Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alban Bagbin, is under pressure to resign or be kicked out over accusations that he is defending alleged corrupt practices at the State Housing Company Limited (SHC).
The Minister, according to documents sighted by Daily Guide, had ordered the Board Chairman of the SHC to ensure that Mark Nii Akwei Ankrah was reinstated as Managing Director of the company, though the latter had been accused of gross abuse of office and impropriety by a committee set up to probe the embattled MD.
Workers of the SHC are calling for Mr. Bagbin’s head, as he had not been able to explain why he wrote to the Board Chairman ordering the immediate reinstatement of Mr. Ankrah without any reference to the accusations leveled against the MD.
Daily Guide gathered from sources at the company and Mr. Bagbin’s office that on June 10, 2011, the Minister had a meeting with a delegation from SHC at his office over the matter, but was not able to explain the rationale of his letter. Mr Bagbin was reported to have promised the delegation that he would personally visit their office to hold another meeting, during which he would explain why he wanted Mr. Ankrah reinstated.
As at press time yesterday, that meeting was yet to be held. The investigative committee’s report found Mr. Ankrah guilty of conflict of interest involving his private company and the SHC, the reckless sale of a government bungalow at Labone to a private individual and the double sale of lands at Fafraha, all in the Greater Accra region.
Even though the NDC kicked against the sale of government bungalows in opposition, Daily Guide learnt that the sale of government lands and houses had assumed an alarming dimension under the Mills Administration.
The Minister was further accused of blocking the committee’s report from getting to the Office of the President for unexplained reasons. He also did not respond to a request by Daily Guide to speak to him on the matter when he was reached yesterday.
Interestingly, Henry Yaw Aidoo and Stephen Armaah, Directors of Administration and Finance respectively at the SHC who publicly owned up as being part of the whistle blowers that exposed the Managing Director’s conduct, had been reprimanded and kicked out of their positions.
A three-man committee set up by Mr. Bagbin to investigate the veracity or otherwise of 12 allegations contained in a petition that called for the removal of Mr. Ankrah, found him guilty of three of the allegations including conflict of interest, reckless sale of a government bungalow in Labone to a private individual and the double sale of lands at Fafraha.
Credible documents sighted by Daily Guide revealed that Mr. Ankrah, barely two weeks after his appointment as Managing Director of SHC, received a letter from a company known as Phf International Housing Consultancy (PhFI) where he was the immediate past Chief Executive Officer, seeking to be in partnership with SHC.
The letter, dated February 17, 2010, was on the official letter head of PhFI which had the name of Mr. Ankrah as Chief Executive at the bottom of the page. Meanwhile, the letter was specifically addressed to Mr. Ankrah and was requesting a partnership with SHC.
Mr. Ankrah indeed went ahead to offer the partnership deal to PhFI, according to the documents sighted and the committee’s report.
On the allegation of the sale of a government house at Labone in Accra, the committee’s decision was that all transactions on the house should be halted while further investigations were carried out.
It also noted that “a more serious problem of the transactions on house No. 40, North Labone Estates, unearthed during our investigations, was the fraudulent manner in which that house, which is strongly believed to belong to the government, was going to be transferred to a private individual.” The 23-page final report of the committee also stated on page 11 that “Mr. Mark Nii Akwei Ankrah had indulged in double sale of land at Fafraha near Adenta in Accra.”
The report disclosed that incidentally, Mr. Ankrah personally chaired all the meetings of the Encroachment and Penalty Committee that authorized the sale of the land to two different persons for different amounts and at different dates.
Source: Halifax Ansah-Addo
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