Gov’t to complete 1,500 units of Saglemi affordable housing project by Dec. 7

The Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, says 1,500 units of the controversial Saglemi affordable housing project will be completed by December 7, 2020.

The Mahama administration started the 5,000 unit affordable housing project in 2012.

It was, however, stalled over allegations of misappropriation of funds. But the minister has given the strongest indication that 1,500 units of the project will be made available to Ghanaians by December 7.

The project has since saddled with controversy as the current administration accuses the Mahama government of supervising a corrupt deal that shortchanged the public purse–allegations appointees in the Mahama administration denied.

To document and expose the allegations of corruption, the Ministry of Works and Housing says it is auditing the work done by the Brazilian contractor.

“The Institute of surveyors are ready to do us some good job, and when we finish, we’ll be able to use the audit for two purposes. To get a new contractor to complete the structures for human habitation and also, refer the matter to the appropriate bodies for criminal prosecution because from our perspective, there’s been misappropriation of funds,” he told Joy FM.

He added “This will certainly be done before December 7. This is one of the major major top-most priority of my ministry and it will be soon….We can complete about 1,500 and then begin the role out of the rest of the houses so that we hit the 5,000 units that was the original intent of the contract”.

In May 2019, the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akuffo, recommended to the Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea, to refer the Saglemi affordable Housing project to the appropriate authorities for criminal investigations and prosecution.

It came after Mr. Atta Akyea at a press conference said his outfit was awaiting an advice from the Attorney General on the way forward on the project which was initiated under the John Mahama-led administration.

The original contract signed under the NDC administration was supposed to deliver some 5,000 affordable housing units to Ghanaians at the cost of 200 million dollars. However, the contract was revised to deliver 1,502 affordable houses at the same cost of 200 million dollars.

According to the AG, there was no evidence to support the decision to vary the terms of the contract.

Contract termination 

Frustrated with the slow pace of work after the exit of the Mahama administration, the contractor working on the project, Constratora OAS Ghana Limited,  in April 2019 terminated its deal with the government.

The company communicated the decision to terminate the $200 million contract to the government on February 18, the company has said.

The contractor, 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 the 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.”