was expected to be completed in a month would make way for the prosecution of some former appointees under the NDC administration.

According to the minister, although the contractor was paid close to $200 million for the construction of 5,000 housing units, only 1,000 were built.

Mr. Atta Akyea further accused the former Works and Housing Minister under the Mahama administration, Collins Dauda, of varying the contract terms after Parliamentary approval, which was illegal.

Speaking to the media outside Parliament, Mr. Atta Akyea said $40 million of $80 million released to the contractor initially for mobilization was diverted.

But, former Deputy Works and Housing Minister, Sampson Ahi denied the claim that some former government officials misappropriated funds meant for the project.

The Bodi MP dared Mr. Atta Akyea to go ahead with the prosecution, noting that the Minister had in the past issued similar threats to no avail.

“He said this three years ago, that they were taking culprits to court, we have been waiting for when that court matter will start.

“Everybody is ready to respond because we didn’t do anything untoward,” he was categorical.

Saglemi Housing Project Is "White Elephant"- Atta Akyea ...

The Saglemi saga

In May 2019, the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akuffo, recommended to the Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea, to refer the Saglemi affordable Housing project to the appropriate authorities for criminal investigations and prosecution.

It came after Mr. Atta Akyea at a press conference said the ministry was awaiting an advice from the Attorney General on the way forward on the project which was initiated under the John Mahama-led administration.

The original contract signed under the NDC administration was supposed to deliver some 5,000 affordable housing units to Ghanaians at the cost of 200 million dollars. However, the contract was revised to deliver 1,502 affordable houses at the same cost of 200 million dollars.

According to the AG, there was no evidence to support the decision to vary the terms of the contract.

Contract termination 

Frustrated with the slow pace of work after the exit of the Mahama administration, the contractor working on the project, Constratora OAS Ghana Limited,  in April 2019 terminated its deal with the government.

The company communicated the decision to terminate the $200 million contract to the government on February 18, the company has said.

The contractor, in another letter dated March 8, and signed by Directors of the company, Charles Maia Galvao and Ricardo Rocha Ulm da Silva, demanded compensation from the government.

“…Further, the termination and following the provisions of the Agreement, the Contractor hereby presents variation to cover additional costs suffered by the contractor due to delays and disruptions which impacted the project and are attributable to the Employer,” stated the letter addressed to the Chief Director of the Works and Housing Ministry.

The letter listed some of the actions on the part of the government contributing to disruptions as “(i) tax exemption not fully conceded as per the conditions of the contract; (ii) tax exemption conceded beyond the time frame specified on the contract; (iii) Costs due the reduction of space of works and moreover, the suspension of works.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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