Regional News of 2014-05-02

Overhaul SADA management – GII

Anti-corruption agency, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) says it is not enough dissolving the old Board of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).

SADA has gained popularity for alleged financial malfeasance coupled with the release of a leaked draft report on the afforestation project.

The leaked report drafted by a five-member audit committee chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Renewable and Natural Resources of the University for Development Studies, Professor S.K Oppong, revealed that 85% of the trees planted survived.

This generated public uproar with some civil society organizations, including the GII and Send Ghana calling for further clarifications.

In the wake of these ceaseless controversies, President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday April 30, 2014 reconstituted the SADA Board and submitted a new list to the Council of State for approval.

Though commendable, the Executive Director of the GII, Vitus Azeem in a Citi News interview impressed upon President Mahama to completely overhaul SADA management.

He said: “The latest development is a good development because it means that government is listening and is willing to let SADA work; from all that has happened it is clear that the management and the Board have failed Ghanaians and so it is important that we change but of course the change is still not complete because the management too has to be changed.”

He implied Ghanaians would have high expectations of the new Board saying, “For new people coming in and hearing the outcry of Ghanaians we have high expectations of the new Board and so we expect that there should be changes and if those changes are not coming there will be another call for them to be replaced.”

Meanwhile, Spokesperson for pressure group called Mass Action Committee, Atik Mohammed, has called for forensic audit into the expenditure of the old SADA Board.

He explained that “dissolving the old Board is not just enough; we must move beyond the dissolution to taking the necessary action to ensure absolute accountability for the kinds and ways they expended SADA funds.”

“We should not just say because the old Board has been dissolved let’s just leave it at that, we must move beyond the dissolution to actually ensuring that they account fully for every penny spent in the name and on behalf of people of the savannah region.”