The Northern Youth for Peace and Development (NYUPED) has petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to “as a matter of urgency” relieve Dr. Charles Abugre of his post as the Chief Executive Officer of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) for an alleged fraud-related complicity.
The organisation, made up of youths in the three regions of Ghana’s north, has also called for immediate dissolution of the SADA Board and the entire management team of the authority.
The appeal was contained in a statement issued by the union at a news conference convened after the launch of the 2017 Edition of the NYUPED National Achievers Awards held Wednesday in Bolgatanga, Upper East regional capital.
“We are calling on [the] Nana-Akufo-Addo-led NPP Government to as a matter of urgency dissolve the board of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and sack the Chief Executive Officer and the entire management team. We also appeal [to] His Excellency to abrogate the contract between SADA and Unique Savanna. We understand Unique Savanna is owned by a brother-in-law of the current Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Abugri,” the Executive Director of the organisation, Prince Hardi Adams, stated.
NYUPED alleged that SADA also awarded some contracts “in a dubious manner” to a company to renovate the SADA office block in the Northern region.
“This [man renovated] SADA Office, bought cars for SADA and also took over 100 brick-moulding machines, which were purchased earlier by the Gilbert Iddi Administration, to his house, leaving the youth, who are to benefit, stranded. We are waiting patiently to also see the action of this government against Roland Agambire guinea fowl and afforestation (projects) which the Nana Addo and [the] NPP [made] an issue with that [led] to their marvelous endorsement by Ghanaians,” the statement added.
NYUPED is a fraudulent organisation- SADA boss
The group added that a questionable amount of money said to be in excess of Gh¢500,000 was squandered on the renovation of the SADA Office in Tamale, the Northern regional capital.
But when contacted, Dr. Abugre responded in kind to the allegations levelled against him, describing NYUPED as a “fraudulent organisation”.
“It has come to my notice and I don’t want to respond to it. It is a fraudulent group and I don’t want to give it any more oxygen. I have no response to it and I have no comments,” the SADA boss told Starr News on the telephone.
The Election 2016 campaign, which eventually handed the New Patriotic Party power after 8 years in opposition, saw the party consistently refer to SADA, an invention of the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, as “a vehicle for corruption”. And Akufo-Addo, even weeks before his investiture as the fifth President of the Fourth Republic, disclosed without hesitation that he would “overhaul” the agency.
Unequal pricing of cement not good for the north- group
The news conference also saw the organisation identify unequal pricing of building materials in the country as a burden particularly on the deprived northern sector, saying the poor are paying more for shelter than the rich do.
“Uniform pricing of cement of competitive pricing of this commodity in the country is very important and necessary because the people in the north, who are comparatively the poorest in the country, pay more to provide shelter. Iron rods, roofing sheets, plumbing materials cost more in the north than in the south. This means that government construction projects cost more to execute in the north than the south. We, therefore, call upon government to do something in this direction,” NYUPED said.
The group also clamoured: “Apply similar pricing method of cocoa to shea nuts and cotton. The price paid to cocoa farmers is not determined by buyers and other middlemen at their own whims and caprices. Cocoa process is set and announced by Ghana Cocoa Board and it is this policy that has ensured the quality and quantity of Ghana’s cocoa production which has become the golden pod of our national economy. Similar results in increased production, increased farmer income and increased government revenue can be obtained if the cocoa pricing model is applied to shea nuts and cotton.”
NYUPED stressed the need for government to attach the highest level of commitment to the anticipated rehabilitation of the “Triangular Railway Network built” in British Ghana and provide a light railway system for “Accra and its satellite cities and extend the Eastern Rail-line to Paga and the Western line extended to Hamile”.
The provision of railway lines through the north, the group said, would prevent the rapid deterioration often done to its roads through the everyday movement of the heavy trucks that use them.