New residency for Ghana?s U.S envoy
A new residency for Ghana?s Ambassador to the United States of America has been purchased at the cost of $1.3million to replace the old residency which has been disposed of at the sum of $2.5million.
The Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and Presidential Affairs, Mr Fredinand Ayim who disclosed this in an interview said that the $1.2million, being the difference between the cost of the new residency and the proceeds from the old one will be used to secure new houses for officers in Ghana?s Mission in Washington.
He explained that the rehabilitation of the former residency which was built in 1930s would have cost the Ghana Government more than $2.1million.
Mr Ayim said that the new residency, which is 10 years old and sited on a two- acre plot is more spacious and can serve as a venue for diplomatic functions.
He said the old residency which was located at 2929 Benton Place, Washington DC was sold on August 29 this year after the new one at 12516 Bracken Hill Lane, Potomac, Maryland was acquired on July 18, 2002.
He said that the new residency is located in an area where a number of ambassadors including those from Botswana, Kenya and Benin as well as others from Europe reside.
According to Mr Ayim, the new residency compares favourably to the 70 year old building which was too small for the growing number of guests that the ambassador had to host at functions and the attendant problems which required financial resources to address.
He said that the deal involving the sale of the old residency was transparently carried out and therefore there was no malfeasance.
Explaining further, Mr Ayim noted that the former ambassador, Mr Kobby Koomson vacated the residency in February last year, an official at the mission Mr Francis Tsegah, and the acting head of chancery Mr Kingsley Karimu, in preparing the place for the new ambassador, commissioned contractors to submit estimates for the rehabilitation of the new residency because the building had not seen any major renovation since it was constructed in the mid 1930s.
He said that the contractors recommended the replacement of the entire electrical and plumping systems as well as the wooden windows which were installed when the house was built.
He said the estimates submitted for the electrical re-wiring and plumbing works amounted to $600,000 and the proposal for the refurbishment raised the cost to $1.5million.
Mr Ayim added that when Mr Allan Kyerematen assumed office as Ghana?s ambassador, a decision was taken to acquire a new residency instead of rehabilitating the old one considering the cost to be incurred in the renovation works and the growing limitation of the place.
The Special Assistant said that based on the recommendations of the Ghana Mission in Washington, the government gave approval in April for the sale of the old residency for $2,550,000 and the acquisition of a new one at $1,300,000.
He said that one of the considerations underlying the sale was that although the old residency was located in one of the safest places in Washington DC, it had become ?functionally inadequate.?