General News of Thursday, 1 November 2018
The Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu, has rejected corruption allegations against him in the renovation of a two-bedroom official residence at the cost of one million cedis.
Mr. Owusu who has received backlash in last few days over how he has expended some public funds, said those making the claims against him have mediocre mindset.
The two-bedroom house, situated at Cantonments in Accra, was as part of the renovation, converted into a four-bedroom apartment with a living room, a dining hall, kitchen, a family room, a library and a basement. As part of the project, a one-bedroom guesthouse with a dining hall, a living hall, a kitchen and a porch was constructed. In all, a total of 11 air conditioners were fixed in the house.
Critics say the one million quoted as cost of the renovation work was too high and smacks of corruption, and have consequently invited the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to investigate the matter among others.
But Mr. Owusu at a news conference Tuesday to address the issue among others which have generated headlines in the last few days, justified the amount saying there was value for money.
Ghana Maritime Authority justifies controversial ¢10K spent on food but…
He said the modification of the two bedroom to a four-bedroom apartment and the construction of a one bedroom guesthouse on the one acre land plus a concretized floor, were all done with “this same amount of one million [cedis],” adding consultants, management and people who understand value for money have all done assessment of the project and concluded there was value for money.
The Director General said when he secured the property from the Ministry of Works and House, PWD Prestige was tasked to undertake the renovation of the building which he said were wooden structures but work stalled along the line due to funds.
He explained it was at that stage that the Ministry resolved to hand over the renovation work to the Authority to continue with its own funds.
Bill of quantities on the project, he said, was also handed over to the Authority by PWD Prestige.
“When this was submitted to me I brought it to administration and we went through a tendering process. Which three people had been given this to do the selective tendering. The tendering was done without my involvement. Tender process went through administration so the director general could not have influenced [it]” he stated.
Mr. Owusu argued that the Authority’s auditors did a “thorough” job throughout the renovation project.
11 air-conditioners not enough
Commenting on the criticism over the number of air-conditions fixed in the house, he said if each of the rooms is to get an air-conditioner, then the 11 air conditioners are not even enough as there are 13 rooms in all.
The Director General argued he deserves the renovated property, claiming some Director Generals of state institutions who have houses allocated to them “even has a separate guest house for entertainment”.
“If this Director General or any other Director General of Ghana Maritime Authority who superintend over the maritime industry in Ghana can’t have a 4 bedroom or 5 bedrooms then I say its mediocrity in their mindset; we must think big. The plot that was allocated to me was one acre,” he told his critics.
He added: “If you’re gonna go round and do blackmailing and say the Director General has renovated 2 bedroom, which you have not gone there to see, it is amazing how we can kill people before they die”.
Meanwhile, he said, he will pay back the one million investment in the project through the payment of rent, saying “When this investment is made, 20 per cent of my salary over a period, it is going to pay for itself. I am paying rent for the structure that I put there and I thought that you would even appreciate that for the effort of saving”.