General News of Thursday, 27 September 2018
The Works and Housing Ministry says it has found evidence of shoddy work and potential corruption in the contract to build 5000 affordable housing units.
Deputy Housing Minister, Freda Prempeh, said the project at Saglemi in the Greater Accra Region which started in 2014 at a cost of $200 million is yet to be finished.
She said the Ministry has committed to launching a full-scale probe into the matter with a affirm assurance that anyone found culpable will be prosecuted.
Speaking in an interview with Joy FM in New York, she said she is disappointed that although the scope of work was reduced from 5,000 to 1,504, the cost element remained the same.
“They further reduced the units to build 1,408 and subsequently 1,204 all at the same $200 million.
“The last time I went to the contractors and asked them if the President wants to commission the project how many houses are available, they said 442 out of the 5000 units,” she added.
Related: First phase of Saglemi housing project ready March 2016
In June 2016, former President John Mahama commissioned a portion of the completed housing units at Ningo as part of phase one of the affordable housing project.
The completed units have remained unoccupied since its commissioning
Last year, the Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea revealed the intention of the government is to complete the housing projects started by the previous administrations in 2018.
But the Ministry says the contractors have only completed fewer units although they have already been paid 98 per cent of the contract cost (over $198 million).
This development, Mrs Prempeh believes needs to be probed.
“We cannot even find documents to all these [monies paid], I had to go the extra mile to the Bank of Ghana and Finance Ministry.
“What we found was some scanty documents,” she said adding “the last time we met with some of the contractors and their delegations, one of them asked me where I found of the documents I had,” she disclosed.
According to the Deputy Minister, she will at the appropriate time hand the matter over to the police to investigate it further.
“I am not going to allow things to be the way they are right now, we will find solutions to what does not add up.
“Those culpable will be brought to book. I don’t want to conclude that it is ‘create loot and share’ but we will get to the bottom of it,” she said.
Meanwhile, the government has just signed a $5 billion dollar deal with the UN to build a 100,000 affording housing units across the country.
Mrs Prempeh is optimistic this will facilitate the government’s plan to roll out its policy of one district one housing project.
Saglemi project: Deputy Housing Minister's claims false - Sampson Ahi Meanwhile the immediate past Deputy Works and Housing Minister, Sampson Ahi is fighting off claims the Mahama government failed to do due diligence on a 5,000-unit affordable housing project at Saglemi in the Greater Accra Region.
Samson Ahi, who is also the ranking member on the Parliamentary Committee on Housing is surprised that it has taken government two years to raise the issue about the project.
According to him, the government got it wrong with its assessment of the project, urging the officials of the current administration to act on the handing over documents it received on the project during the transition period.
Reacting to Freda Prempeh's allegation in an interview with Joy FM on Wednesday, Mr Ahi said that a project, which had parliamentary approval, could not have been mismanaged as is being suggested.
“At the time we left office about 1,400 units had been completed with others at various stages of completion.
“Some were at the footing, lintel, window levels while others were at the roofing level,” he Samson Ahi explained, Wednesday. The Sefwi Bodi Legislator’s comment follows the current Housing Ministry’s claim that there is rife evidence of shoddy work and potential corruption in the contract to build 5,000 affordable housing units.
Mr Ahi said if the Deputy Minister does not understand something in her ministry, she only has to look for the appropriate information.
He quizzed Mrs Prempeh if she has the technical eye to say that the project was shoddily executed?
The Sefwi Bodi MP explained that the ministry employed the services of civil engineering company Architecture And Engineering Services Limited (AESL) a government agency, to provide a consultancy.
“There is no way AESL will not work in the interest of government. But when you have a Deputy Minister who does not want to deal with a government agency but rather a private person that is where the problem is,” he said.
According to him, the substantive Minister, Atta Akyea, in May 2017 visited the site and commended the work done so far.
He added that it is only fair that the Deputy Minister goes to AESL to get the necessary documents instead of asking private companies.