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General News of Wednesday, 10 July 2019


Parliament breached Procurement Laws in new Chamber deal, Architects reveal

It has emerged that Ghana’s Parliament under the leadership of Prof. Mike Aaron Ocquaye was lawless and reckless in the handling of the procurement procedure to get architectural design for the proposed new chamber.

In a statement to the press, the Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA) revealed that they were part of a “panel to adjudicate the design of New Chamber of Parliament Building.”

The umbrella body of all architects in Ghana has described the whole process as fraught with “gross infraction.”

“On the presentation of the 3 entities that were to compete, we realised a gross infraction. One of the submissions came from a Chinese Construction Company and per the laws of procurement under design competitions, a construction company is not eligible,” the GIA statement signed by Secretary Augustus Richardson revealed.

The designed prototype concept of the new proposed Chamber
The statement further read, “This raised questions about the restrictive selection process that Parliament had undertaken. The Parliamentary representative informed us that we could not be privy to that information. All it wanted us to do was to adjudicate the 2 submissions left so a winner can be selected as they were against time and had to have the chamber project started.”

The US$200million new parliamentary chamber has generated heated debate and anger of the citizenry with many questioning the priorities of government.

Though Acting Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Kate Addo has announced that the project was being shelved, architects have joined the fray in a fresh battle. Their concerns amid questioning the proprietary of the procurement procedure used, are part of a general problem architects have in the country. They lamented that for close to two years, they have been calling on authorities to induct into office a Governing Board of the Architects Registration Council (ARC) but to no avail.

The Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA) derives its constitutional authority from the Architects Act, NLCD 357 of 1969 and needs a board to carry the duties of regulating activities of architects and protecting the public interest.

GIA contends that, “…the recent announcement of the Construction of the New Chamber of Parliament, which has caused public outcry, is a clear example of this disregard for the Institute and the need for the Board of the ARC.”

“Suffice it to say that perhaps on the issue of the development of a new chamber for the parliament of Ghana, if there had been a Board, it would have advised on alternative responses for the challenges being argued in support of the project. We are of the opinion that perhaps the powers that be have deliberately reneged on their responsibility to deploy a new Board to enable some of these highly irregular activities to prevail,” the architects stated.

They also advised Parliament to adhere to the Public Procurement Act 914, 2016 to ensure transparency, equal opportunity and fairness.

Whether Speaker Mike Ocquaye and his ilk of Parliamentarians who make laws for all Ghanaians to obey will take the admonition by the Ghana Institute of Architects in good faith and abide by procurement laws religiously, is another matter which we all live to see!