Regional News of 2014-07-11

KMA ready for forensic auditing over corruption allegations

The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly says its administration is open for an immediate forensic auditing, over corruption allegations against the Mayor.

The assembly says it runs an open and transparent administration with nothing to hide, and alive to constructive criticisms.

The Assembly made the call at a press interaction in Kumasi to respond to calls by some assemblymen for the immediate removal of the Mayor Kojo Bonsu from office.

Seven out of the over 145 Members of the Assembly in a 13 point petition to the President John Dramani Mahama and copied to the Ashanti Regional Minister, the Asantehene Otumfour Osei Tutu II and the Ashanti Regional Police Commander raised a litany of accusations against the Mayor.

The accusations include, indiscriminate re-zoning of lands in the City, disbursement of the Assembly’s Urban Grant without approval by the Assembly, breach of the Procurement Act, wrongful siting of a fuel station close to North Suntreso Hospital opposite the Prempeh college, and huge sums of money involved in maintaining security at the Kejetia lorry park.

Other allegations included the lack of transparency in the budgetary allocation for the “Green Kumasi” one million tree planting project, “reckless spending spree” by exceeding the Assembly’s approved budget of Gh3.5 billion for the Rotary Park fencing, embarking on various foreign trips without notifying the Assembly among others.

Addressing the press, the Spokesperson to the Mayor, Mr. Samuel Gyemfi, indicated that the response has become imperative because, “the Assembly is a democratic institution which respects the opinions of its members, no matter how varied they are."

He stressed that, Management sees the issues catalogued in the petition as not only false but, “a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the Mayor and the entire Assembly."

Addressing the accusations in specific details, Mr. Gyemfi said on the re-zoning, the accusers got it wrong because, to re-zone a piece of land, an application is put in by land owners through the town and country planning Department and the Lands Commission for approval by the Kumasi Planning Committee. “It’s, therefore, not the sole duty of the Metropolitan Chief Executive to re-zone lands as alleged."

“Therefore, the allegations that the Mayor is arbitrarily and indiscriminately re-zoning lands are misplaced,” he added.

According to him, the General Assembly of the KMA has fully approved the implementation of various projects under the Urban Development Grant, “and these funds do not require the assent of the Presiding Member of the Assembly again as questioned in the petition."

Responding to the question of breach of the Procurement Act in respect of the Rattary Park Project, the spokesperson explained that, the project has gone through “all the procurement processes as demanded by law since it has been approved by the General Assembly."

On the Kejetia Lorry Park issue, Mr. Gyemfi emphasized that the takeover of the Kejetia Lorry Park Terminal had the approval of the Executive Committee and consequently the General Assembly of the KMA.

“All financial records of proceedings from the terminal can clearly be seen in the monthly trial balance of the Assembly, which is usually discussed by the Finance and Administration Sub-Committee monthly," he added.

On the question of locating a filling station at an unauthorized site, he explained that a host of institutions and various assessments went into the exercise. “For instance, a Traffic Impact Assessment is done, Fire Service, Environmental Protection Agency all have roles to play. And once these agencies give permission; the KMA has little or no questions regarding the location of a filling station in the City."

“We want to finally assure the good people of Kumasi that the Mayor and his team are focused on discharging their responsibilities so as to improve the living standards of our people," he added.