‘If the Oslo Chancery Building is $12 million & so what? NPP MP quizzes

The Eastern regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Daffour, has slammed the Minority for their attempt to accuse the Foreign Affairs Minister of corruption in the allege purchase of an overvalued building government intends to use for a permanent chancery at Oslo, Norway.

The minister who is also a member on the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament refuted the allegations and accused the Minority of political mischief.

‘’The attempt by the Minority to paint the Nana Addo led administration as corrupt will not wash. The attempt will not work,’’ he told Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio87.5FM.

The Minority has accused the Foreign Affairs Ministry of inflating the cost of the Oslo building.

The Minority is also demanding a Presidential probe into the $12 million deal.

They have alleged that the cost of the building may have been inflated and the deal has tarnished the image of the country.

The Minority believes a Presidential probe will bring out the truth in the matter.

The Minority says Ms Botchwey’s claimof suspending the purchase of the property was an afterthought.

According to them, Ms Botchwey’s claim could notbe true because on December 13, 2018, a Ghanaian delegation went to Oslo toinspect the property.

But Mr Daffour says no payment has been made, no agreement has been signed hence the accusations by the Minority is baseless and politically unwise.

Mr Daffour who is also the MP for Nkawkaw says even if the building is valued at $12 million, there is nothing with it because it  could be influenced by factors including the level of refurbishment by the agent of the building.

‘’If an agent has purchased a building and has refurbished it and valuing it at $12 million, what can you do about it?…the Ministry has not even purchased the building so why all these unnecessary allegations?

The call for a presidential probe he said lies in the hands of President Akufo-Addo.

Below is a statement from the ministry:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has taken notice of events emerging out of parliament, where a section of the Minority is alleging corrupt motives into plans by the government to acquire a Chancery in Oslo, Norway.

The ministry takes very strong exception to the Minority’s vigorous attempt to impute corruption into the said transaction by claiming that the price of the Chancery has been inflated by 8.5 million dollars.

For the avoidance of doubt, here are the facts;

1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not signed any agreement to purchase the said properties; that is the Chancery and the Ambassador’s Residence.

2. The ministry expressed interest in two properties in Oslo and as required by the Public Procurement Act, commenced due diligence on the properties with the assistance of a property valuer and a reputable lawyer with expertise in the acquisition of properties for diplomatic missions.

3. As of now, the ministry has not entered into any binding agreement with the owners of the properties.

4. The ministry wishes to categorically state that no payment has been made towards the purchase of the properties, therefore, there has been no financial loss to the state.

5. The ministry strongly rejects the unfounded claims by the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, and a section of the Minority that seeks to give the erroneous impression that the ministry was engaged in some fraudulent transaction with the owners of the two properties.

6. Such uninformed allegations and hasty judgement involving a diplomatic mission could damage not only the image of the country but jeopardise relations between our two countries.

7. In response to the publication in a Norwegian newspaper alleging the inflation of the price of the Chancery by the owner, the Hon. Minister directed on 12 December 2018 that all due diligence activities relating to the acquisition of the two properties be discontinued.

8. This directive was immediately communicated to the parties involved.

The Ministry wishes to assure the public that it would not engage in any transaction that lacks transparency or does not conform to proper procurement standards, ensuring value for money.

Accra, 17th December, 2018.

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