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General News of Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Source: Ghana Crusader

Norway Embassy: Government still wasting money on rent

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has disclosed that it is spending thousands of Euros in Norway on rent to keep Ghana’s foreign mission there.

In a press denying media reports that it is still considering plans to buy the infamous Oslo Chancery property, the Foreign Ministry said it has opted to spend money on monthly rent.

“Embassies in the area are paying forty-five thousand Euros (Euros 45,000) a month just for a chancery and we can’t sustain that.”

“For now, the Ambassador is in a rented one-bedroom apartment, the chancery is in an office block and officers are working from there but subsequently I think the decision will be made to purchase and we’re working towards that.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated, sector Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, never made comments that should suggest government is still pursuing that matter.

The statement follows publication on some online news portals that the Foreign Affairs Minister has stated the administration is still considering plans to buy the property to serve as chancery for the Ghanaian Embassy in Oslo Norway.

A rejoinder issued by the Ministry indicated the Minister was asked a question at a “Meet the Press” series about future plans to acquire chancery in Oslo and she explained government would eventually have to make that determination sooner or later.

The statement indicated: “The Minister explained that we have opened a Mission in Oslo, we have an Ambassador- resident, we have the full complement of staff in Oslo.”

“There is definitely the need for us to buy a property because it is a very expensive city. Norway is a very expensive country, therefore, there is a need for us to buy than rent.”

According to the rejoinder, the Minister only noted government is still considering buying a property to avoid paying excessive rents, which will not be financially sustainable.

“Yet the publication creates the impression that the Hon. Minister’s statement refers to the same building,” the Ministry said.

The Olso Chancery property became a matter for discussion when Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, last December pop the lid on the issue and alleged government had bought a US$12 million property in Norway to be used as an Embassy.

The North Tongu MP alleged cost of the property was inflated because same property was bought for US$3.5 million only a year before.

He presented documents on the floor of Parliament to back his claim of malfeasance at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Speaker of the House, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, however, rejected his evidence and ruled that it was not dependable.

The Minister, however, subsequently indicated an offer was made to purchase the building but had been rejected.

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