A former deputy Minister of Works and Housing under the Mahama administration, Sampson Ahi, has described the Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea’s consistent threats of prosecution over the Saglemi Housing project as needless.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Ahi said there was no basis for Mr. Akyea’s suggestions of criminality in the matter.
In his view, since the minister is awaiting a report on the value for money audit “it is strange that the minister [Akyea] since 2017 has been threatening former ministers with court action.”
“If you are still in the process of auditing, why are you threatening to take people to court,” he questioned.
Mr. Ahi further suggested that the state may be trying to shirk responsibility in the lack of progress in the project.
“The Minster had a different agenda other than speaking to the real issues with regard to the execution of the project,” he remarked.
“Under his watch, he honoured certificates raised by consultants and paid a contractor $1.6 million… if what he is saying is the truth, then he is also equally supposed to face the law.”
In 2019, Mr. Akyea suggested there was an ongoing investigation into the project.
In 2018, he said he had invited the Attorney General to look into the $180 million the project.
Mr. Akyea had accused a former Works and Housing Minister, Collins Dauda, of altering the original agreement for the Saglemi housing project without recourse to Parliament.
He claimed that after Parliament passed the agreement in October 2012 for the construction of 5,000 housing units, the then minister reviewed the contract scaling down the number of units to some 1,500 units and later to 1,024 units after another review in 2016.
The first phase of the project, with 1,500 housing units, which was commissioned by John Mahama in 2016 have been left unused for more than a year now.
The project, which was intended to reduce the country’s massive housing deficit is seated on a 300-acre land with one to three-bedroom apartments for low-income earners.
Oquaye orders parliamentary probe into botched Saglemi housing deal
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye has ordered a parliamentary probe into the housing deal.
Prof. Oquaye gave a joint committee of Parliament two weeks to look into the deal and report the findings to the House.
The Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Works and Housing Committees have been tasked to conduct the inquiry.
“The House’s Committee on Works and Housing and leadership of Constitution and Legal committee are enjoined to look into this matter which has appeared before the House in all its aspects and report as a matter of urgency to this Honourable House within two weeks,” he ordered.