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General News of Friday, 11 April 2014

Source: citifmonline.com

SADA scandal: Don’t pass premature judgment – Minister

The Minister of State in-charge of Development Authorities at the Office of the President Dr. Ahmed Mustapha says it is premature to pass judgement on officials of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).

The 2012 Auditor General’s report has revealed financial malfeasance involving top officials at SADA that resulted in huge financial losses.

Speaking on Point Blank on Eyewitness News, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed described as “sad” for such allegations to be made against him and some other officials of SADA when management of the authority is “in the process of responding to a query that has come up of observations made by the audit team.”

He urged the media and the general public to segregate the issues raised in the Auditor General’s report before passing judgement on SADA officials.

The report states that, in 2012, SADA organized a trip to Turkey for three officials on behalf of some district assemblies including the former SADA boss, Seidu Iddi, the Minister in charge of SADA, Dr. Ahmed Mustapha and an executive assistant at SADA, Mahama Shaibu, at a cost GHc226,000 to SADA.

But according to the audit report, the trip did not fall within SADA’s mandate and did not bring any benefit to the Authority.

In response, Dr. Mustapha clarified that the story being peddled around in the media regarding the said Turkey trip suggests that it was one trip, but according to him, “a number of the trips had been undertaken even before my appointment…”

He described the trips as very useful, but was quick to add that the benefits will gradually be seen because “just one trip by a DCE [District Chief Executive] to a foreign country will result in a remarkable change of the living conditions or standards of living of the people.”

The Minister maintained that the setting up of SADA and its activities “have been value for money.”

According to him, his Ministry and SADA will adopt the final report from the Attorney General’s (AG) Department after it concludes a thorough review into the activities of SADA.

He expressed confidence that the AG’s department “will come out with the best form or advice or the best line of action to take in the circumstances that will protect the Ghanaian taxpayer.

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