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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hannah Bissew rubbishes 'kickback' allegations

Deputy Works and Housing Minister, Dr. Hannah Tetteh Bissew says claims of corruption and profligate expenditure in the renovation of seven ministerial bungalows by opposition MPs were premature and unfounded.

Government in a written response to a question posed by Bimbilla MP Dominic Nitiwul on how much government spent on the renovation works indicated that a total of GH¢850,000 was spent on seven houses.

The breakdown for the total cost included ¢72,000 on furniture, ¢649,000 on civil works including electrical, 14,000 on appliances, ¢55,000 on curtains and ¢68,000 on carpets.

But the MP was not convinced about the total cost and the breakdown, accusing government of bloating the figures.

“I am saying there was massive corruption in there. There is no way any body in Ghana can justify the fact that a bungalow that was renovated in 2001, you are renovating that bungalow at that cost."

"...What are you implying that, that those people were so reckless? Were they kids? They have messed up the bungalows to the extent that you have to use GH¢122,000 to renovate it. I think the people of Ghana have been shortchanged,” the MP told Joy News’ Sammy Darko after parliamentary proceedings.

But in an interesting twist to the controversy the Deputy Works and Housing Minister told Joy News that no bungalow has been renovated.

According to her, the amounts quoted by the MP were only estimates from the Public Works Department detailing the cost of renovation, insisting that government had not expended a penny on any of those bungalows.

Even though she admitted that the cost of bungalows were originally part of the questions which the MPs needed answers to, she explained that she was silent on the details because the Bimbilla MP failed to pose the specific question on the floor of parliament.

“I did not answer that question. It wasn’t posed to me today in parliament. It was part of the questions that came. It was written but we did not speak to that question because the Hon Member of parliament I am not sure whether he was there. If he was there that question was not posed,” she explained.

If that question had been posed to me, I would have explained, just like I am doing now, she told Joy FM's Bernard Saibu.

Asked if government intends to do something about the estimates, the deputy minister said she believes the substantive minister after thorough assessment with the experts will cut down on the cost to be incurred on the renovation.

She challenged the Bimbilla MP to provide evidence on the allegations that the ministry had bloated figures meant for the renovation.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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