Politics

More than US$100m embezzled by NDC officials, contractor in Saglemi housing project – Works and Housing Minister

The Works and Housing Ministry has disclosed that contractors and NDC officials who supervised the Saglemi housing project embezzled over US$100m.

Minister for Works and Housing Samuel Atta Akyea says an audit report conducted by the Ghana Institution of Surveyors on Saglemi housing project revealed that over US$100m was embezzled by the contractor and NDC officials.

Despite this amount, Mr Atta Akyea said only 20 percent of the project was executed.

Speaking on Joy Prime, Mr Atta Akyea indicated that government has handed over the audit report of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors on the Saglemi Housing project to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for recommendations.

Review of the Project

The Ministry of Works and Housing in June this year engaged the services of the GhIS to review the state of the Saglemi Housing Project, including taking inventory of the stock of materials on site.

The minister had accused the former Works and Housing Minister under the Mahama administration, Collins Dauda, of varying the contract terms of the project after parliamentary approval, which was illegal.

According to the minister, although the contractor was paid close to US$200m for the construction of 5,000 housing units, only about 1,000 were built.

In an earlier interview, Mr. Atta Akyea stated: “Government has not abandoned Saglemi; it is tainted with embezzlement—there is no dispute about it. The GhIS has come out with a conclusive report to the effect that Saglemi is a rip-off. The amount of money that has been blown is over US$100m, but the housing structures over there do not measure up to the monies they have collected.”

On bringing persons culpable to book for the alleged malfeasance, he revealed that several officials involved in the project had been invited by the police for questioning, adding that once the CID concludes its work, it will forward the docket to the Attorney-General for advice.

He said government will find a credible contractor to continue the project, stressing that his ministry is pushing hard to ensure that Saglemi is not abandoned.

In May 2019, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akuffo, recommended to the Works and Housing Minister to refer the alleged malfeasance in the Saglemi Affordable Housing project to the appropriate authorities for criminal investigations and prosecution.

It came after Mr. Atta Akyea had said at a press conference that his ministry was awaiting advice from the Attorney-General on the way forward for the project, which was initiated under the John Mahama-led administration.

The original contract signed under the former administration was supposed to deliver some 5,000 affordable housing units to Ghanaians at a total project cost of US$200m. However, the contract was revised to deliver 1,502 affordable houses at the same cost.

Samuel Atta Akyea says the police have started questioning officials involved in the Saglemi housing project.

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