Business News of Thursday, 4 April 2013
Source: Joy Online
A group calling itself Transparency and Accountability Forum says it suspects financial embezzlement in the afforestation project undertaken by the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) in which 20 percent of trees planted is said to have been destroyed by bush fire.
The project, worth 32 million Ghana cedis, was awarded to private firm Asongtaba.
Though officials at Asongtaba have hinted they will use their own resources to replant the burnt trees, the Transparency and Accountability Forum is describing the development as a clear case of financial loss to the state and is demanding an inquiry into the matter.
A member of the group – Saka Salia – told Joy News they will be compelled to go to court if SADA fails to provide satisfactory answers.
He wondered why officials of SADA and Asongtaba decided to plant the trees in the dry season when conditions were unfavorable.
“If because money has been given to you so you feel that there is nobody to check or somebody at the top is behind you so you plant trees in the dry season, you will fail,” he stated.
Mr. Salia said all persons involved in this deal must be hauled before court by the Attorney General and be prosecuted for gross negligence.
According to him, claims that five million trees had been planted were false.
He said the group has given the Attorney General two weeks to prosecute the case or they will proceed to court.
A Member of Parliament’s Committee on Finance Alexander Kwamena Afenyo Markins also said the government, as well as SADA, breached Article 183 of the constitution by contracting loans for the project without parliamentary approval.
He accused SADA of failing to follow due process before entering into the joint venture agreement with Asongtaba.
Mr. Markins insisted there ought to have been a valuation of the Asongtaba project before SADA entered into the deal.
He said the contradictory information being provided by the Finance Ministry and officials of SADA does not help matters.