A former Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Sampson Ahi, has accused the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, of not properly perusing the documents covering the Saglemi Housing Project before accusing the erstwhile Mahama administration of shortchanging Ghanaians by 3,498 housing units.
This follows Mr Atta Akyea’s comments that initial 5,000-housing units-project pegged at USD200 million was reviewed downwards twice – in terms of the number of units – “under bizarre circumstances” without parliamentary approval.
However, Mr Ahi, who is also the MP for Bodi, is of the view that Mr Akyea would not be speaking the way he did if he had done his checks properly.
“If the minister had taken the trouble to read the contract agreement, he would have realised that the project was supposed to be done in three phases and the first phase was 1,502 [units] and we could account for all the 1,502 before we left office, so, I don’t see where the minister is coming from,” he told Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on Class91.3FM’s 505 news programme on Wednesday, 24 April 2019.
Mr Ahi further criticised Mr Akyea for failing to seek clarification from his predecessors and the consultant for the project before running to the media.
At a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, 24 April 2019, Mr Akyea said his predecessor, Mr Collins Dauda, under the Mahama administration, failed to exhaust laid-down procedures in his move to scale down the number of housing units to about 1,000 at a cost of USD100 million.
The Minority in Parliament has been mounting pressure on the government to release the completed housing units for habitation to address the two million housing deficit in the country.
However, Mr Akyea revealed that the housing units are unfit for purpose in spite of the huge cash paid to the contractor.
He is, therefore, assuring Ghanaians that his ministry will release the facility for public use once the Attorney General gives her legal opinion on the best way forward.
Asked if he had contacted Mr Dauda after he discovered the anomalies, Mr Akyea said: “If I started poking my nose into what Collins Dauda did, somebody might interpret that as: ‘Have you come to hound him?’ You know what a minister does, you just hand over the facts to the Attorney General and if they believe it should go to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), it will go to EOCO and that is when they will invite you”.
The Abuakwa South MP said he is not interested in personality clashes, but “I’m here to give you facts, in cold print, these are not my inventions”.
The lawmaker disclosed that: “This is an inherited trouble that I have met but I can assure you that I am not here to malign anybody, the facts are speaking for themselves… In good time, those who have the powers of investigation, when they go there, they might have to explain, they might never go there, I don’t know, but let’s apply the pleasure of the Attorney General”.
In 2016, former President Mahama commissioned the first phase of the project to complete 1,500 of 5,000 housing units.
A percentage of the houses are to be sold at subsidised rates for low-income earners in the country.
The project was expected to be a complete city, with industrial and recreational facilities, schools, shopping malls and other social amenities.
This was meant to provide a solution to the housing deficit in the country.
However, the project is incomplete with the current administration blaming the past administration for various lapses.