NDC Defends $14m Veep House

Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is not enthused about recent revelations by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia that the previous government failed to account for GH¢7 billion spent while in office.

The immediate past NDC administration also expressed concern about the $14 million put out by Dr Bawumia on the yet-to-be-completed vice presidents’ official residence at Cantonments, Accra, which has since set tongues wagging.

The NDC, in a statement yesterday, expressed its displeasure with the vice president’s revelation of the missing GH¢7 billion which was never captured in the books as liabilities to the state, describing it as most “unfortunate.”

The NDC indicated, “We are displeased by the tendency of the vice president to rush with information to the public and the media, particularly the structural measures and reforms without taking time to understand the rationale for the reforms and initiatives.”

The party explained that the GH¢7 billion that Vice President Dr. Bawumia was talking about “is as a result of a major initiative or reform on government contracts and expenditure, which is part of the GIFMIS project that the new administration is expected to continue implementing. The framework is also covered in the new Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, under the Budget Responsibility provisions.”

The NDC explained that the fund was used for “part of the contract database and outstanding commitment, and does not constitute conventional definition of arrears. The government is obliged to incorporate the commitments, as a first charge on the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) budget 2017.

Revelation

Dr. Bawumia on Tuesday blew the cover of the NDC’s attempts to conceal the GH¢7 billion arrears, especially when it was not covered in the transition notes.

The money was spent by the previous NDC government and was never accounted for, according to Dr Bawumia.

Speaking on the topic: ‘The Role of Integrity and Transparency in Accelerating Ghana’s Development’ at the launch of the Ghana Corporate Governance Initiative in Accra under the auspices of Action Chapel International, Dr. Bawumia said the current government discovered this while interrogating data on the previous government’s expenditure.

Dr. Bawumia added that the previous government failed to disclose this backlog of expenditure.

Shock

“In preparing for this year’s budget for example, we have been very surprised by the fiscal data, the data on our expenditure and our revenue. As we interrogated the data, we realized to our shock that expenditure amounting to GH¢7 billion was made by the previous government, but never disclosed. These came from 2014, 2015 and 2016, so where have they been hiding all these years?”

“How are you supposed to manage an economy with faulty data? And so we have to emphasize that getting the data right is really very key because you are going into 2017 and suddenly you are told by the way that there is GH¢7 billion you have to pay next year that you did not anticipate. This is the reality,” Dr Bawumia lamented.

$14m Veeps’ House

veep house

The $14m uncompleted Vice Presidents’ House at Cantonments

The vice president had equally expressed shock and dismay over the $13.9 million being spent on the construction of an accommodation for vice presidents, which has currently stalled.

Tuesday evening’s rainstorm that hit the capital also ripped off the iron sheet fence, exposing the building to the public.

Dr Bawumia said such a huge amount could have been used to construct many boreholes, and believed that the award of the contract might not have gone through competitive tender process, adding, “If it had, then Ghanaians would have known about it.”

He said this scenario showed that many contracts in the country were sole-sourced and were contracted to defraud the nation.

The contractors of the multimillion-dollar building are Consar and they have left the site because the Mahama administration was unable to pay the contract sum of $13.9 million.

However, the NDC is claiming that the $13.9 million was run, saying that the amount approved was $5.9 million.

According to sources close to former President Mahama, the $13.9 million was the proposal from the Architectural Engineering Services Limited (AESL) – the consultants for the project.

Vice President Bawumia who was obviously upset with the revelation, questioned the alleged decision by the NDC government to invest $14 million on the project.
“I asked, ‘how much is this house actually costing?’ And I was shocked when I was told. Can you believe in Ghana we are building a house for our vice presidents, and this house is supposed to cost $13.9 million?”
“I mean what sort of a house is this supposed to be? Is the gate made of gold? The pavement of gold? The blocks of gold? A house in Ghana for $13.9 million? I could not believe it,” he charged.

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