National Communications Officer for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) says the real intention behind the prosecution in the stalled Saglemi Affordable Housing project goes beyond the alleged financial loss.
Sammy Gyamfi sees the development as an attempt by the Akufo-Addo-led government to detract from its inability to complete the project started by the erstwhile Mahama government.
“The case against Collins Dauda and others is frivolous and a poor attempt by the vindictive Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to create a convenient excuse for their abandonment of the Saglemi Housing project,” he said.
Former Works and Housing Minister, Collins Dauda, has seen charges pressed against him by the Attorney General for allegedly causing financial loss to the state in the deal.
Mr Dauda, who supervised the initiative at the time it was approved by Parliament, has also been charged with intentionally misapplying public property.
In the particulars of offences, he is said to have intentionally misapplied $200 million, “by causing the said amount, which had been approved by the Parliament of Ghana for the construction of 5,000 housing units, to be applied towards the payment of 1,412 housing units under the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project.”
Sammy Gyamfi disagrees with this assertion saying that there was no point at which the Ministry changed the target of 5,000 housing units.
At no point was the objective of building 5,000 houses approved by Parliament changed or varied, save that, same was supposed to be delivered in Phases. And this was going to be delivered with the approved amount of $200 million only and nothing more.
According to the NDC spokesperson, Mr Dauda “only amended and restated the Works Agreement in line with the same provisions and reduced the number of Phases from four to three to shorten the project duration.”
He insisted that this singular act by Samuel Atta Akyea, the former Works and Housing Minister without Parliamentary approval, is a crime, then his head must also roll.
“It is worthy of note, that the Akufo-Addo government under the leadership of Samuel Atta Akyea, as Minister for Works and Housing, amended and restated the Works Agreement and effected payments of over $5.6 million to the contractor for the project. Yet, neither Atta Akyea nor his Chief Director has been charged for any wrongdoing by this government,” Mr Gyamfi said.
He explained that “the decision that the 5000 housing units should be built in Phases was provided for in the Works Agreement which was executed by E.T. Mensah.”
“What Parliament had to approve was the terms of the loan agreement as required under Article 181 (1) of the Constitution which they did, and not the Works Agreement. In any case, the Works Agreement was amended and restated by the Akufo-Addo government without Parliamentary approval.
“And so assuming the lack of Parliamentary approval for the Works Agreement or a variation of same constitutes a crime, then why hasn’t Atta Akyea or his Chief Director been charged? Why this obscene selective application of the law?,” the Sammy Gyamfi quizzed.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for Eric Opoku says the money Mr Dauda is alleged to have misapplied was not given directly to him, it was rather disbursed by the Ministry of Finance.
“That $200 million was not given to Collins Dauda. Anyone who tells you that money was given to Mr Dauda is a liar. That money was presented to the Ministry of Finance and the Housing Ministry only supervised the project,” he insisted.