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General News of Sunday, 24 February 2008

Source: Crusading Guide

A-G dares NDC man for proof on JAK’s house renovation

The Auditor-General (A-G), Mr. Dua Agyeman, has dismissed as a blatant lie, the claim by one Mr. Kobby Acheampong, a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), that an amount of US$3,985,678.75 had been spent on renovating President J.A. Kufuor’s house.

“Anybody who is making such a claim should even find out how much had been allocated in the budget that year for the President’s office”, said the A-G.

He asked whether the alleged money was taken from somewhere else apart from the Consolidated Fund?

According to the A-G, if such an amount was drawn from the money allocated to the President’s office in the budget that year, there would not have been any money left to pay the staff of the President’s office.

In an interview with this paper, Mr. Dua Agyeman said that, as the Auditor-General, he caused investigations to be conducted into what went into the constructional and electrical works undertaken at the President’s private residence by the Public Works Department (PWD) Prestige in 2001.

He said the investigations were done in September, 2003, in the wake of allegations that large sums of money had been spent in renovating the President’s private residence.

The A-G said the investigations revealed that the works undertaken in the President’s private house were: “clearing of the bushy area opposite the house and converting it into a car park; provision of barbed wire fence behind the house and construction of observation post at the area and provision of additional lights on the street in front of the residency and at the rear of the house”.

He said all the materials were estimated to cost ¢41,147,929.00.

According to him, his team of investigators found out that building materials worth ¢50,952,000 were issued from PWD Prestige routine maintenance store for the job, but only ¢24.5 million worth were used.

“Materials worth ¢26,426,500 collected for the jobs did not get to site”, the AG disclosed.

He said he recommended that Messrs Daniel Anum and S.N.A. Ahulu, who were in charge of the works, be penalized and made to refund ¢9,365,900 and ¢17,060,600 respectively. The amounts were the value of materials diverted.

The AG said copies of the report on his findings had been given to the Ministry of Works and Housing and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General.

Meanwhile Kobby Acheampong, last Saturday on Joy FM’s current affairs programme “News File” read a purported document he claimed was obstained from the Architectural Engineering Service Consultants (AESC).

According to Mr. Acheampong, when President Kufuor was sworn into office in January 2001, he refused to use the Castle or Flagstaff house as his official residence, adding that the same Castle was used by ex-President Jerry Rawlings to host former US President, Bill Clinton and the Queen of England.

He the President’s refusal to stay at the Castle clearly showed that “he (President) had a long-term agenda that he was in for a real business”.

Mr. Acheampong alleged that an amount of $3,985,678.75 being State fund, had so far been spent since 2001 on the President’s private residence.

Although the Communication Consultant could not back his claims with authentic documents except his exclusive AESC document, he argued vehemently that the President’s house had been refurbished to the level of a semi-presidential palace.

“Works so far carried out include the replacement of fence wall, replacement of polished ply wood ceiling with P.O.P and ceiling and soundcheckers, replacement of existing NACO louver frames, blades, and all one-side Odum panel door with glazed Italian aluminium sliding door fitted with security gadgets to match”, he alleged.

Mr. Acheampong said all enamel washing basins (WC) and baths have been replaced with Jacuzzis imported from Italy.

He read from his AESC document that the President’s residence now had a complete four bedroom presidential recreation centre, with a basement fully refurbished with four Jacuzzi bath and all security gadgets befitting a presidential security standard.

The President’s house, he said, had a new swimming pool with tiles imported from Italy and Britain respectively; a new club house attached to the recreational centre with a gym, a bar, video room, separate tennis and snooker room all well-furnished and fitted with necessary presidential security gadgets to match”.

According to him, extensive work was done on the fence of the house which was fitted with high intensity lights at 2.5 metre intervals all round with 12 security tower lights.

See Crusading Guide website for details on materials that were used and those that were diverted.

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