Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea, has attributed the stalling of the Saglemi Housing Project to what he said was the misappropriation of US$159 million contract sum.
According to Mr Akyea, MP, Abuakwa South, MessrsConstructora OAS Ghana Limited, the Brazilian company incorporated under the laws of Ghana, was paid over US$179.4 million out of the contract sum of US$181 million.
He said despite that amount paid, the construction firm which was expected to deliver about 5,000 housing units including on-site infrastructure only constructed 1,024 housing units.
Additionally, he said OAS was paid US$80 million, representing 40 per cent of the contract sum, to prepare the site for the take off of work.
“Immediately the sum of US$80 million was released to the contractor, when actual work had not started, the contractor transferred abroad US$40 million.
“I submit that the seed of the bankruptcy of the Saglemi Housing Project was sown by this dubious act,” he told Parliament in an answer to a question asked by Nsawam-Adogyiri Member, Frank Annoh-Dompreh.
He continued: “Mr Speaker, there is no shred of evidence that when the money was taken out of the country there was corresponding importation of materials to do the project.
“If the money was applied to the project, we would have seen that there are more houses than now.
“This racket was so strong that the ministry did not demand a performance bond as a necessary pre-requisite before the release of the $80 million.
“Currently, the racket could only deliver 636 housing units which are unfit for human habitation because the necessary amenities like water and electricity have not been fixed and the entire project lack on-site infrastructure especially a drainage system, while 388 housing units were at various stages of completion.”
In his estimation, the cost of the 1,024 housing units Messrs Constructor OAS Ghana Limited constructed would be US$40.96 million.
The MP for Adaklu and Ranking on the Roads and Transport Committee, Mr Kwame Agbodza, in response accused the minister of misrepresenting the contract sum to the House.
He said all the Engineering, Procurement and Construction agreement Parliament approved allowed the contractor to procure more than 50 per cent of goods and services from abroad.
“His presentation to the House is misleading and he must accept that and correct himself,” he stated.