As a largely vulnerable public continues to be buffeted with all kinds of media reports of allegations of wrong-doings in relation to award and execution of contracts under the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), it is gradually emerging that the Ghanaian public may have become a victim of deliberate suppression of the truth with a view to creating a bad image for both SADA and the government.
Indeed, not very many people in Ghana are aware of the existence of other reports, apart from the draft audit report that has been the basis of most of the allegations against SADA and its contracted firms, on the projects being undertaken by SADA.
Speaking on JoyFM’s Newsfile programme on Saturday, Mr. Malik Kweku Baako, Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, raised serious questions as to why the findings in a report of the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of the University for Development Studies, Tamale is not being factored into the whole public discussions on SADA’s supposed sad story.
In a report issued in 2003, the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of the University for Development Studies, Tamale finds that “a total of 145 plantations were surveyed in all the four afforestation zones encompassing 45 political districts in 5 regions. Eight tree species were planted in the various operational zones namely; Tectona grandis, Senna siamea, Albizia lebbec, Khaya senegalensis, Mangifera indica Anacardium occidentale, Eucalyptus spp, and Moringa oleigera.”
Whereas the Ghanaian public has been led to believe that nothing significant was being done under the SADA tree-planting contract, the report of the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of the University for Development Studies states that “…the average percentage survival of all the planted species in the SADA plantations were very high (85%) with highest (88%) recorded in the Eastern Zone and the least (76%) in the Southern Zone. The Western Zone had the highest acreage of 204 ha while the Central Zone had the least of 140 ha.”
According to the report of the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of the University for Development Studies, “Management practices employed in the plantations include fencing in a few cases and construction of fire belts. Two main cultural practices were used namely; beating up and weeding.”
Kweku Baako’s reference to a part of the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of the University for Development Studies report that states that “…overall ACI [Azongtaba Cottage Industries] Construction Limited performed creditably and adhered mostly to the terms of agreement of the contract between the former and SADA” has earned him the wrath of those who want the whole world to believe that nothing the whole project has been one giant waste of funds.
Joy FM’s Manasseh Azure Awuni couldn’t hide his disdain for the fact that Kweku Baako has decided to shed light on the existence of the credible findings by the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of the University for Development Studies.
In Manasseh’s view, some people “have concocted some report and handed [it] to Kwaku Baako and [he is] trying to defend it….and he is trying to defend it subtly.”
Per Manasseh’s view, Kweku Baako has either become a willing participant in an attempt to use a “concocted report” to deceive the Ghanaian people or that he [Baako] has become so daft that he is unable to discern when he is being used to propagate a “concocted report”.
Manasseh’s view on the report also reveals that he has very little, if any at all, respect for the academics at the UDS whose fieldwork formed the basis of their report.
As far as Manasseh is concerned, the academics at UDS did not do any field study; they just got up one day and concocted a report just so as to give SADA a good image! Obviously, in Manasseh’s world, truth is only truth when it is coming from Mansseh Azure Awuni and no one else!