Oslo building saga not over —Minority

 

Minority Members in Parliament (MPs) have vowed to ensure that the identity of the owner of the proposed Ghana Chancery building in Oslo, Norway, is revealed.

The caucus is following up on the matter in the Scandinavian country as it believes that the revelation of the owner could be linked to the alleged inflation of the cost of the facility.

This was revealed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central Constituency and the former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini.

According to him, the Minority had taken keen interest in the matter and was considering triggering the Right to Information law in Norway to find out the identity of the new owner of the 100-year-old building in Oslo, that was proposed to be sold for Ghana’s Chancery at more than 100% the price it was bought for.

The Minority in Parliament, led by its Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, levelled claims of cost inflation against the ministry over the conversion of a 100-year-old 6-bedroom house in Oslo Norway, into Ghana’s new mission.

Ablakwa alleged that the property was bought by a certain woman for $2.9 million in 2014 and sold to an unknown buyer for $3.5 million in August 2017, and so it was surprising that the ministry in a presentation to the Foreign Affairs committee said it was purchasing the same building for $12.2 million in 2018.

He, therefore, urged the Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, to admit a document he presented to back his claims of an inflated contract, but the Speaker ruled that the evidence was not admissible because the documents were not verifiable.

But the sector minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, denied the allegations on the floor of Parliament, saying the Ministry had already backtracked on that particular property and was looking elsewhere.

President Akufo-Addo also recently during his encounter with some journalists at the Jubilee House, discounted the minority’s claims saying it was based on the ‘flimsiest of excuses’.

But the minority suspects that the faceless owner of the building may have specifically bought the property to be sold at an unreasonably high cost to Ghana.

Inusah Fuseini on the The Big Issue on Citi FM at the weekend said that, “Today as I speak to you, we are as a party and as a minority are interested in who the unknown buyer was or who the unknown seller is, and we are exploring the possibility of invoking the right to information laws in Norway to know that. We are there in Norway already exploring the possibility of getting this information. In fact, from the answer of the president at the press encounter, it is quite evident that he is not interested in the matter. The way he dealt with the matter is enough manifestation of his commitment to fighting corruption.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee in Parliament, Frank Annor Dompreh, insists that there is nothing shady about government’s initial interest in the facility.

He said while the minority has the right to pursue the matter and gather all the information concerning it, he was confident that they will unravel nothing that will dent the image of the government.

He said their exercise will only “be a wild goose chase.”

 

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.com

 

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