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Thursday, July 15, 2010

STX HOUSING PROJECT: Albert Abongo admits accepting gifts from STX but says they were not bribes

Former Works and Housing Minister, Albert Abongo
Former Works and Housing Minister, Albert Abongo

The former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Albert Abongo has denied media reports that a 12-member government delegation that endorsed the STX Korea housing deal on behalf of the country in 2009 were bribed with US$2,600 by the Korean company.

Mr. Albert Abongo said members of the delegation merely received gifts from the Korean company which cannot be termed as inducement.

He said the gifts could not have compromised members of the delegation's judgments in respect of the STX housing deal.

The Mail newspaper on Thursday July 15 quoted ‘a source’ as alleging that the delegation that certified STX Korea as capable of executing the housing deal was induced with a sum of US$2,600 each for for member of the delegation for “shopping” by the Korean company.

The report further stated that each member of the delegation which included the Minority Leader, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu and Mrs. Cecelia Dapaah from the Minority side of Parliament took the US$2,600 bribe with the exception of a businessman, who refused the bribe.

However in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday July 15, Mr Albert Abongo dismissed the report describing it as a complete fabrication. He revealed that what they took were only gifts and not bribes to induce them.

“As the story goes, that we took some money is not the case, we were given gifts and those gifts if I can remember, my gifts included some souvenirs of their company, some flags, I was also given a watch and I think I was given a camera too for us to be able to take pictures if I wanted…and I don’t think that these are basically things that can compromise a high government delegation like ours”.

According to the former Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, the story cannot be true because the Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was not part of his delegation but a later delegation which travelled to Korea separately and added that he cannot vouch for that delegation.

“In fact the story mentions the Minority Leader but the Minority Leader was not in our delegation. Another delegation I understand went again and that was headed by the now Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Alban Bagbin and that delegation had the Minority Leader [as a member] and some members from the other side of the house”.

The Ghana government deal with the STX Korea would see the latter building units of housing in the country worth US$10 billion. The project involves the building of 200,000 homes in Ghana by 2015.

Meanwhile Parliament is expected to conclude the debate for the STX housing deal today Thursday July 15.

Source: Citifmonline.com

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