General News of 2014-02-02

Guinea fowl contract abrogation “half-hearted” - GII

Anti-graft Campaigner Vitus Azeem has described as "half-hearted" the President's termination of two SADA contracts and called for a total “overhaul” of the entire programme.

“The whole management has to move because you cannot blame just one person for what happened at SADA and it’s not just a matter of terminating the contract. What happened to the monies that were involved? Which officers were involved in the contracts that they signed? So there is still a lot more to be done than just asking a contract to be terminated”, he said on Strict Proof on Friday.

The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) was set up to bridge the development gap between the rich south and the poor north.

The programme has however been fraught with massive allegations of corruption, necessitating a probe upon which report the President recently directed the Attorney General to abrogate two contracts – guinea fowl rearing; and afforestation and tree-planting projects – signed with private company Asongtaba Cottage Industries (ACI).

A statement from the Presidency signed by Presidential Spokesperson and Senior Communications Adviser Ben Dotsei Malor said the President’s directive “follows the submission of a report by the Minister responsible for Development Authorities, Dr Ahmed Mustapha, regarding two SADA projects”.

It said: “…While the projects were viable and held the potential for the creation of a significant number of jobs in the fragile Savannah area, SADA had not established the systems and mechanisms for the monitoring and supervision of these projects to ensure that the state receives value for money”.

According to the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) Executive Director, the President must also act on a borehole sinking contract which yielded results far below expectations.

“One of the issues that came up when we started talking about this SADA was the issue of the drilling of boreholes where a contract had been awarded for the drilling of 200 boreholes and then the Contractor comes back to say ‘look the money you’ve given us cannot construct 200 boreholes, it can only construct 70’, this is something that needs attention. It is not just the guinea fowls alone. We don’t have a problem with just Asongtaba alone. We have a problem with the whole SADA management and whatever has taken place and so they need to go just beyond terminating one single contract”.

He said the actions taken by the President so far are “half-hearted” and added that all the monies paid illegally to the private companies must be “refunded with interest” and the culprits prosecuted if the report indicts them criminally.

Source: XYZ
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