General News of Thursday, 20 December 2018
The majority in Parliament has launched a scathing attack on minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa for claiming government inflated the price of the building it supposedly bought in Oslo, Norway for use as Ghana’s embassy.
The property, according to Mr Ablakwa, who is a ranking member for the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament was purchased at a cost of $12.1 million instead of $3.5million.
He said the Minority was considering going to the Special Prosecutor or the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to open a probe into the controversy surrounding the purchased building.
In his reaction, however, the Chairman for the Foreign Affairs Committee Annor Donpreh dismissed the claims as untenable, describing the North Tongu MP as nuisance to the committee.
“I am just surprised at the ranking member’s attitude,” he decried, warning that he would find it difficult working with the former deputy minister under the Mahama administration.
“For some time now, we have worked with him closely, we have collaborated with him but he’s beginning to show bad faith in terms of his interaction with us and then quickly running to the media with the least information he gets,” Mr Donpreh stated.
He stressed: “He’s wasting everybody’s time and we all get worried… I was very disappointed in him. Now, I am wondering how we are going to work together as a committee.”
Back to the controversies surrounding the purchase of the building, the Minority say is 100-year-old, Mr Donpreh said when the Foreign Affairs Committee spotted some challenges with the proposed purchase of the building earmarked for Ghana embassy in Oslo, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway was written to for clarity which she did with abundance of details.
“Now if she had a bad motive why would she provide all those details to us?” he quizzed.
Back and forth
Mrs Ayorkor Botchway in a statement said the property is yet to be purchased and that discussions are still underway after the Minority accused her of inflating the figures of the property.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not signed any agreement to purchase the said properties; that is the Chancery and the Ambassador’s Residence,” said Mrs Botchway.
Mr Ablakwa, however, maintained that the purchase was made.
“I don’t believe that the seller is Father Christmas. So, we want to see the response. Maybe the seller is so forgiving that he will say ok we have forgiven you, we walk out and go and sin no more. We will not charge you for all the cost incurred.”