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It is time for the judiciary to bite harder and faster in the Saglemi case – Ahiagbah

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It is time for the judiciary to bite harder and faster in the Saglemi case - Ahiagbah

According to Richard Ahiagbah, Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project was a total financial loss for the state.

Already, former National Democratic Congress (NDC) officials, including former Works and Housing Minister Collins Dauda and four others, are on trial for allegedly inflicting the state financial loss in the $200 million Saglemi Housing Project.

According to Mr Ahiagbah, Ghanaians should urge the judiciary to bite harder and quicker in the Saglemi case.

In a statement, Mr Ahiabgah said “A complete financial loss to the state. Perhaps, it is time for Ghanaians to call on the judiciary to bite harder and faster in the Saglemi case before it.

“Note that: The Saglemi Affordable Housing was approved to construct some 5,000 housing units at the cost of $200 million. Instead, the NDC spent $198 million to construct 1,509 housing units or so. Even the 1,500 housing units constructed by the NDC after expending $198 million are not readily habitable. There’s no water, electricity, and other required amenities. In other words, to make Saglemi habitable, the government must invest about $111 million to complete the 1509 units and to provide water, electricity, and related amenities, according to the Ministry of Works and Housing.

“If you add $111 million & $200 million it comes to $311 million, Now, how Affordable would the 1,509 Saglemi housing units be if completed at the cost of $311 million?

“Ghanaians must ponder this! Why did the NDC change the approved 5000 Saglemi Housing Units to be built at $200 million to build 1,509, on the blind side of Parliament?

“Why? The NDC must tell Ghanaians why they revised the project and quit the vain politics of seeking to blame this government for their gross misconduct.”

Former President John Dramani Mahama recently chastised President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for failing to finish the Saglemi Affordable Housing project.

He stated that he knew the President would not touch the project because it was begun by a National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.

Commenting on the new housing project that the president cut sod for its commencement last week, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said “It is unacceptable that President Akufo-Addo spent over half a billion Cedis on a national cathedral project that has ultimately failed due to corruption and is now abandoned, yet refuses to commit funds to complete a housing project that will help thousands of Ghanaian families.

“Knowing the NPP government they did not want to complete the Saglemi Housing project simply because it was initiated by John Mahama and NDC administration.”

On Tuesday, August 1, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo disclosed that efforts had been made to finish the Saglemi Housing Project, which had been halted since the fall of the John Mahama-led administration.

President Akufo-Addo stated that the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, has been authorised to seek a private organisation with the financial and technical capacity to complete the project.

The contentious Saglemi Housing Project began in Prampram, Greater Accra Region, in 2012.

However, the new administration led by President Akufo-Addo voiced concerns about the project’s financial viability.

This resulted in criminal charges being brought against several government officials, including the then-Minister of Water Resources, Works, and Housing, Collins Dauda.

President Akufo-Addo stated on Tuesday at the unveiling of a new affordable housing project in Pokuase that Cabinet has entrusted the Works and Housing Minister with ensuring the completion of the Saglemi project to avoid it from deteriorating.

He stated that, in addition to the $198 million already invested in the project, a total of $114 million is required for its completion.

“Based on these assessments and having taken into account the project location and viability, Cabinet directed the resourceful Minister for Works and Housing, Hon Francis Asenso-Boakye, Member of Parliament for Bantama, to ‘explore the possibility of disposing of the Saglemi Housing Project covering 1,506 housing units at the current value to a private sector entity to complete and sell the housing units to the public and no further cost to the govt’,” President Akufo-Addo told the gathering at the sod-cutting ceremony of the new project.

He intimated that a technical working group had been formed, and that the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) had already approved the hiring of a transaction advisor “with the requisite technical and financial capability to complete the project”.

“Indeed the lessons learned from the Saglemi Housing Project have been invaluable in shaping the approach and execution of this new affordable housing initiative.”

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Supreme Court finds decision to compensate presidential wives unlawful

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Among other things, the NPP Chairman requested a "Declaration that per Article 71(1) and (2), the positions of the ladies do not fall under the category of Public Office Holders." The writ said that

The Supreme Court ruled that Parliament’s decision to provide wages to the president and vice president’s spouses was unconstitutional.

According to the Supreme Court, the approval violates the 1992 Constitution since the first and second ladies are not public officeholders.

This comes after Kwame Baffoe, also known as Abronye, the Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), launched a lawsuit against the Attorney General in July 2021.

Among other things, the NPP Chairman requested a “Declaration that per Article 71(1) and (2), the positions of the ladies do not fall under the category of Public Office Holders.”

The writ said that“… Per Articles 108 and 178 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana: Parliament, cannot on its own accord, initiate or approve payment of any such emoluments which would necessarily be paid from public funds, without a bill to that effect emanating from and introduced by the Government and duly passed into law.”

Again, the action requested the court to declare that Parliament’s consent to pay wages to the First and Second Ladies is inconsistent with Article 71 clauses 1 and 2 of the Republic of Ghana’s 1992 constitution, and hence invalid, void, and unenforceable.

A seven-member Supreme Court bench chaired over by Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo granted three of the four reliefs requested by the Bono Regional Chairman.

Mr Abronye’s fourth relief, requesting that the Court declare that parliament cannot initiate or approve payment of any such emoluments, which must be paid from public funds, unless a bill to that effect is drafted, introduced by the government, and duly passed into law, was not granted.

Although the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) for South Dayi Constituency, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, filed a similar suit, his reliefs, which centred on the recommendations of the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee, were dismissed, with just one granted.

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Prison sentence begins immediately Sedina Tamakloe arrives in Ghana

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Regarding the potential of her serving her jail sentence overseas owing to Ghana's terrible prison circumstances, the NPP member stated, "That is a point, but you cannot expect us to upgrade our prison conditions to the point where they have one person to a room with a TV set." Madam Tamakloe received a ten-year jail term for causing the state a financial loss of GHC90 million. Daniel Axim, the organization's former Operations Manager and collaborator, received a five-year prison sentence as well.

Kingsley Amoako-Boadu, a private legal practitioner, has stated that former Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) Sedina Tamakloe’s jail sentence will take effect as soon as she lands in Ghana.

He added that because she is not available within Ghana’s jurisdiction, the punishment can only begin once she comes.

“The jail term begins when she arrives in Ghana,” he explained on Key Points in April 2024.

Regarding the potential of her serving her jail sentence overseas owing to Ghana’s terrible prison circumstances, the NPP member stated, “That is a point, but you cannot expect us to upgrade our prison conditions to the point where they have one person to a room with a TV set.”

Madam Tamakloe received a ten-year jail term for causing the state a financial loss of GHC90 million. Daniel Axim, the organization’s former Operations Manager and collaborator, received a five-year prison sentence as well.

Madam Tamakloe was jailed in absentia while seeking court authorization to go to the United States for medical treatment.

Following the judgement, Deputy Attorney-General Alfred Tua-Yeboah stated that the state has begun proceedings to extradite the former MASLOC chief to Ghana to complete his sentence.

“We’ve started the processes and with this judgement, that is going to speed up the process. In Ghana we have various clauses, you can choose to just stay, but so far we have laws regulating how you can be extradited from one country to Ghana if there is a judgment like this one. Rest assured, she would be brought down and face justice,” he explained.

It would be recalled that speaking on the jailing of Sedina Tamakloe who was tried in absentia, on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 on Tuesday, April 16 Kpebu said “The main change we may face is prison conditions. INTERPOL will do their bit so that they will spread it all over the world, all the police agencies of all the countries in the world asking for her to be extradited to Ghana. But one of the key things we will be facing is the prison conditions in Ghana because I am aware in the past certain countries have refused to extradite persons to Ghana because of our very inhuman prison conditions, so that is the biggest challenge we will have when it comes to extradition, but a lot of countries do extradite persons back to Ghana.”

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La Dadekotopon: Akufo-Addo’s driver files to enter the NPP parliamentary primary

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Solomon Kotey Niikio, the area's MCE, has also filed a candidature to run. Joseph Addo, President Akufo-Addo's driver for more than 20 years, claims to have contributed to the constituency's progress. "I have helped the youth in this area get jobs and employment in government agencies"

President Akufo-Addo’s personal driver has registered a nomination for the La Dedekotopon NPP Parliamentary primary on April 27, 2024.

Joseph Addo, who was vetted and certified by the party’s Greater Accra Elections Committee, claims he would win the seat back for the NPP.

“I was born and bred here in La, I have lived all my life here so I am not new in this constituency.”

The National Executive Committee of the NPP approved a primary in the constituency after the elected Parliamentary Candidate, Dr Gerald Joseph Tetteh, resigned for personal reasons.

Solomon Kotey Niikio, the area’s MCE, has also filed a candidature to run.

Joseph Addo, President Akufo-Addo’s driver for more than 20 years, claims to have contributed to the constituency’s progress.

“I have helped the youth in this area get jobs and employment in government agencies”

He goes on to say that, “Recently when the party needed an office space after the destruction of the old office, I personally worked to get a new office for the party” .

Joseph Addo feels confident in winning the primary on April 27th and the general election on December 7th.

Rita Naa Odoley Sowah of the NDC won the La Dedekotopon seat in the 2020 election, defeating the NPP.

The NPP hopes to reclaim the seat in the December elections.

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