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20.10.2008 General News

Ex-ministers squatting in government houses

By The Enquirer
Ex-ministers squatting in government houses

The Enquirer newspaper on Monday reported that the nation's scarce resources are still spent on the comfort of a large number of ex-ministers and retired appointees of the ruling government for no services rendered to the state many months or even years after they left office.

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing Mr. K. Gyateng has confirmed to The Enquirer that indeed, some ex-ministers were still in state bungalows, and added that some retired government appointees are also involved.

“Credible sources of the paper at the Ministry of Works and Housing say that with the connivance of the Office of the Chief of Staff at the presidency, the ex-ministers are enjoying free accommodation, free electricity, free water, free telephone services, still driving their official vehicles and in many cases a 24-hour police protection.

Amongst them are Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Joseph Kofi Adda, the family of the late Issah Ketekewu, Mr. Yaw Barimah and many others. Sources within the Ministry say, the efforts by the sector Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface to get bungalows for some of the new Ministers were met with stiff opposition from the ex-ministers who contended that they had fought to see the party come to power and therefore were entitled to occupy government houses.

The ex-ministers voluntarily resigned from the government last December or were sacked by President Kufuor as they contested the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential race, which saw Nana Akufo-Addo, elected as flag-bearer.

After leaving office, the ex-government officials are supposed to have packed out of the bungalows, which are furnished and maintained by the state.

Checks done in Parliament House by The Enquirer revealed that some of the ex-ministers as well as sitting ministers who are Members of Parliament (MP), have additional two-bedroom apartments allocated to them by Parliament, which they have either given out to relatives or other associates.

Further investigations by The Enquirer disclosed that some sitting Regional Ministers who are occupying state bungalows in the regions they are in-charge of, have state houses allocated to them in Accra. Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris is one of such Regional Ministers.

The Chief Director further told the paper last Tuesday, that his office and the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani are working on the matter.

Mr. Gyateng's claim was however, rubbished by some officials in his Ministry who pleaded anonymity.

They insist that Mr. Mpiani has rather been thwarting efforts by the Bungalow Allocation Committee to flush out the ex-ministers and retired government appointees.

They said "The Ex-Ministers rush to Mr. Mpiani to rescue them from ejection upon any attempt. The Chief of Staff, thus call the Ministry saying treat them with a human face," implying the Ex-ministers should be allowed to stay in the bungalows.

Attempts by The Enquirer to get a list prepared by the Bungalow Allocation Committee, containing the names of Ex-ministers and retired government officials still occupying state bungalows, proved abortive.

One Mr. Owusu Badu, a member of the Bungalow Allocation Committee confessed being in possession of the list, but would require the express directive of Mr. Gyateng, the Chief Director or the Public Relations Officer, Madam Jesse Ababio-Danquah, before releasing it.

Mr. Gyateng, on his part insisted that Mr. Owusu Badu has no power to release the list but that the Estate Manager of the Ministry, Mr. Akufo Addo was indisposed, therefore, the newspaper's reporter would have to come later to see whether the list could be released.

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