The controversial STX Housing project that would have seen the construction of housing units across the country, starting with 30,000 units for the security services, is over, if the words of Vice President John Dramani Mahama is to be believed.
'The way things are going, I don't see how that project will go on. The wrangling is getting worse rather than getting better, so I don't see how that project will go forward,' Mr. Mahama said.
The Vice President told journalists in Accra on December 30, 2011 that the government was going to terminate the $10 billion deal between the government of Ghana and STX Korea due to boardroom wrangling between the Ghanaian company and its Korean counterpart, stalling the project.
Ever since President John Evans Atta Mills cut the sod on Thursday January 27, 2011 at the Police Training Depot at Tesano in Accra for the commencement of the project, boardroom wrangling between the Ghanaian company and their Korean partners had ensured that not a single block was laid even though a land at Kwabenya in Accra was purportedly cleared for that purpose.
DAILY GUIDE can confirm that the head office of STX Engineering and Construction Ghana Limited at Airport Residential Area, Accra, had been offered for rent while office furniture and vehicles had been put up for sale.
Lending credence to the fact that the STX project was over, is the alacrity with which the Koreans are leaving the country.
Currently, almost all top officials of the company have gone back to Korea while the local staff have been laid off.
As at Tuesday December 20, 2011, DAILY GUIDE saw about four men busily pasting a bold inscription which read, 'House for Rent', in red ink on the company's main gates at the Airport Residential Area.
The security personnel manning the two gates of the company looked on without any attempt to intercept the unfolding action.
Bernard Kwabena Asamoah
Bernard Kwabena Asamoah, the man credited for introducing the housing deal to the government, and who had fallen out with the Koreans, was alleged to have been chased out of his private residence on the Spintex road by his landlady recently over the non-payment of rent.
Additionally, he was said to have issued dud cheques to Rana Motors for the payment of vehicles purchased for the company's use.
The foregoing developments appeared to be giving a clue as to what the financial situation of the company currently is.
The five-member board of STX, in November pasted an unsigned notice which claimed that the Ghanaian head of STX Ghana, B.K. Asamoah, had been relieved of his duties.
But Mr. Asamoah sharply rebutted media reports to that effect and argued that he was still at post.
This took place a few weeks after the Korean partners had dragged B.K. Asamoah to court and accused him of falsifying certain corporate documents and also unlawfully reconstituting the board; but the case could not proceed because the plaintiffs (Koreans) could not serve all the defendants in the case.
Mr. Asamoah also hit back with a suit that sought to ask the court to remove the Koreans from the entire project but the action was dismissed by the court.
President John Evans Atta Mills had already expressed his disappointment about the way and manner things had gone with regard to the project, but gave the assurance that the project would definitely see the light of day.
After pretending that all was well with the project, it was Works and Housing Minister, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, who first made an about-turn on December 22, 2011 to announce that the government was likely to curtail the controversial project.
Mr. Bagbin, who persistently debunked media reports that the deal was collapsing, had to eat the humble pie when he said on Christmas eve that proceeding with the project without the current partners was an impossibility.
The Minister was reacting to news that B.K. Asamoah and his GKA Airports Company Limited – the Ghanaian partners on the project – had been handed a crushing defeat at a Commercial Court in Accra.
Mr. B.K. Asamoah, whom the Koreans sacked as Chief Executive Officer of STX Engineering and Construction Ghana Limited in August 2011, for allegedly diluting shares of the company, had gone to court to seek reliefs to sack the Korean counterparts from the entire project.
However, the court presided over by Justice Gertrude Torkornoo dismissed BK Asamoah's application on 'procedural grounds' and awarded GH¢3,000 as cost against the applicant.
The judge had held that BK Asamoah could only sue under the Company Code 217 only if the partner had been involved in illegal conduct but the plaintiff had failed to prove the Koreans did so.
Vice President Mahama told the journalists that the government was working on 'a serious back-up plan' for the crisis-ridden STX housing project given the protracted nature of the boardroom crisis, and doubted if the multi-billion dollar project would ever come to fruition.
'What we are doing is that we are working on other back up arrangements to ensure that we are able to provide housing for Ghanaians.
'But we are working on other alternative projects. At a point if we can't go forward we will have to suspend it,' John Mahama said.
By William Yaw Owusu