Boniface defends sale of state bungalows

Alhaji Abubakar Saddique BonifaceThe former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, has defended the sale of government bungalows to private individuals and appointees under the Kufuor administration, arguing that it was done through due process.

He indicated that the sale of the affected government property was advertised and a committee subsequently set up to supervise it, explaining that the bungalows were not arbitrarily or selectively given out to beneficiaries.

Reacting to a Daily Graphic publication that the government intended to review the sale of all state bungalows, Alhaji Boniface said it was only the Supreme Court that could review the sale, not any administrative decision.

Alhaji Boniface further explained that the sale of government bungalows was not initiated by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration but that it began under the first National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of former President J. J. Rawlings.

He said the sales programme was divided into two phases, 1998 to 2003 and 2003 to 2009, saying that “they started it and we only continued with the process”.

The former minister said “it was therefore, strange for anyone in the Mills administration to paint a picture that the sale was illegal or not properly carried out.

He said he was at a loss as to the basis of the review, after individuals had gone through the process and paid for the property. ”

“They should not divert the attention of the public to irrelevant issues. If they want, we can open the Pandora’s Box and leave it to Ghanaians judge,” he stated.

Alhaji Boniface expressed surprise that the Subcommittee on Transfer of Executive Assets of the Government Transitional Team never invited him to appear before it to explain or provide information for the committee before putting its report together.

The former secretary to former President Kufuor, Ambassador D. K. Osei, denied knowledge of the sale of the bungalow that he occupied to any hotel or individual.

“As I speak with you now, I am still occupying the bungalow. No one has informed me that my bungalow has been sold,” he said.

Ambassador Osei said even if it had been sold, he did not have control or authority over the sale and wondered why his name should be listed in the report and not his bungalow.

“I am still a civil servant with the Foreign Service. I have two more years to serve and I have taken a leave of absence without pay,” he said.

He said it was not fair for his name to have been mentioned in the report because he did not have authority over the bungalow, nor was he in charge of the sale.

For his part, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng said the building had been sold to him in 1995 under the Rawlings government for GH¢20,000 after he had responded to an advertisement for its sale.

He, however, said he was later informed that the sale process had suffered a hitch and he was asked to wait until further notice.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said when the building was advertised for sale by the NPP administration, he approached the ministry with the documents showing that it had already been sold to him but that the process had stalled, explaining that based on that the building was revalued for GH¢250,000 (¢2.5 billion) for him to pay.

“As we speak, I am yet to finish paying. I have all the documents covering the transaction, including the advertisement,” he said.

The Daily Graphic, in its April 28, 2009 issue, published that the government was to review the sale of all state bungalows which were carried out while officials were still in occupation.

The review of the sale was said to be in line with recommendations made by the Subcommittee on Transfer of Executive Assets of the Government Transitional Team which stated that government bungalows were not to be sold under any circumstance.

Source: Daily Graphic