Veep Villa in limbo as contractors beg Chief of Staff to release funds for completion

The controversy over the multi-million vice presidential villa has taken another twist with a new document confirming the cost of putting up the villa may even be higher than the initial $14 million suggested by vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

The new document intercepted by Joy  News from the contractors of the project, Consar Ltd, puts the total cost of project to $13.9 million same as what Dr Bawumia said but was exclusive of VAT and other minor additional costs.

The new document also suggests the contract was awarded in October 10, 2013, with a contract period of 18 months.

While the document in many ways captures the costs and items in the original Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) document put out by the NPP Director of Communications Nana Akomea,  on Newsfile program Saturday, it is markedly different from the document dropped in the Joy FM studio by the General Secretary of the NDC Asiedu Nketia, Monday.

The AESL document and the one intercepted from Consar Ltd had the figure of $13.9million as the total cost for the project while the document presented by Nketia put the figure at 3.5 million. The document did not state whether the currency was in cedis or dollars except to quote the document as saying that 1 million cedis had been paid already for the project to begin.

Curiously however, the new document from Consar Ltd and the one from Asiedu Nketia all had the stamp of AESL on it with both bearing the signature of the Managing Director of AESL, Louis Atongo, even though the two documents have different costs for the same project.

The Consar document had attachments one of which is the interim payment certificate which is signed by the MD of Consar.

A comparison between the Consar document and the one brought by Asiedu Nketia also show differences in dates of the contract.

The Consar document suggested the contract was awarded in October 10, 2013 but the Nketia document show the same contract may have been awarded three months earlier- 19 July 2013.

It is not clear which document is authentic but Joy News can confirm the Consar document has been submitted to the current chief of staff Frema Osei-Opare to update the new government on the progress of work.

The document is dated 2nd February 2017, and titled “Construction of Official residence for the Vice president of Ghana at Cantonment in Accra.”

It among other things, stated the project status as: “We refer to the above named project which has been stalled for almost two years due to lack of funds and wish to present you with a report on the status of the project in terms of work done and delays in receiving payments from  of the amount duly certified by the consultants.”

The documents further averred: “We hereby entreat your good office to assist in facilitating an early release of all payments as certified to enable us move back to site to complete the project for the vice president.”

Consar believes the project, which has a swimming pool, a fountain, basket ball court, biogas sewage plants, flash and panel doors, pavement areas, when completed will befit the status of the vice president.

According to the document $8 million has been paid already with an outstanding amount of $5,789,113.71 remaining to be paid.

However, the project has temporarily been suspended for lack of funds. It is not clear yet whether the new government is ready to complete.

Background of Villa saga

The news about the construction of a new Vice Presidential Villa was first brought into the public domain by the Vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

He was shocked at the $13.9million cost of the project and wondered if the gate of the building was going to be made of gold. He also suggested that if the project had gone through competitive tendering the cost of the project would have been far lower.

Denial

Shortly after the Bawumiah revelation, came a denial by two presidential staffers in the erstwhile NDC government. The first was Clement Apaak who suggested  that Bawumia was playing mischief and that the cost of the project was $5.9 million and not $13.9 million as suggested by Bawumia.

Adu Asare, also a presidential staffer also came with a denial. He did not provide any figure, except to question the figures provided by Bawumiah.

On Saturday, February  4, 2017, the Director of Communications of the NPP Nana Akomea provided an AESL document to corroborate the claim by Bawumia that the cost of the project is $13.9 million.

The NDC again challenged the credibility of the document.  Adu Asare stated that the Akomea document was not signed and could not have been authentic . On Monday, it was the turn of the General Secretary of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia who brought in a signed document also from AESL suggesting the cost of project was 3.5million. He was unable to speak to the document he presented.

On Tuesday, however further investigation by Joy News’ Evans Mensah revealed the third document from Consar, project contractors, corroborating the figures and details in the document provided by Nana Akomea.

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