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The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) group in Parliament has expressed its determination to expose what they termed as “shoddy deals” in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, especially with regard to the acquisition of an embassy and an ambassadorial residence for Ghana in Oslo Norway. They claim it has been unduly inflated and fraught with fraud.
Led by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, who also doubles as the Minority Spokesman on Foreign Affairs, the Minority made this known to pressmen at Parliament House on Tuesday at a press conference, they organized.
Dubbed “setting the records straight” they indicated that the press conference had been necessitated by a clash between the Minister for Foreign Affairs Shirley Ayorkor Botchway and Okudzeto in parliament House the previous day over their exposure of the said shoddy deal.
According to Okudzeto, after breaking the news, government came out strongly via the entire media arsenal at its disposal not only to attack him, but also to call him names.
He indicated that it was against this background that he also wanted his version of the case to be heard by Ghanaian through the parliamentary press corps, stressing that he and his group had no personal grudge against the Minister or the Ministry. However, as MPs having been elected to Parliament, by the people they had the duty of over sight responsibility on the public purse, and that was exactly what they were doing.
Describing their Press Conference as facts based, the group produced not only documents, but also video pictures to support their claim.
A situation which attracted the full attention of pressmen around.
THE ROT AT THE NORWAY EMBASSY
According to them, they were particularly struck and shocked by what and they described as the fishy deal at the transaction of the purchase of a building for chancery and residence in Osho Norway, which they claimed had been inflated by over $8million.
Displaying documents, which they described as not internet based but direct from the Norwegian Embassy, the Minority indicated that even the Norwegian Press which , had described the deal as unethical, had not only grown angry at the deal, but had also taken the pains to fight it on behalf of Ghanaians.
Therefore, they saw no reason why the Ghanaian press should not take up the fight, while even urging them to go to Norway to conduct their own investigation into the matter.
The Minority disclosed that the property Sigyns Gate 3 had been in the market for a while, first as a forced sales and then regulator sales for about 30 million and it is located directed at Kirkevein in Oslo, which is a very busy road with heavy traffic.
They maintained that the current owner, now unknown, bought the property for $25 million, which makes the purchase incomprehensive and unethical, and therefore should be avoided.
What concerns the majority most is the fact that the current seller is not known, and the fact that various specifications on the six-bedroom, which is to be converted into a chancery has been given and paid for by the Ghana Embassy there, with the takeover date fixed at December 31, 2018.
However when the issue was raised by the Minority, it was not only the Foreign Affairs Minister who flared up, claiming that no payment had been made yet, but the speaker who also asked whether the so called agreement had been stamped and sealed. They did not only express surprise at this, but also reservation about the stance taken by the speaker.
Maintaining that this deal smacks of fraud, they demanded a response of the agreement copy from the Ministry, full liability to Ghana, full probe into the entire transaction and a response from the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, as well as cabinet and Parliament while stating that the issue had dented the image of Ghana internationally, they maintained that they will not allow this matter to rest and that they would pursue it to its logical conclusion because it is the people’s money that is being squandered in this regard. They were also at a loss as to why the AESL had not been involved in this whole transaction, as had always been the case.
Present at the Press Conference were A.B.A Fuseini (Tamale Central) Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini (Tamale North) and Sam George Nartey Ningo Prampram).
Source: S.O Ankamah