Contractor to refund monies with interest in ‘fishy’ Saglemi housing project – AG

ABC News Ghana can authoritatively state that prosecutions remain one of the key options the Attorney General is recommending against officials responsible for the revision of a two hundred million dollar ($200,000,000) housing project by the Works and Housing Ministry under the Mahama administration.

The AG, ABC News Ghana can state, is also recommending a refund of monies paid, plus accrued interest, by the contractor of the Saglemi Housing project, Construtora OAS Ghana, for failing to deliver on the stipulated terms of the original contract.

The Attorney General’s advice is contained in her response to a request by the Ministry of Works and Housing for legal counsel into the Housing agreement.

Former Works and Housing Minister, Collins Dauda, is said to have varied the scope of a $200,000,000 project that was expected to see Construtora OAS Ghana build 5,000 houses under an affordable housing project. The Minister reviewed the housing units to be built from 5,000 to 1,502 unilaterally and without Parliamentary approval even though the contract amount remained the same in a restated agreement.

Chief Director of the Ministry at the time, Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, is also reported to have signed a second restated agreement changing the terms of the original contract on December 21, 2016 with Messrs Construtora Ltd barely a week after the NDC lost the general elections.

The new terms of the contract meant the contractors of the project had to fully construct 1024 housing units while an additional 388 houses were to be completed externally. An additional 90 housing units were to be left at foundation of lintel levels, the document intercepted by ABC News Ghana states.

The Attorney General has however described as null and void, both contract revisions and is demanding a full probe and subsequent criminal prosecution of all officers responsible for the act.

She further directs the contractor is made to deliver on all obligations contained in the original agreement approved by parliament or refund monies to the tune of one hundred and seventy nine million, nine hundred and four thousand, seven hundred and fifty-seven dollars, seventy eight cents (US$ 179,904,757.78) already received for the project.

In February this year, the contractor working on the Saglemi Housing Project, Construtora OAS Limited formally informed government of its intention to terminate the agreement.

In a letter dated 8th March, 2019, and signed by Directors of the company, Charles Maia Galvao and Ricardo Rocha Ulm da Silva, Construtora OAS Ghana requested a termination of the Saglemi Housing contract and even demanded compensation from government.

Portions of the letter they sent to the Ministry read, “…Further, the termination and following the provisions of the Agreement, the Contractor hereby presents Variation to cover additional costs suffered by Contractor due to Delays and Disruptions which impacted the project and are attributable to the Employer,” ABC News Ghana can state

But this point by the contractor has been rejected by the Attorney General in her response to the Ministry of Works and Housing. According to the AG, the original agreement approved by parliament and signed by both parties expired in June 2017 thus no validity in a position to terminate an already expired contract.

The Saglemi housing project agreement was an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract financed with a loan from Credit Suisse International. It was to provide 5,000 affordable housing units to the citizenry.