General News of Monday, 20 June 2016
The Vice Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Samuel Atta Akyea, has described as disgraceful, the high level of financial impropriety uncovered in the accounts of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) by the Auditor General in 2013 and 2014.
Speaking to Citi News’ Duke Mensah Opoku after the first of a series of sittings on Monday, Mr. Atta-Akyea accused the current SADA management of trying to shield the perpetrators of various financial infractions.
“It is the most disgraceful report that I have ever seen and read since I became a member of the Public Accounts Committee. The shameful dimension to this whole thing is that, it seems to me that there are people who want to do cover ups,” he said.
The CEO of SADA, Charles Abugri and other officials have been meeting with the PAC over the Auditor-General’s 2013 report on a project which cost the nation GHc 32 million, and was subsequently terminated midway following public uproar occasioned by mismanagement and corrupt practices.
Some officials of SADA were reportedly involved in corrupt deals during its initial years, notably the use of over GHc 250,000 on unapproved and “wasteful” trips to Birmingham, Berlin and Istanbul.
The payment of GHc 620,000 for the services of four consultants and the abuse of single sourcing procurement in the award of a tree planting contract to ACI constructions, were issues of financial malfeasance that were also brought up against the officials who appeared before the Committee.
Committee disatisfied with SADA appearance
Mr. Atta-Akyea underscored the committee’s displeasure with SADA management and said it planned to speak to all implicated in the report despite the alleged attempts at a cover up.
“We are going to take a very serious view of this matter. We are going to call all those who are involved to come personally and physically because when we wrote to them that they should come, the cover up was that they didn’t want to bring them because they could answer the questions meanwhile they couldn’t answer the questions.”
He also said the committee intended to invite the former SADA boss, Gilbert Iddi, to answer to some of the infractions that happened under his watch.
“He should be hauled before us to come and explain away the kind of serious infractions that he committee and then we will take a quality decision when we take our recommendations to the house floor.”
SADA not doing enough to recover money -CEO admits
Also speaking to Citi News, the current CEO of SADA, Charles Abugri, admitted that his outfit has not been doing enough to recover state funds that were wrongfully expended by the past management.
“No we haven’t done enough. We have to keep working at it… some things we are recovering. Some efforts, we are making. We probably need to give a bit more effort in one thing or the other, but some of these legal things are complex.”
He however expressed reluctance in using the legal route to recover the monies saying, “courts are not cheap so sometimes you have to find other ways to resolve the problem other than court to get our money back and try and build the relationships going forward. That doesn’t mean that we have ruled out court. These are all possibilities.”