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July 16, 2020
Front Page Ghana
Politics

Saglemi Housing Project: Gov’t pursues former Minister, directors over embezzlement

Minister for Works and Housing, Atta Akyea, has disclosed that the Ghana Institute of Surveyors has been engaged to conduct a value for money audit on the Saglemi Housing Project.

Findings of the audit, he said, will indicate the extent of embezzlement of state resources using the vehicle of the affordable housing project.

According to him, all the traducers of the law will be arraigned before court to answer criminal charges while civil action will be used to recover all monies lost to the state.

Atta Akyea disclosed this during question time in Parliament when he responded to a question on the status of the project and when Ghanaians will begin to benefit from the houses.

He suggested the contractor that worked on the project under the erstwhile John Mahama administration must have bewitched the then Ministry for Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH) into paying huge sums of monies without evidence of work.

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According to him, the Ministry paid a sum of US$80 million representing 40% of the contract sum as mobilization to the Contractor.

This racket, he said, was so strong that the Ministry did not demand a performance bond as a necessary prerequisite before releasing the money.

He said, “I do not know if the then MWRWH had been bewitched by the Contractor.”

“I submit that the seed of the bankruptcy of the Saglemi Housing Project was sown by this dubious act,” he stated.

According to him, Parliament granted approval for the construction of 5,000 affordable housing units by Messrs Construtora OAS Ghana Limited with a buyer’s credit of US$200 million.

The project, he said, was subsequently downsized to 1,502 housing units, and strangely with the same contract sum of US$200 million.

He stated that on 21st December, 2016, 14 days after President John Dramani Mahama had lost in the elections, the then Chief Director, Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu and the Contractor, reviewed the first amended and restated agreement and signed the Second and Restated Agreement, in which the scope of the works were reduced to 1,024 instead of the parliamentary-approved 5000 housing units, 388 to be finished completely externally and 90 units to be left at foundation or lintel levels.”

The sum of the total units to be constructed, he said, was also revised to US$181,519,000.”

“In July 2017 the new Chief Director reviewed the Second amended and restated agreement and signed a Third Amendment and restated EPC Agreement.”

“This extended the period to December 2017, to allow the contractors to complete the project.”

“The scope in the Second and Restated Agreement was maintained but the contract price was reviewed further downwards to US$181,018,000.00,” he stated.

According to him, the Attorney-General has asserted that the contract has elapsed since May 2019 and suggested that all the agreements signed by the then Minister Collins Dauda and the Chief Directors after the original contract had received parliamentary approval are void and have no legal consequence.

Government, he said, is investigating the contract after which it will complete the project in accordance with Article 35(7) of the constitution.

Frontpageghana.com/Ghana/Uthman A. Marani

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