A petition by some local architects to President Nana Akufo-Addo in connection with some 12 state-funded projects awarded to a single firm is a “step in the right direction”, the Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement at the Office of the President, Ms Adwoa Safo has said.
She told Class91.3FM’s parliamentary correspondent Ekow Annan that his office will probe how all 12 contracts were awarded to one firm.
According to the Members of the Design Associates Development Consortium, some state agencies flouted the public procurement regulations in awarding the contracts to Sir David Adjaye whose firm is not registered by the Architects Registration Council, thus, alien to the Ghana Institute of Architects.
In the petition signed by Arc. Dr Ekow Sam, Consortium Coordinator, the group appealed to Nana Akufo-Addo to ensure that all contracts and projects are awarded and executed through transparent, fair, genuine and competitive means so as to ensure that local architects and engineers are not left out.
The Consortium listed the 12 projects as the National Cathedral, New Parliamentary Chamber, Marine Drive Master Planning, International Cancer Centre for Children, Trade Fair Centre Redesigning, GNPC Accra Head Office, GNPC Takoradi Office Complex, New Office Complex for the Bank of Ghana (Cedi House 2), Airport City 2 Design, Okyenhene Palace Design, New Railway Terminal Design, and Redevelopment and Expansion of Ghana Embassy in the US.
The group told the President in the petition that: “In your wisdom, you created several ministries so that matters that had plagued the nation will be tackled by sector-specific ministries. Thus, it is most bizarre that for projects of such magnitude, one person or firm, will be handpicked contrary to all notions of fairness to carry out the projects when it is clear that any one firm would be overburdened by projects of such magnitude. It is even more startling when one considers the fact that Adjaye and Associates is currently recruiting architects at the international level, when within the country, there are locally-trained, qualified, certified and registered architectural firms who can deliver the services sought”.
It added: “His Excellency Mr President, due to the monopolisation of awarding projects to foreign architects and engineers, the negative impression and image created in the public that locally-trained architects and engineers are incompetent and not qualified to undertake such projects in the country, which is totally untrue”.
Commenting on the matter on Thursday, 18 July 2019, Ms Safo, who is also a Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament, said: “Once the petition has come, I’m sure His Excellency the President will engage my good self on those matters”.
“We would engage the association of architects, we will interrogate, we will investigate those allegations and make proper recommendations”, she assured the petitioners, adding: “As it stands now, my ambit or my mandate rests with advisory and policy, so, I would advise the president accordingly, but I think that moving forward, we ought to have procurement has a fully-established ministry and move all those procurement agencies under that ministry and that way you’d have a minister supervising and monitoring and making sure things are done rightly”.
The Dome Kwabenya MP said: “Finance is big, finance is huge and has many tentacles but the world is moving towards moving procurement, as a little subset of finance, into a fully-grown matter because whether you protect the public purse, whether there’s corruption, whether you fail as a government, centres around procurement and we ought to have a look at it”.
“We would definitely interrogate the processes that went into choosing whoever that has made the news all over”, noting that: “We need to properly interrogate and where necessary, where steps need to be taken, to make sure the right things are done, we would do so”.
“I’m sure that when the president comes back home, I would have an engagement with hm on this matter but I think that in the meantime, the Ministry of Finance and the Public Procurement Authority will be directed to initiate since that is under their ambit”, she added.