Saglemi housing project under scrutiny

Individuals involved in the Saglemi Housing Project under former John Dramani Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration are set to appear before the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to assist in investigations.

This is because government is said to have handed over the report of its forensic audit into the project to the CID for prosecution.

Last June the Ministry of Works and Housing engaged the services of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GhIS) to audit the project and take inventory of materials on-site and the state of the Project. 

Sector Minister Samuel Atta Akyea who disclosed this to the media in Parliament indicated that the project is tainted with embezzlement and that the audit report has discovered major fraud of over US$100 million.

Mr. Atta Akyea has accused his predecessor, Collins Dauda and other government officials, of illegally varying the contract terms after Parliament had approved it, and indicated that although the contract was about US$200 million for the construction of 5,000 housing, just about 1,000 were delivered.

According to him, the Akufo-Addo government has not abandoned the Saglemi project but needed to address the fraud detected in the execution to ensure the state purse is not short-changed.

“I am not here to embarrass anybody but if you didn’t go through the legalities of it, how do you continue? Now that we have surrendered the report of GhIS to the CID, we can deal with the issue of continuation.

“The Government has not abandoned Saglemi but it is tainted with embezzlement. There is no dispute about it and I could tell you that the GhIS has come out with a conclusive report to the fact that Saglemi is a rip-off.”

“And the amount of money that has been blown is over US$100 million but the housing structures over there do not measure up to the monies they have collected.”

He disclosed that several officials involved with the project have been invited including the former Minister, Collins Dauda.

Mr. Atta Akyea indicated that government will put the project through a public-private arrangement to secure a credible contractor to continue and assured the Ministry is putting in all efforts to ensure the project is not abandoned.

Speaker of Parliament Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, last June, ordered a parliamentary probe into alleged misappropriation of about $200 million meant for the Saglemi Housing Project.

The original contract signed under the NDC administration was supposed to deliver some 5,000 affordable housing units to Ghanaians at the cost of US$200m.

However, the contract was subsequently revised to deliver 1,502 affordable houses at the same cost without recourse to Parliament.