08.03.2008 Politics

Assemblymen haul MCE before court

By The Chronicle
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Tension is said to be brewing at the Obuasi Municipal Assembly following a decision by 18 members of the assembly to hold the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Joseph Kwadwo Boampong and his Co-ordinating Director, Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, accountable for awarding a contract to Melcom Ghana Limited, a supermarket company without allegedly passing through the normal processes.

Led by Messrs. Benjamin Annan and Mr. David Kenya, assembly members for Sanso and Tutuka electoral areas respectively, are seeking an injunction restraining Melcom Ghana Limited Company from continuing with the renovation of a storey building belonging to the assembly.

They want the terms of the agreement reached between both parties made known to the assembly before work on the project continues.

The MCE and his co-ordinating director were alleged to have given the contract out to Melcom without the approval of the entire house.

According to the assembly members, Boampong and Alhaji Ziblim, had allocated a building originally allotted for the construction of a lorry park to ease congestion at the Horsey Park, to the Melcom Company Limited for the construction of a departmental store, under alleged dubious and fraudulent means and failed to present it before the assembly and the work sub-committee for assessment and subsequent approval.

The GHc190,584 contract was allegedly reached between the MCE and the investors, Melcom Ghana Limited, after the second party agreed to fully finance the cost of the conversion of the ground floor and the first floor out of the two-storey uncompleted building and convert it to a departmental store.

The Spokespersons for the 18 assembly members stated in an interview with The Chronicle that the area was initially approved to be used for a lorry park, following persistent complaints by drivers and passengers in the Obuasi municipality of difficulty in operating at the already congested parking lot at the Obuasi Market Square.

They continued that while work on the construction of the lorry park was on-going the MCE issued a directive for work to be stopped only to realise that the management of the supermarket had commenced operation, under the approval of the MCE and his co-ordinator.

Not satisfied with the sudden development, they approached the MCE to ascertain reasons for the sudden change but no tangible reasons were given them.

The Spokespersons for the assembly members claimed that several petitions to the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Owusu-Ansah did not produce any positive response, forcing them to resort to the courts.

An interlocutory injunction granted by the Kumasi High Court on the February 18, 2008 by his Lordship Justice Imoru Ziblim, restraining the defendants per their ally the Melcom Ghana Limited from all renovations and repair works on the two-storey building had allegedly been blatantly refused as the defendants continue to embark on the renovation works and had almost completed work on the project.

The Chronicle said a tape recording in its possession about an assembly meeting held on the 23rd of February, 2008, confirmed that the MCE, Mr. Boampong has rendered an unqualified apology to the assembly for by-passing them to give the contract to the investor thinking it was Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT), he had paid deaf ears to calls for the work on the project to be suspended until further investigation by the assembly.

Meanwhile counsel for the defendants at the last sitting of the court last Wednesday, March 5, 2008 prayed the court to set aside the writ by the plaintiffs, arguing that the defendants were acting as representatives of the assembly which is a legal entity and were therefore covered by immunity as enshrined in the Local Government Act, but counsel for the plaintiffs, George Boadi Esq. opposed the claim arguing that the defendants at that material moment were not acting as public officials since the entity which they supposedly represent was not aware of the transaction.

Hearing continues on March 17, 2008.

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