Mahama’s Minister Bypassed Parliament In Reviewing $200m Housing Deal

Samuel Atta Akyea

IT HAS emerged that former Works and Housing Minister under the erstwhile John Mahama’s administration, Collins Dauda, bypassed Parliament in reviewing the $200 million Saglemi Housing Project.

Former President Mahama accordingly granted an Executive Order on August 15, 2012, for the Ministry of Works and Housing to oversee the construction of 5000 housing units for the sale to the general public through a mortgage arrangement to be undertaken by the Ghana Home Loans.

Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, addressing journalists at the Information Ministry on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, says the contract was subsequently forwarded to Parliament for approval after the Executive Order was granted.

He stated that a Brazilian construction firm incorporated into Ghana, Constratora OAS Ghana Limited, was contracted to execute the Saglemi Project.

The contract approved by Parliament was clearly for the construction of 5,000 housing units at a cost of $200 million.

According to him, on 27th February, 2014, without Parliamentary approval, Mr. Dauda and the then Chief Director of the Housing Ministry, reviewed the contract with the company.

He stated that Mr. Dauda reviewed the contract first and later the Chief Director also reviewed it.

Mr. Atta Akyea says after the review, the housing units were reduced from 5000 to 1502.

The reduction meant that 3498 housing units were taken out of the original deal approved by Parliament without approval.

However, secretly on the blindside of Parliament and the entire nation, the original contract sum of $200 million was maintained for 1502 units instead of the earmarked 5000 units.

He disclosed that the 1502 units should have cost at least $60 million, announcing that the country was woefully shortchanged through the reviewed contract.

According to the Minister, the Saglemi Project “has serious challenges” some of which borders on legality and criminality.

As a result, he said the New Patriotic Party’s Government headed by President Akufo-Addo, had been quiet since taking over power trying to conduct investigations into the deal, saying “until your facts are in tight, don’t speak.”

He indicated that the Attorney General (AG), Gloria Akuffo had been briefed and she has assured Government to speedily advise on the issue.

The NDC recently sought to play propaganda with the deal, projecting government as though attempting to abandon the project.

The Minister says Government has plans to complete the project but noted that it cannot do so under the current deal.

He said a lot of investors have expressed interest in the deal and once the contract with the Brazilian construction firm is terminated, a new investor is likely to be engaged.

But he warned that those who took part in the fraudulent deal would be dealt with by the law.

BY Melvin Tarlue