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11.02.2009 General News

Houses not allocated to NPP functionaries

Former Works and Housing Minister, Alhaji SaddiqueFormer Works and Housing Minister, Alhaji Saddique

A Former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Albaji Abubakar Sadddique Boniface, has denied that 719 out of the 3,000 housing units under the government's Affordable Housing Scheme have been allocated to functionaries and agents of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.

The former minister stressed that there were records to show that 200 out of the said houses had been allocated to the Ministry of the Interior to be given to personnel of the Ghana Police Service, adding that the identities of those policemen were not known to the ministry.

Reacting to a story in the Monday, February 9, 2009 issue of the Daily Graphic, Alhaji Boniface disagreed that the houses at Borteyman and Kpone in the Greater Accra Region had been sold to persons believed to be connected to the immediate past government.

He noted, however, that some of the institutions which submitted applications and were given the offer to purchase some of the houses were the Office of the former President, as well as that of the former Vice-President, adding that those offices qualified to make such requests, since there were public servants working there.

He also said the housing units, which were currently at various levels of construction, were 5, 994 and not 3,000, as was reported.

Alhaji Boniface pointed out that the houses had been allocated based on applications received from individual Ghanaians, as well as some institutions which made the requests on behalf of their staff, noting that all the applications were on file at the ministry.

The former minister explained further that the procedure for giving out the houses was not based on political connections but rather on first-come-first-served basis.

He, however, agreed that some of the beneficiaries could belong to the NPP, as well as other political parties, adding that the ministry would not know who belonged to which political party, since the applications did not include political party affiliations.

He pointed out that before he took over as the minister, his predecessor, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, had already allocated 130 housing units to some individuals.

He took the opportunity to deny reports that he signed letters for the sale of the houses in January 2009, adding that the letters were drafted for him in November and he signed them in December 2008, together with the one which allowed occupants of low-cost houses in other parts of the country to purchase them.

Alhaji Boniface said it was important for people to note that the houses were first and foremost offered for sale but not given out for free, adding that an applicant had to pay a• deposit of GH¢4,OOO out of GH¢25,OOO for a two-bedroom house and the rest of the payment spread over 16 years.

The former minister said the fact that some of the applicants bore similar surnames as the former President, Mr L A. Kufuor, did not automatically make them relations of the former President as portrayed by the report.

Source: Daily Graphic