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General News of Tuesday, 21 June 2016


Former SADA boss blows over GHc180k on Turkey trip

Gilbert Seidu Iddi, former Chief Executive Officer of SADAGilbert Seidu Iddi, former Chief Executive Officer of SADA

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has instructed the management of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to surcharge the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority, Mr Gilbert Seidu Iddi, for a wasteful expenditure of GHc186, 372 on a trip to Turkey in 2012.

According to the report, the trip related to SADA and eight district assemblies that organised a sister city tour to Istanbul.

The 2013 Audit report revealed that SADA had also failed to recover an amount of one million dollars taken out of its coffers by the Finance Ministry to pay a certain construction company.

SADA also failed to retrieve over 2.7 million Ghana Cedis from Kukobila and Plus One who were engaged under the SADA initiative to produce and export sheanut squash.

Since 2013, the Authority has only retrieved 66, 000 out of the sum received.

Surcharge now

The Chairman of the PAC, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said per the Auditor-General's report, the monies spent on the officials on the trip, including Mr Iddi and a former Minister of State, Alhaji Dr Mustapha Ahmed, "were not productively used".

Therefore, he said, the management of SADA should serve Mr Iddi with a letter for a refund of the money and report to the PAC.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said if the former SADA CEO thought that he was not fairly treated, he could go to court to challenge that.

The Vice-Chairman of the PAC, Mr Samuel Atta-Akyea, reminded the current CEO of SADA, Mr Charles Abugre, that under the Financial Administration Act, he could be surcharged if he failed to take steps towards retrieving the money.

He cautioned Mr Abugre for attempting to justify the actions of Mr Iddi against the recommendations in the Auditor-General's report, saying that "One CEO cannot justify the actions of another CEO."

Mr Atta-Akyea said SADA CEO could only challenge the findings of the Auditor-General's Report in the High Court.

SADA's responses

Earlier, Mr Abugre told the PAC that the new Board and management were satisfied with the written explanation by the former CEO regarding the beneficial impact of the trip.

Outlining the benefits of the trip, Mr Abugre said the eight district assemblies received commitment from the Turkish authorities to be supported in local government training and scholarships to students from the districts.

He said the trip also explored opportunities in the establishment of a bus assembling plant and an equipment plant pool.

'Questionable' tenancy arrangement

The report indicated that SADA had refurbished the Ghana Cotton Company offices in the Northern Region at the cost of GHc598,500 without a memorandum of understanding for use as office accommodation, even though Wienco Ghana Limited now controlled the facility.

Responding, Mr Abugre said after the refurbishment of the offices, the building was sold to Wienco Ghana.

He said SADA now had a tenancy agreement with Wienco Ghana, which spelt out that SADA would not pay any rent till 2017.

Unapproved trip

The report indicated that GHc69,840 was used on an unapproved trip to Birmingham and Berlin.

The trip related to a marketing trip organised by Kasmed Seed to explore opportunities for the sale of butternut squash in which three SADA staff participated.

The report disclosed that two Board members of SADA, who had been tasked to perform administrative functions, were paid GHc60,000.

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