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Regional News of Monday, 28 April 2014

Source: myjoyonline.com

Savannah ministers rally around troubled SADA

Ministers of the 3 regions of the North have renewed their confidence in the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) despite an avalanche of reports of impropriety, corruption and malfeasance.

The project seen as government's "comprehensive" response to reduce poverty in the three mainly savannah regions has only served to increase public perception of corruption.

This was after JOYNEWS investigations uncovered irregularities in the operations of SADA.

The project cultivated 35-acres of mangos without any plan to irrigate the plantation in the dry season, causing the mangos, along with the prospect of job creation, to wither away.

SADA claimed it entered into a joint venture with Asongtaba Cottage Industry and Exchange Programme to produce and market guinea fowls, but though SADA paid its 12 million Ghana Cedis to the joint venture, the former CEO at the time, Gilbert Iddi, doesn't know if Asongtaba paid its 15 million Ghana cedi side of the deal.

Six officials of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) have also been asked to pay back over 830,000 Ghana cedis to the Authority.

Two of the six who are board members, are supposed to pay back GHc60,000 they received from SADA for performing unspecified administrative duties.

In all these revelations, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) says its investigation into allegations of corruption at SADA has been hampered by lack of resources.

The commission has not received any budgetary allocation this year and as a result, the investigation is still in its preliminary stages.

This has resulted in calls for the authority to be scrapped because it has failed to bridge the development gap between the North and the South.

The Agency did not receive any budgetary support for 2014 and the President was silent on the project during his State of the Nation's address early this year.

Analysts and commentators see this as the beginning of the end for the project that promised so much.

But the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regional Ministers say the authority still has the potential to achieve its mandate despite the scandals.

Manasseh Azure Awuni who uncovered the rot, spoke to the Upper West regional minister Bede Ziedeng.

"We must consider SADA as a baby, SADA is still growing up...it is the first of its kind...because of our long period of deprivation [in the North], our expectation is very high. SADA needs time to grow," he weighed in.

His counterpart in the Upper East, Dr. Ephraim Avea Nsoh, wants the project to be decentralised if it is to be successful.

Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Limuna Muniru, cited leadership as the bane of SADA.

"Let's get the right people to do the job for us...we shouldn't allow it to die," he rallied.

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