General News of Wednesday, 19 December 2018
The Minority in Parliament is demanding a full scale presidential probe into the attempted purchase of a building for use as a chancery for Ghana’s mission in Norway.
Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has denied signing an agreement for the procurement of a Chancery and Ambassador’s Residence for its mission in Norway, the minority believes this should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Minority Spokesperson on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said records exist to show that the ministry had entered into an agreement with the owners of the said facility.
The minority is, therefore, daring government to release the official letters to indeed show that the purchase has been halted.
“The minority demands evidence of the minister’s purported 12th December letter. We also demand the response of the parties. The seller of the property has an agreement we have tendered in evidence. This whole decision to open an embassy in Norway came from the President and there was a cabinet approval and they are all aware of all the documentation brought to us,” Mr. Ablakwa indicated.
“Before you bring us all these documents and inflated figures, it should have gone through some due diligence within the executive. Parliament is not a dumping ground where you come and dump all these documents for approval and then you say that you have only gone to express interest and that you didn’t mean the approval you were seeking from parliament. We want to know, to what extent is the President aware of this transaction and he must speak to this matter and commission a full probe into this matter. We want a national enquiry into this transaction which has brought so much shame to Ghana”, he noted.
We’ve not signed agreement for Norway Chancery – Foreign Affairs ministry
In a statement copied to citinewsroom.com, the Foreign Affairs ministry said although it has expressed interest in some properties in Norway, it is yet to enter into an agreement with the owners of the properties, contrary to claims by the minority in Parliament.
The sector minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, denied the allegations on the floor of Parliament, saying the Ministry had already backtracked on that particular property and wad looking elsewhere.
The Ministry’s statement on the matter said,
“[It] has not signed any agreement to purchase the said properties; that is the Chancery and the Ambassador’s Residence. The Ministry expressed interest in two properties in Oslo and as required by the Public Procurement Act, commenced due diligence on the properties with the Assistance of a property Valuer and a reputable Lawyer with expertise in the acquisition of properties for Diplomatic Missions.”
The statement added that “The ministry strongly rejects the unfounded claims by the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and a section of the Minority that seeks to give the erroneous impression that the Ministry was engaged in some fraudulent transaction with the owners of the two properties,” the statement added.
Sam George, Ayorkor Botchwey in ‘near fight’ in Parliament
There was a near altercation in the foyer of Parliament on Monday, between the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, also MP for Anyaa Sowutuom over the matter.
Citi News’ Duke Mensah Opoku reported the Foreign Affairs Minister was addressing some Minority MPs ostensibly explaining the Ministry’s budgeted expenditure on the Chancery when she heard Sam George making catcalls and taking a video record of her engagement with Okudzeto Ablakwa and some minority MPs.
The Minister was however held back by her security detail and the Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Frank Annoh Dompreh, averting a possible physical challenge. She was heard hurling insults at Sam George, who was also heard saying that he was going to seek audience with the Speaker.