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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

STX Boardroom Crisis: Bagbin denies fighting John Mahama

Hon Alban Bagbin
The Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alban Sumana Bagbin, has issued a statement in Accra to reinforce an earlier press release in which Vice President John Dramani Mahama denied media reports that he recently fought with the former Majority Leader over the crisis-ridden STX Housing deal. 

In the Statement, Hon Bagbin said: “My attention has been drawn to snatches of recent press reports and commentary to the effect that there has been an altercation between H.E. the Vice President, John Dramani Mahama and myself at the Castle regarding the National Housing Project.”

The NDC Member of Parliament for Nadowli West said his initial “intention” was to ignore this “piece of totally wild and reckless gossip with further commentary. However, I have had to revise my stand because less discerning people may be misled into believing this calculated falsehood.”

The statement, issued August 30, 2011, added, “For the avoidance of doubt and for the records therefore, I wish to clearly state that in my capacity as Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, my relationship with H.E. the Vice President and his High Office, both at the personal and official levels, is at an all-time high; and I do proudly enjoy his incredible support, goodwill and very active collaboration in everything, including the National Housing Project.”

It added: “I wish to take advantage of this release to put to rest and to unreservedly condemn this malicious piece of false journalism. I also want to reassure, especially all my friends, well wishers and discerning Ghanaians who have all rightly been scandalized by this report, that no such incident occurred, or has ever occurred between H.E. the Vice President and myself.

It comes days after the office of the Vice President issued a similar statement after widespread news reports claimed late last week that the two men had fought at a meeting to discuss the boardroom crisis facing the STX deal, under which STX Engineering and Construction Ghana Limited is contract bound to build some 30,000 Housing units for Ghana’s security personnel. 

The Vice President’s statement also described as false an earlier claim that the former Bole Bamboi MP “pulled a gun on former President, JJ Rawlings at the Castle.”

It added: “Every Ghanaian knows and appreciates his tolerance and patience and it is not in his character to engage in verbal or physical exchanges with any person.

“... John Mahama has chaired, on behalf of the President, various government meetings on helping clear the country’s housing deficit and also reviewed the wrangling among the partners working on the Ghana Housing Project. None of these meetings has recorded any of the false news reports.”


EC sued over biometric register

One of the disqualified bidders to provide appropriate technology for the proposed biometric voter registration exercise has filed a suit in court to restrain the Electoral Commission from awarding the contract.

The register is expected to be used for next year’s crucial presidential and parliamentary polls to check electoral fraud and remove any doubts about the authenticity of votes cast.

Lawyers for Intelligence Card Production Systems say they have two main grounds for the court action. The first is that the Electoral Commission allegedly swelled-up pre-qualified companies who entered their bids to secure the multi-million cedi contract to seven when, according to the lawyers, the Procurement Law calls for six pre-qualified bidders.

The second basis for the company’s court action is that the Public Procurement Authority has in a formal letter directed the Electoral Commission not to proceed with the award of the contract for the production of the register, but the Commission appears to have ignored the directive.

The acting Director of Public Affairs of the EC, Christian Owusu-Parry, confirmed receipt of the restraining order on the Citi Eyewitness News of Tuesday August 30, 2011.

Representatives of all political parties in the country had earlier stormed out of a meeting with officials of the EC meant to assess the technology to be used for the Biometric Voters Register

Speaking to Citi News, the Member of Parliament for the Manhyia Constituency, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh who represented the NPP said all the political parties (NDC, NPP, CPP, DFP, GCPP) decided in principle to walk out of the meeting because they were unimpressed with the EC’s processes for selecting the companies to provide the technology to capture the data of qualified voters in the country. If completed in time, the data could be used in the 2012 general elections.

Mathew Opoku Prempeh said the EC failed to involve the parties in the selection of the two shortlisted companies and the parties refused to give their approval to the Electoral Commission’s decision to procure vendors for the biometric registration of Ghanaians without going through due process.

The Manhyia MP said they were further angered when the EC asked the party representatives to sign an undertaking that they were only going to be observers and could not make any comment on the evaluation process of the companies bidding to provide the service.

According to him, there are only five companies certified in the world to undertake registration for biometric voting in countries of over 10 million people and the inability of the EC to provide basic answers to questions such as the certification for the companies selected to undertake the project to enable verification by the various political parties was unacceptable.

Source: citifmonline

Minister's Luxury BMW impounded by Castle

BMW saloon car cost a total amount (Price + VAT) = $166,000
Source: Republic newspaper

Information picked by the Republic newspaper reveals how the President, John Evans Atta Mills cracked the whip on Minister Joe Gidisu, Minister for Road and Highways and Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Tongu constituency to disrupt the Minister’s fast growing taste for luxuries.
The revelation, the Republic learnt, has become the latest gossip in parliament and has made the minister a laughing stock among his colleagues even as he schemes to regain the confidence of the president.
Barely three weeks ago, a brand new BMW saloon car, 740LI-2010 model was pulled out from Hon. Joe Gidisu’s residence by Security agents to a destination in the castle under the orders of the president.
The splashy top of the class BMW, with Imperial Blue color manufactured in 2010 landed in Ghana on January 19 2011 and cleared by Mechanical Lloyd Co Ltd according to documents sighted by The Republic.
The car in question was even more expensive than the Presidents official car.
Investigations by the Republic revealed that the posh saloon car was purchased under the orders of the Minister of Roads and Highways, Hon Joe Gidisu for his own comfort in an apparent disregard to President Mills’ austerity principles.
President Mills is Known and revered for his modesty and anti-profligacy. According to deep-throat source at the Ministry, Hon. Joe Gidisu took advantage of a governmental convention which requires ministries to provide vehicles for the use of their Ministers and instructed the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) an agency under his ministry to acquire the classy machine.
A letter dated 2nd August 2011 States “subsequent to the decision for the Ministries to provide for the use of their Ministers, the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) was requested to arrange and purchase a saloon car on one of their ongoing road Construction projects”.
The letter signed by Minister Joe Gidisu and which was alleged to have been forged continued; “the Ghana Highways Authority by a letter dated 19th May 2010 requested the Resident Engineer on the Achimota-Ofankor road project to arrange for the purchase. However, I found the type of vehicle purchased not very appropriate for my use” stated the minister, in an attempt to cover his embarrassing ass.
Sources said that it was when the Minister got reprimanded by the President for his untenable behavior that he ran to write the letter.
Available documents indicates that the vehicle was purchased by the contractor working on the Achimota-Ofankor project, China Railway Wuju (Group) corporation on behalf of the Ghana Highways Authority by the whims and fancies of the Hon Minister of roads and highways.
The BMW saloon car cost a total amount of $166.978.47 with a one year comprehensive insurance at an extra rate of $6,672.71 and to be borne by the state for the leisure of Joe Gidisu.
It is alleged that when the NDC came to power, after it defeated the corrupt NPP government, there was pressure on Minister Joe Gidisu to review the contract which was entered into by the previews government with the Chinese company following suspicion that there may have been exaggeration in the contract sum. Joe Gidisu, according to our deep-throat source, however ignored suggestions in this direction and rather chose t oseek his own comfort at the expense of Ghanaians.
The deal which was facilitated through the Mechanical Lloyd Company Limited an Accra based automobile company has according to sources been confiscated by the National Security Apparatus and now taking solace within the confines of the castle, the seat of government.
In a document sighted by the Republic addressed to the Engineer’s representative by the Deputy Project Manager of AO Road Project, Zou Man Yang the contractor claim the total amount of $166.978.47 (One Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy Eight U.S Dollar and Forty seven Cent) to be paid back in the our IPC from items A221.1 and A221.2 of Box in the contract. Copies of official receipts on the alleged deal involving the Minister of Roads and Highways Hon. Joe Gidisu through his agent at Mechanical Lloyd and later insured at the Phoenix Insurance Company Ltd for a year gave the following specifications on the BMW 740Li as follows;
  • Chassis number WBAKB41070C633051
  • base price $139.396.31
  • VAT $17,424.54
  • NHIL $3,484.91
  • Total Invoice Value $160.305.76
Please stay tuned as more revelations unfold.

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