The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ho West, Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, wants Construtora OAS Limited; the contractors on the botched Saglemi affordable housing deal, recalled to complete the project.
The legislator, who is a member of the Works and Housing Committee in Parliament, is also asking for the contractors to be surcharged should they fail to return.
Mr Bedzrah’s comments come on the heels of renewed calls on the government to see to the operationalization of the stalled project after years of abandonment.
Expressing worry about the lack of commitment to complete the project, the MP maintained that: “The contractor has also not done well in the sense that they were supposed to complete first the 1,500 units and sell, [before] the full 5,000 that has been earmarked. That has not been done. So for me, the contractor should be called back or surcharged to account for it. If the performance bond is still around, he should be recalled and that money should be used to complete what has been left for people to occupy [the houses],” he said on Eyewitness News.
“It’s heartache and at least, it is not in our best interest of the country to continue allowing the project to be in this state. The single thing that can be done is to complete it.”
The project, which was commenced under the Mahama administration, has stalled due to a decision by the Akufo-Addo administration to probe the financial arrangements around the project.
Decision to abandon Saglemi housing project ‘senseless’ – Hassan Ayariga
Leader of the All People’s Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga, has taken on the government for abandoning the Saglemi housing project.
Hassan Ayariga was disappointed the government had failed to make the project accessible to Ghanaians.
“This cannot happen in a country where millions of workers are struggling for accommodation, irrespective of the party they belong to. This is not a political party project. This is a government of Ghana project, and we cannot allow it to rot, no matter the circumstances of it. It does not make sense for anybody to leave such a project abandoned for years,” he said.
Controversies and audit validation
In 2018, the then Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea invited the Attorney-General to scrutinise the agreements.
There were reports that key contract documents were missing or had inconsistencies.
The government believed there was a misappropriation of funds in the project, resulting in shoddy work.
Mr. Atta Akyea has 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.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Works and Housing, has commenced the process of validating an audit report put together by the Ghana Institution of Surveyors on the deal.
Sector Minister, Francis Asenso-Boakye has stated that the validation is being done by Architectural and Engineering Services Limited, an agency under his ministry.
The Ghana Institution of Surveyors report commissioned by the former sector minister Mr. Atta Kyea raised concerns about the decision to revise the number of housing units from 5,000 to 1,502.
It also made some corruption allegations which are matters of investigation by the police.
However, the exercise commissioned by Mr. Asenso-Boakye seeks to validate the issues raised in the first report including the $32 million required to complete the project.
Mr. Asenso-Boakye in announcing the validation exercise said the Attorney General had recommended for the issue to be referred to the Criminal Investigations Department of Police for further probe.