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01.02.2017 General News

$13.9m Saga: 'Pitiful' Bawumia Still In Campaign Mode: Avedzi

Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
LISTEN FEB 1, 2017
Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia is stuck in "a campaign mode" and does not even realise he is now the Vice President of Ghana, Deputy Minority Leader James Klutse Avedzi has said.

Reacting to Dr Bawumia’s recent claim that the Mahama administration blew $13.9million on the official residence of the Vice President, which is still under construction, Mr Avedzi said: "I can tell you that even if the amount mentioned to the Vice President was $3million, he would have said the same thing.

"His problem, I pity him, is that he is still in a campaign mode. He is not aware that he is now the Vice President. He's now in the driving chair, let's leave it to him to do. He should know that he is now the Vice President and I wish him well that he builds that house probably with GHS10,000," the Ketu North MP told Nii Arday Clegg on Accra-based Starr FM's breakfast show on Wednesday, adding: "It's like he is on a campaign platform blaming the previous administration, 'so vote for me'. The people have voted for you already so forget about that, now the reality is dawning on him so he should face the music."

Speaking at a Good Corporate Governance Initiative event at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra on Tuesday, 31 January, Dr Bawumia said he was "shocked" when he was told of the price for the house, which, in his view, was "most likely sole-sourced".

Dr Bawumia said it was important to enforce the Public Procurement Act "strictly" so as to avoid such blatant abuse of the Public Procurement Act to safeguard the taxpayers' purse.

"Very importantly, we want to ensure the strict enforcement of the Public Procurement Act, Act 663; it is an Act that in my opinion and in the opinion of many, has really been abused recently, the resort to sole-sourcing of contracts has been more the rule rather than the exception,” Dr Bawumia said.

"The way the Act was designed, sole-sourcing was not supposed to be as rampant as we are seeing it today and I think that we will have to enforce this Public Procurement Act.

"I'll give you one example which I found out recently: there was this brouhaha about the vice president's residence, I'm sure you heard about that, so in the context of discussing this issue, there's supposed to be a vice president's residence under construction, official, so to speak, so, I asked the question: why is this project being delayed, why hasn't it been finished? And they said: 'Well, the contractor is owed a lot of money.' I said: 'Well how much is this money?' And then I'm told it is actually a lot of money. How much is this house actually costing? And I was shocked when I was told. Can you believe in Ghana we are building a house to house our vice president and this house is supposed to cost $13.9million? I mean what sort of house is this supposed to be? I mean, is the gate made of gold, the pavement of gold, the blocks of gold? [A] house in Ghana for 13.9 million dollars? I couldn’t believe it. How many boreholes couldn't we have done [with such an amount?]. Of course I'm 100 per cent sure it didn't go through competitive tender otherwise we would have known about it. It was most likely sole-sourced and there it stands uncompleted, but this is just an example of many contracts that we don't have value for money for …"

According to him, if Ghana is to achieve accelerated growth and development through transparency and integrity as the theme for the event suggests, then such practices must be got rid of in the country's governance.

Dr Bawumia noted that the theme coincides with President Nana Akufo-Addo's vision to build a new Ghana founded on the pledge of value for money and economic opportunity for all irrespective of their background. "A new Ghana in which hard work pays and cutting corners does not," he added.

"We cannot achieve this vision unless we promote good governance, accountability and transparency," he said, adding that "leadership plays an important role in good governance".

In line with this, Dr Bawumia said the Akufo-Addo government intends making corruption a felony rather than a misdemeanour while seeking to quickly have parliament pass the Right To Information Bill so as to enhance transparency.

"We are going to have to push parliament to make the necessary amendments and if I had my way, it should be passed within these first 100 days of this government," the Vice President said, adding: "It brings transparency in our governance."