SADA-Asontaba termination: Gov’t throwing dust into our eyes – Afenyo Markin

The Minority in Parliament suspects a charade in government’s instruction to the Board of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to terminate contracts it entered into with Asongtaba Cottage Industries.

A minority member on the Finance Committee, Alexander Afenyo Markin indicated on Joy FM’s Top Story Friday that government’s silence on the controversial 47 million Ghana cedis pumped into the project leaves much to be desired.

A statement signed by Ben Dotsei Malor, Senior Communications Advisor and Presidential Spokesperson announced the termination of the controversial 47 million Ghana cedis Guinea Fowl and A-forestation projects under SADA.

The Board has been advised to act in consultation with the Attorney-General in terminating the contracts.

But Afenyo Markin claimed government has always created the impression that the Guinea fowl project was a “partnership” between SADA and Asongtaba Cottage Industries, and not a “contract”.

He explained: “So if there is a partnership, where government has 45 percent shares and Asontaba has 55 percent shares; and both of you have contributed, I don’t see how you can direct that this relationship should be abrogated. Is it the case that Asontaba is going to buy government out or government is going to buy Asontaba out?

“I think, who ever issued the statement was either confused or the statement was calculated to throw dust into the eyes of the public.”

Also, he said, Ghanaians should be told if indeed Asongtaba failed to deliver its side of the deal, then “the proper thing”, he demanded, would be asking the company to refund the money it took from SADA for the projects. He specifically mentioned the a-forestation project, which got burnt.

Likewise, he advised that state officials involved in the deal should be investigated and prosecuted accordingly if found guilty.

He also demanded the whereabouts of the tractors, which SADA said it was purchasing in 2012 at the cost of 19 million Ghana cedis.

Deputy Minister of Information, Murtala Mohammed accused the Minority of being fond of “running away and finding another fault” when government acts on issues of national concern.

He therefore insisted that government would ensure every “single amount” pumped into SADA is accounted for.

Murtala cited the investigations being conducted by the University for Development Studies to ascertain if 5000 trees were planted under the project and whether the trees got burnt as reported by the project managers, as sign of the government’s resolve to get value for the nation.

However, he noted, “Government went into partnership with a private entity, they were supposed to execute a certain project, they indeed started executing the project and part of the reasons were that part of the trees got burnt and they indicated that they were going to replant those trees at their own expense. Assuming that those trees were planted, then why would we be demanding those monies.”

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