The Housing Minister has disclosed that his predecessor reduced the Saglemi Housing Project contract as approved by Parliament.
Describing it as a sour point in wasting the taxpayer’s money, Samuel Atta-Akyea said Collins Dauda went contrary to Parliament’s approved $200 million for 5000 housing units.
He told journalists at a presser Wednesday that on February 27, 2014, the Collins Dauda-headed Ministry without any approval, reviewed the original agreement with Constratora OAS Ghana Limited.
“They signed what they called ‘First and restated agreement’ with Constratora OAS Ghana Limited to define the number of houses to be constructed [that is 1502 housing units] but the price of the project remained the same.
Housing Minister, Samuel Atta-Akyea
“It means that by that single act, Ghanaians were shortchanged in terms of housing units by 3498 units. Simple arithmetic should tell you with 1502 units the of contract sum should be less,” he said.
According to the Akim Abuakwa South MP, that should have cost the country $60 million and not $200 million paid the company.
Last week, it emerged that the contractor, Constratora OAS Ghana Limited, wrote to terminate the contract with government.
The decision was communicated to government on February 18, the company said.
The contractor has, in another letter dated March 8, and signed by Directors of the company, Charles Maia Galvao and Ricardo Rocha Ulm da Silva, demanded compensation from the government.
“…Further, the termination and following the provisions of the Agreement, the Contractor hereby presents Variation to cover additional costs suffered by Contractor due to Delays and Disruptions which impacted the project and are attributable to the Employer,” stated the letter addressed to the Chief Director of the Works and Housing Ministry.
The letter listed some of actions on the part of the government contributing to disruptions as “(i) tax exemption not fully conceded as per the conditions of the contract; (ii) tax exemption conceded beyond the time frame specified on the contract; (iii) Costs due the reduction of space of works and moreover, the suspension of works.”
But Samuel Atta-Akyea said recent documents they have sighted show that the state was short-changed in the $200 million deal which was entered into by the John Mahama government.
According to the Minister, through painstaking efforts, they found the escrow management account document which “was very explicit that there was no confusion in the mind of government as to the housing units to be rolled out.”
He said the document is very consistent with the approval given by Parliament for the project.
The Housing Minister said, the issue has been referred to the Attorney-General for advice and the Ministry will act once that is done.