Collins accuses Atta Akyea of pronouncing him guilty before GIS probe

The former Minister for Works and Housing, Collins Dauda, has accused his successor, Samuel Atta Akyea, of concluding on investigations he requested the Ghana Institute of Surveyors (GIS) to conduct into the Saglemi Housing Project.

According to him, Mr. Atta Akyea pronounced him guilty even before the commencement of an investigation he requested GIS to conduct. Mr. Dauda condemned his colleague in Parliament for stating in a letter addressed to the GIS that the nation had been raped with regards to the project, before the latter could make findings.

He said this while his counsel, Thaddeus Sorry, was cross examining the Acting Director of the Ministry of Works and Housing, Rev. Stephen Yaw Osei, on Wednesday this week.
Rev. Osei responded that even though he had not read what he had attributed to Mr. Atta Akyea, he was personally convinced that per the evidence before the court, the country had been raped, but whether someone was guilty or not lay in the bosom of the judge.

PW1 testified that US$200 million was acquired by the Ministry for the provision of 5000 housing units and not 1,502.
However, when asked by Mr. Sorry where in the exhibits it was stated that the US$200 million was for the construction of 5,000 housing units, PW1 answered that it would take him a whole day to search the documents for the answer.

The state is prosecuting Mr. Dauda, together with Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, a former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing; Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, Chief Director at the Ministry, and Nouvi Tetteh Angelo, Chief Executive Officer and owner of Ridge Management Solutions Ghana Limited,

There are five in number, but the fourth accused person, Andrew Clocanas, Executive Chairman of Construtora OAS Ghana Limited, died last month in his apartment.
They have all pleaded not guilty to 72 counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state, misapplying of public property, issuing false certificates and dishonestly causing loss to public property.

The following is the cross examination:

Q. I take it from the title attached to your name that you are an ordained man of God or a minister of a religion?
A. Yes
Q. When were you ordinated?

A. 11 July…
A. Which church?
A. Lift U God Church
Q. Who is the founder of this church?
A. I’m the founder.

Q. So one of your members ordained you?
A. A member

Q. So you were ordained by a co-found is that correct?
A. No. I’m the founder and general overseer.

Q. I refer you to paragraph 98 of your witness statement, where you testified that an initial report of Ghana Institute of Surveyors was given to AESL for their comments and submitted their comments, which were transmitted to Ghana Institute of Surveyors. Do you stand by that?

A. Yes
Sory: Since we started on a house keeping note and today being the third day, there will be some indication that the title of the suit be amended to reflect absence of the fourth accused as well as some of the charges in which he appears with some of the other accused persons.

Court: I’ve taken note of that but because of the pending motion…. depending on the fate of it, it may have others consequences so let’s continue as it is. When we finish with that, then we will decide.

Q: In reference to paragraph 97, in which you testified about, the minister’s instructions for the engagement of the Ghana Institute of Surveyors to conduct an audit on the status of the Saglemi project, the court ordered you to provide your letter to support your testimony, do you recall that?

A: Yes my lord.
Q: Now the prosecution has just handed me a document, which has just been given to you. Can you look and tell the court what document you have in your hands?

A: I have in my hands a letter dated 3rd April 2020, addressed to the Ghana Institute of Surveyors, Accra for the title: Request for an audit of uncompleted affordable housing unit, signed by Samuel Atta Akyea

Q: Is that the letter you referred to in paragraph 97 of your witness statement?
A: Yes my lord, and I have in my hands a letter from the Ministry of Works and Housing dated 3rd April 2020, titled Request for an audit of uncompleted affordable housing unit at Saglemi and addressed to the President GIS. And duly signed by the then minister, Samuel Atta Kyea.

Sory: I want to tender through the witness
Document admitted and marked as Exhibit 1D2.
Q: In paragraph 2 of that letter, you read that the minister categorical stated that the available evidence confirms that the contractor had received over US$179 million but had not delivered even half of the housing units, is that correct?

A: Yes my lord
Q: In that same paragraph, the minister says that his evidence is based on a status report on a “botched” housing undertaking as well as the A-G’s position on the matter. Is that correct?
A: Yes my lord.

Q: I’m putting it to you that it is clear even from paragraph 2 of Exhibit 1D2, alone, that the minister had already made up his mind about the status of the project?
A: That is not true.
Q: Do you recall when the re-stated agreement was signed?

A: According to paragraph 36 of my witness statement, it was signed on 27th February, 2014. The first accused reviewed the original… and signed the first agreement for the fourth accused. The agreement was witnessed by A3.
Q: By the time the minister wrote his letter, (Exhibit 1D2), of April 3, 2020, the first amended and restated agreement had already come into effect. Is that correct?

A: That was done in 2014.
Q: So I’m putting it to you that by the time Exhibit 1D2 was signed, the first amended and restated agreement was in full effect?
A: Yes

Q: From your testimony in chief, you testified that by virtue of the first amended and restated agreement, the first accused had reduced the number of housing projects from 5,000 to 1,502 housing units is that correct?

A: Yes my lord.
Q: If you take a look at the restated agreement, you’ll find that the minister’s audit request, Exhibit 1D2, to the Ghana Institute of Surveyors, is loudly silence on Exhibit K, the first amended and restated agreement?

A: My lord the minister’s letter was referring to the original EPC agreement that was signed between the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and OAS.

Q: I’m, therefore, putting it to you that it’s clear from the minster’s letter that the minister failed to draw the attention of the Ghana Institute of Surveyors (GIS) to the relevant contract, which is Exhibit K, in accordance with which the GIS ought to have conducted their audit?

A: The Minister was clear in his mind that the relevant document/contract was the one involving 5,000 units for $200 million.

Q: I’m further putting it to you that the minister was clear in his mind, and it’s obvious from paragraph 36 of your own witness statement that the minister’s reference to Exhibit H, which refers to the 5000 housing units for $200 million instead of Exhibit K, (first amended and restated agreement) which had overridden Exhibits H, which puts the wrong terms of reference to the GIS.

A: Exhibit H refers to the 5000 housing units for $200 million.
Q: Please point the specific paragraph of Exhibit H, which states 5000 housing units?
A: Going through it will take a whole day.
Q: I’m putting it to you that in the event that Exhibit K has replaced H, the reference to 5,000 housing units in exhibit 1D2 by the ministry was clearly incorrect?

A: I disagree with Counsel because the Exhibit K had not replaced Exhibit H because looking at the joint memorandum that was sent to cabinet by the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, and Finance and Economic ministry, clearly stated that it was for the construction of 5000 housing units for US$200 million.

Cabinet gave approval for the request for the construction of 5000 units for US$200 million. My Lord, the memo sent to parliament also had the same figures (5,000 units for 200 million USD). Parliament approval also has 5,000 units for 200 million USD.

And the PPA approval for single source for OAS, also had 5,000 units for 200 million USD. The value for money audit that was done by AESL, an agency of the Ministry, also stated US$200 million for 5,000 housing units. And then the agreement that credit Swiss .

Those who lend the money to the government also had 5,000 units for US$200 million. There was no doubt that the figure that was stated in the agreement had 5,000 housing units for US200 million. That was what was agreed between all the parties.

Q: Was there any doubt at all that after all the documents you’ve just referred the court to the parties had by the amended and restated agreement now stated that the housing units should be 1502 units. Is there any doubt about that?

A: Yes my Lord. There is a doubt.
Q: Can you tell this court what the doubt is?
A: I have no doubt that we have approval processes and contract approvals from my submission, it started from cabinet, to parliament, PPA and other approvals, therefore, the amendment should’ve gone back to Parliament for approval.

Q: Rev. You referred to a joint memo submitted to cabinet in your testimony this afternoon, can you take a look at the documents you’ve tendered in evidence between Monday and Tuesday yesterday and show the court, which of those documents reflects a joint memo submitted to cabinet?

A: My Exhibit starts with A that is the cabinet approval to the joint memorandum that was sent. The joint cabinet memo not part of the documents, but I can produce a copy. So that I can tender

Court: come in to explain the question. My lord, it is not part of the document. My lord I can produce a copy later.
Q. So I’m putting it to you that Exhibit A, which is the cabinet approval, it grants approval for two things, one to present a proposal for the construction of 5000 affordable housing through a buyer’s credit and secondly approval for tax waivers. Those are the two things?

A. Yes
Q. So if you now take a look at Exhibit B, especially B1, which is a joint memorandum submitted to Parliament you will be released in the last, but two paragraph it confirms the first of the two approval sources, which is to approve the buyers credit.

A. My lord, he was referring to the last, but one paragraph. My lord, I will want to read. ” In view of the social economic benefit of this project to the economy of Ghana, honourable members should consider and approve the buyers credit of US$200 million to finance the construction of the 5000 housing units” and commend the same to parliament for approval.

Q. So I’m putting it to you that the approval requested is for the credit facility and not for the construction of the 5000 housing units?
A. It is stated clearly here, I want to read.

Q. Now look at Exhibit C that is the parliamentary approval given to the joint memorandum in Exhibit C series. The second line of the first paragraph state clearly that parliament resolution approved the loan agreement for the construction of the housings units. Is that correct?

A. Yes I want read: “Parliament at its 7th sitting of the 3rd meeting held on Wednesday 31/10/12 approved by resolution the loan agreement between the government of the Republic of Ghana and Con sweet internal in the amount of US$200 million for the construction of 50000 by consortium OAS.

Q. So if you read Exhibit D, the first paragraph it is also clear that the approval granted by parliament was for the waiver of various duties in respect of the materials and equipment of the project?

A. It is not wholly true. My lord, from the document that we submitted that is (Exhibit 7) the joint cabinet memorandum in the last paragraph started. A recommendation by parliament…import duties, levies, fees and other charges relating to the execution of the product. The exhibit d was referring to the portion?

Q. This afternoon you actually also referred to exhibit for the value for money audit , which is Exhibit E, I’m referring you to page 4 of that exhibit under fact A. And I’m putting it to you that value for money audit confirmed that the US$200 million represents the initial cost of the project.

A. The US$200 million or the entire 5000 housing units?
Q. Please take a look at the first line under fact A and tell the court what it says?

A. Reading the initial project cost of US$200 million is hereby recommended for approval using an insolated concrete project technology with 2&3 bedroom design complete with other infrastructure like road, water and sewerage system, power plants and others. If you look at the value for money audit documents it is says the provision for 5,0000 of OAS…the 200m is referred to the five thousand housing units

Q. Now this Exhibit E, was written by AESL, which is part of the Ministry, Water and Housing resources as it was then called and it is clear from Exhibit that US$200 million only represents the initial cost that is clear?

A. From all the available documents that I pointed in my initial submission point to the US$200 million was for the construction of the 5000 affordable housing units.
Q. Going back to Exhibit 1D2, take a look at the second page, you will release the ministers instructions to the Ghana institute of surveyors that there is a rape of the nation?

A. I can’t say that my lord, I have not seen. Based on available evidence it is true that the nation was raped.
Q. If you read at the beginning of the sentence where the minister informs of the GIS about the rape of the nation, it says government is counting on them to audit the rape of the nation…?

A. My lord, findings were made from the reports submitted to the ministry…whether somebody is guilty lies in the Bossom of the judge
Q. I’m putting it you that the ministers letter to the GIS literally instructed the surveyor that there was a rape of the nation.


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