The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Gilbert Iddi, has spoken again on his outfit’s joint venture Guinea Fowl project with Asongtaba, describing the move as very promising.
“I am very much encouraged, especially with the Guinea Fowl project. Within ten months, Ghanaians will have a very clear picture of the investment that we have made. The project is promising,” he noted in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle.
Mr. Iddi’s comment was in sharp reaction to a press conference addressed by the Transparency and Accountability Forum (TAF), where the independent organisation had called for the arrest and prosecution of SADA and other officials in the joint venture project for allegedly causing financial loss to the state.
TAF has accused the government and SADA for not prudently managing the tax payer’s money well, by venturing into a dubious joint venture agreement with a privately owned company, whose activities are shrouded in secrecy.
It said the guinea fowl project, together with the afforestation exercise that SADA had undertaken, smacked of corruption, since the information provided by the government and the Authority lacked transparency.
“Under what circumstances can any prudent organizsation worth its salt engage a privately owned company, in this case Asongtaba, to go into tree planting in the dry season, with a whopping amount of GH¢33,000,000, knowing that the rate of success would be low, if not a complete failure,” the spokesperson for TAF, Saka Salia, quizzed.
According to TAF, it was very difficult to accept the explanation provided by SADA on the guinea fowl project, since their investigation had revealed that the Authority had the joint venture contract with Craft Pro, a firm also owned by the directors of Asongtaba, and, therefore, found it strange “how Craft Pro ceded its interest to Asongtaba without due process.”
SADA, as part of its mandate to promote sustainable development and improve the livelihoods of the most vulnerable citizens in the northern savannah ecological zone of Ghana, entered into a joint venture guinea fowl project with Asongtaba, worth GH¢40,000,000.
SADA has a 40% stake in the said investment, with a capital injection of GH¢15,000,000, while the remaining 60% is for Asongtaba. The project, which started in January 2013, according to SADA, has a four-value chain module, namely, Egg Collection, Brooding, Production and Marketing.
However, for the past couple of days, the government, SADA and its partners, Asongtaba, have come under public scrutiny for entering into a business which details are unknown to the public. To, TAF the GH¢15,000,000 was used to import hatcheries and incubators since last year, but had till date, not been delivered to the newly-established company.
However, in a sharp rebuttal, Mr. Iddi described as unfortunate TAF’s misinformation to the general public. “Transparency and Accountability Forum is willfully misinforming the public. How can a business established in January, 2013, import hatcheries and incubators last year?
‘This clearly tells you that the rest of the message is irrelevant,” noted Mr. Iddi.
According to him, though the newly-established company had plans to import hatcheries and incubators, it was yet to commit any financial resources into that.
Asked why the company had not been forthcoming with details of the joint venture project, Mr. Iddi answered, “It is difficult to tell the public your plans when you are still on the drawing board.”
On the issue of the afforestation exercise, Mr. Iddi said the project took off in June last year, shortly after its launch by the President in the Upper East Region.
Mr. Iddi said: ‘It’s a tree growing exercise and not planting. With this exercise, shortly after planting, you follow it up and water it till reaches an appreciable level, and all the workers involved were fully paid.’