The firm awarded the Marine Drive Project, has told Joy News about how the contract he worked on for years, was snatched from him and handed to Sir David Adjaye by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) when it came into power in 2017.
Lead Consultant for The Consortium, Frank Tackie said his firm’s work on the project which was conceived during the era of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, started in 1991.
Mr. Tackie said in that year, The Consortium won an international tender sponsored by the UNDP to come up with a master plan for the redevelopment of Accra Central area.
“Within that project, we conceived 10 priority projects that can be done to revamp the Accra Central area and the most paramount was the Marine Drive which we recast and redesigned in 1991. It got cabinet approval for funding in 1996 and somebody kept his eyes off the ball so it was not put in the budget so it was not funded.
The plan was, however, revived during the tenure of former president John Agyekum Kufuor when the late Jake Obetsebibi-Lamptey was Tourism Minister.
Again, although the government had shown interest, it failed to raise funds for the commencement of the project, leaving it hanging throughout Kufuor’s eight-year tenure.
The Consortium was not discouraged by the constant disappointments. During former president John Mahama’s administration in 2012, another tender was opened for the project and again, they put in their bid.
“We won the tender,” Mr Tackie told Joy News’ Emefa Apawu in an interview, Thursday.
They had almost begun work on the project when the current administration won power in 2016.
Sir Adjaye was awarded the National Cathedral contract
Yet again, the project went under some reviews and the grounds were broken for the project to commence. The Consortium stayed on as lead contractors.
“And then (sic) somewhere around September , I got a hint from the then Tourism Minister [Catherine Afeku] that they were bringing Sir David Adjaye to see to how he can work with us to extend the project beyond the boundaries of Marine Drive to cover a wider see front,” Mr Tackie narrated.
Unknown to him, however, plans had already been made to hand over the project to Sir Adjaye’s Adjaye and Associates.
The Consortium surprised by the development contacted the Tourism Minister who confirmed that they were no longer contractors for the project as the president had ordered that it is given to Adjaye and Associates, he claimed.
Mr. Tackie said his company was compensated for the work they had already done.
“It is heartbreaking,” he said, adding “so we had to lay off some workers and fold our arms and watch God for the next project, really.”
Mr. Tackie is in support of his other colleagues who have gone through similar experiences where contracts they had won, were suddenly withdrawn and handed to Sir Adjaye.
He disagrees with those who say the Architects and Engineers who are complaining about Sir Adjaye, are doing so because he is more competent than they are.
“The issue is not competence. The issue is about transparency which runs through all of them. If those institutions who awarded the contracts can show the procurement processes…I can testify that in the case of the Marine Drive project, I went through advertised national competitive tender.
“If some of the things we do here were done in the UK, I don’t think he (Sir Adjaye) would have had the chance to do any project because, if we do hand-picking of things and there is no transparency in contract awards or procurement processes, then everybody can jump up there,” he said.
He cited the New Parliamentary Chamber Complex which was handed to the UK-based architect of Ghanaian descent although Parliament has explained his company went through competitive tendering.
Mr. Tackie’s complaint comes after the President of the Ghana Institute of Architect has urged the government to adhere to the law in the award of key projects to Architects.
Speaking Wednesday on MultiTV’s current affairs programme, PM Express, Nii Dadey said local Architects feel sidelined by the government, mainly, and other private institutions for iconic projects awarded to persons or groups who are not recognised by the Institute -- in contravention of the law.
That caution came after Design Associates Development Consortium, a local architectural firm, cited legal breaches in the award of multiple projects to Sir David Adjaye, renowned for his iconic design ideas.
In the petition to the president, Coordinator of the Consortium, Dr Ekow Sam, said in the petition that some 12 projects were awarded Sir Adjaye without regards to Ghana’s procurement laws (Act 663).
Dr Sam also claimed in the petition that the award of the National Cathedral and New Parliamentary Chamber, among others, were awarded to Sir Adjaye’s Adjaye and Associates without adhering to principles of transparency, fairness, equity and laws governing the procurement of professional services by statutory companies and bodies.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Service Board (PSB) has justified its decision to award a contract for the architectural design of the proposed new complex to UK-based Sir David Adjaye and Associates.
The PSB in a seven-page response signed by Secretary, Matthew Abrefa Tawiah, Thursday, described claims in the petition “unfortunate” and “far-fetched”.