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Saturday, September 5, 2009

60 plush mansions 'rot' after Ghana@50

The AUDCL is unhappy with SSNIT over the new valuation
The AUDCL is unhappy with SSNIT over the new valuation
Builders of the plush mansions that hosted visiting African heads of state during the Ghana@50 celebrations say they are incurring debt by the day as they are unable to sell off the properties to recoup their investments.

This is because the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) – owners of the land on which the buildings are located – have re-valued the lands from an earlier GH¢4.5 million to GH¢11 million, thus increasing the prices of the edifices.

The African Union Development Consortium Limited (AUDCL), a limited liability company, built 60 mansions at locations including Ridge and La, both in Accra, to house dignitaries invited to the celebration of Ghana’s 50th birthday.

The consortium made up of three banks – Prudential Bank, National Investment Bank and the Agricultural Development Bank – were per an agreement reached with the secretariat required to sell the properties to recover their monies.

But testifying before the Ghana@50 probe in Accra, the Director of AUDCL, Stephen Abankwah, said the consortium is currently saddled with debts in excess of GH¢6 million which have been brought on by delays in the valuation of the lands.

He said the consortium is currently renovating the edifices at a cost of GH¢20,000 each, an expense he said adds to the already mounting debts.

In a July 2009 sitting, the General Manager in charge of Investment and Development at the Social Security and National Investment Trust (SSNIT), Mr. Michael Addotey Addo, told the commission that SSNIT released their lands in Ridge to the AUDCL to put up 30 presidential mansions without placing any value on it.

He explained that due to the delay by the Lands Valuation Board (LVB) in making available the value of the lands, SSNIT did not have any option than to release the lands to the AUDCL, since the consortium was working within a one-year time frame.

He said the two years delay by the LVB to present its report, contributed to the increment of the $4.5 million value the AUCL placed on the lands to GH¢11.2 million.

Joy News correspondent Sampson Lardi Ayenini, who was at the committee sittings reported that the committee members were unhappy with the controversy.

Story by Fiifi Koomson/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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