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General News of Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Source: Myjoyonline

Prosecute alleged wrong-doers cited in SADA report - Send-Ghana Director

The country Director of Send-Ghana, a non-governmental organization, George Osei-Bimpeh, has recommended that those cited for alleged malfeasance in the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) report must be charged with causing financial loss to the state.

According to him, prosecuting the case in court will help retrieve monies invested in the SADA project, but had not been used for the intended purposes in the selected communities in the three Northern regions and parts of the Volta and Brong Ahafo regions.

“Send-Ghana invested $250,000 in a module and has achieved a lot of success in some parts of the North. So, how then do we allow millions of Ghana Cedis to go unaccounted for?” He wondered.

SADA in partnership with Asongtaba Cottage Industries planted 5 million trees in the three northern regions of Ghana -- Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions -- as well as parts of Brong Ahafo and Volta regions of the SADA ecological zones; with the aim of greening those areas and reducing the effect of climate change at a cost of GHc33 million.

However, a long dry season and bushfires allegedly destroyed majority of the trees planted.

An interim report by the Auditor-General states that GHc1,059,649.00 went into “Inappropriate mode of selecting Consultants,” for SADA.

According to the report, SADA had employed the services of highly skilled professionals who are well remunerated to carry out their assignments, yet management contracted four consultants and had been paying them monthly fees totaling a whopping GHc620,206.00.

The four are Dr. Charles Jebuni as Chief Technical Advisor, who took a total of GHc437,206.00 in a period of 22 months (GHc19,873.00 monthly); Salifu Mahama as Engineer for Housing, took a total of GHc96,000.00 in 16 months (GHc6,000.00 monthly); Bakari Sadiq Nyari, Land, grabbed a total of GHc108,000.00 in 10 months (GHc10,800.00 monthly) and Kennedy S. Mohammed, Resource Mobilization, collected a total of GHc75,000.00 in 10 months (GHc7,500.00 monthly).

Six officials of 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.

The situation has led to public criticisms of SADA officials for purported malfeasance in the implementation of the projects.

In an interview with Afia Pokua on Adom FM/Asempa FM’s Burning Issues on the way forward for the SADA projects, Mr. Osei-Bimpeh called for the law to take its course.

Mr. Osei-Bimpeh believes consulting the right stakeholders would have helped in prioritizing the needs of those in the SADA selected communities.