Accra, April 11, GNA – Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) on Thursday welcomed Parliament’s decision to invite the Chief Executive of Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to answer questions on the floor.
‘We expect Parliament to play its oversight role more effectively on a regular basis and save the country from unnecessary waste of public resources and not to wait until the end of the year when the Auditor-General submits his report…at the time when it becomes too late to take any corrective and punitive measures,’ GII stated.
A statement issued in Accra and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said Parliament’s oversight role should not be limited to the use of financial resources only but should include the investigation of any inaction or inappropriate action by public officers appointed to manage state resources.
It said for some time now, the media has been debating some disturbing news about the guinea fowl project being sponsored by SADA.
The GII commended the media for its continued efforts to hold public officers accountable and to insist that public resources are utilised effectively and efficiently and to the common good of the citizens.
The GII said another SADA project that seemed to have stalled was the mango project that has not received the needed media attention.
‘According to our sources of information, the land clearing for a total area of 500 acres for the four mango farmers, which was supposed to have started in October/November 2012, has up to the time of this statement not commenced.
‘Once the rains start, the bulldozers will not be able to work on the land as they will get stuck in the muddy terrain. A similar delay in 2011 led to the failure of the project to take off when the tractors came late,’ the statement said.
It said moreover, the 200 boreholes, which were supposed to be drilled in the four mango project sites at about GH¢20,000.00 each, have still not been drilled.
According to GII information, the contractor that was awarded to drill the boreholes has retreated.
The GII said the apparent failures of the SADA projects are worrying as the Authority seemed to be going in the same direction as similar projects that were initiated for the people of the North.
‘GII therefore calls on Parliament to go beyond merely calling on the Chief Executive to answer questions in the comfort of the Parliament House and invoke Article 278 of the Constitution and, by a resolution, request that a commission of inquiry be appointed to inquire into the issues emerging from the entire SADA projects as they are matters of public importance.
‘Alternatively, an independent investigator such as the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice should undertake this investigation as GII cannot rule out political interests in all these allegations,’ it added.
It said such an investigation would also ensure public confidence in the outcome of the investigation as there appeared to be procurement that needed to be looked into.
The statement said the investigation was necessary to ensure that SADA did not become one of the failed projects that have been initiated in the past to help reduce poverty in the North and bridge the gap between the northern and southern parts of the country.
Meanwhile, the 2013 SADA annual report made available to the GNA stated that 4,500 farm households were targeted to grow one acre of mango, cashew, lemon intercropped with soya, sunflower, groundnuts or small ruminants.
According to the report the four service providers who qualified by the selection criteria of the Procurement Advisory Committee were expected to facilitate the cultivation of 2000 hectares of mango.
However, one opted out due to disagreement over the level of technical fee, hence a company with similar exposure and experience was subsequently contracted to fill in the void, the report said.
It said contract for supply of or development of seedlings, sitting and drilling of boreholes were expected to complete in February while the actual planting would start in April.