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Regional News of Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Source: thechronicle.com.gh

Kojo Bonsu mute over Manhyia fracas

The under-fire Metro Chief Executive Officer of Kumasi, Mr Kojo Bonsu has refused to comment on a purported letter he wrote to a representative of the Asantehene, Nana Agyenim Boateng, questioning his status as a member of the committee on the Kejetia project.

The letter, which is said to have angered the Manhyia Palace, questioned the involvement of Nana Agyenim Boateng, who is also the Chief of Amoaman, as a representative of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in the ongoing execution of the Kejetia project.

Yesterday the Mr Kojo Bonsu took journalists round the Kejetia project to dispel rumours that the project had been completed and he Kojo Bonsu had started selling them at exorbitant prices to traders.

This reporter who was part of the journalists that accompanied the mayor took the advantage to question him the rationale behind the letter which has pitched him against the traditional authorities. KojoBonsu quickly rebutted it, contending that he would not comment on the matter as it was not the reason for the visit.

“I have said that I won’t comment on that issue; my preoccupation is the fact that I have been accused of fraud and that is what I am here to prove. You have seen everything for yourselves so please go and report what you have seen,” he said.

However, information gathered by The Chronicle reveals that efforts by high profile personalities in Government to broker truce between the MCE and the Manhyia Palace have yet to achieve the desired results, as Nananom are treating his letter and subsequent actions with great contempt.

On the sale of the market stores, Mr Kojo Bonsu, who has recently come under pressure from his own Assembly members, as well as the traditional authority in Kumasi, says there is no iota of truth in the allegations, as the stores, which he is alleged to have sold were yet to be completed.

But the embattled MCE has refused to be drawn into the controversies over his relationship with the Manhyia Palace, as far as the Kejetia redevelopment project, as well as issues about funding was concerned, when approached by The Chronicle.

Some Assembly members, led by the former Presiding Member, Kofi Senyah, alleged during a press conference last week that the MCE had teamed up with his Spokesperson to create a backdoor, different from an existing arrangement, to allocate completed stores at astronomical prices to traders.

The Assembly members at the press conference also alleged that the MCE had shown gross disrespect to traditional authorities in the metropolis after questioning the legitimacy of the representative of the Asantehene to a committee charged with the responsibility of overseeing the construction of the market and subsequent allocation of completed stores to deserved traders.

But Kojo Bonsu, who led a team, including some traders to the construction site yesterday to ascertain the veracity of the allegations, expressed his displeasure at the naked lies being perpetrated against him by some of the Assembly members.

According to him, the said stores were yet to be completed, let alone allocate to traders at unapproved prices, stressing that the allegations were not only bogus, but also deceptive.

The tour by the MCE, therefore, was to allow the media and some representatives of the traders association to see the progress of work and to dispel rumours that about 2,000 stores had been completed and ready for sale.
“I brought you here today to see things for yourselves; as you can see none of the stores has been completed, work is still progressing and we are nowhere near completion,” he noted, adding that, the allegations were machinations by his detractors to denigrate his image and that of the government.

ASSEMBLY MEMBERS HEAP MORE PRESSURE

But the KMA Mayor would still have to deal a lot more with his own Assembly members who have raised fresh allegations against him.

At a press conference addressed by the Assembly members for Abusuakruwa, Maxwell Ofosu Boakye, the local representatives listed a number of infractions and administrative lapses which they said had occurred under the tenure of the MCE.

They cited for instance, the refusal by the MCE to honour an invitation extended to him by a Fact-Finding Committee which was set up by the Asantehene, which was under the chairmanship of the Asokore Mamponghene, Nana Boakye Ansah Debrah, to look into the impasse at the Assembly.

The Assembly members also recollected the colossal amount of over USD 4.4 million that was expended on the Rattray Park, an amount which petition is still under investigations by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).

They further pointed out that the ongoing constructions of three satellite markets at Tafo, Atonsu and Asawase, under GUMPP facilities were being done without recourse to the originally arranged, designed and approved plans.

“Kojo Bonsu and his technical men have swapped the projects proposed modern trading centres with that of markets comprising sheds and stores which price tags are beyond the reach of the common man on the streets,” they said.

The Assembly members pointed out that at the ongoing construction of the satellite market at Asawase, one shed has been pegged at GH 2,000 whilst an upper store is going for as high as GH 6,000 with a lower one going for GH 8,000.

“In the like manner, the redevelopment of these stores could only cater for a paltry number of traders who before the exercise occupied the stores. A typical example is the Tafo market where over 700 people were registered as beneficiaries, but regrettably the total number of stores only stood at 216,” the Assembly members noted, stressing that they are additionally baffled by the fact that GUMPP Grants do not necessarily attract fees from beneficiaries.

The Assembly members further alleged outrageously that the MCE had become the latest owner of a USD 500,000 British Model Bently which he had kept at a safe location in Accra.

Though the Assembly members displayed a picture of the said vehicle purchased by the MCE, they could not produce any documentary evidence to substantiate their allegations.