All you need to know about the botched Saglemi housing project

Agreement to commence the project

The project was funded by Credit Suisse following a Parliament of Ghana approval, and granted on October 13, 2012, in line with Article 181(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

On January 4, 2013, the Ministry of Finance who was the borrower and the lender signed a facility agreement for the release of $200 million to fund the construction of the 5,000 housing units, Collins Dauda who was the then Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing signed the Engineering Procurement and Construction Agreement with Construtora OAS Ghana Limited, represented by Clocanas.

In November 2013, former President John Mahama cut the sod for the first phase of the Housing Project, in what was described as the most ambitious housing project in the West Africa sub-region.

The 300-acre 1,502-housing unit facility, which comprises one to three-bedroom apartments and townhouses, is 80 percent complete and earmarked to be occupied by residents in the near future, therefore helping to reduce the national housing deficit.

The facility sits on 300-acre land and was meant to be a 5000-residential unit building. It has one to three-bedroom flats for persons who earn low income and the agreement signed by the government stated it would be done in four phases.

Phase one saw the building of 180 blocks comprising over 1,500 flats.

Controversy over the project

The project became a matter of controversy after the New Patriotic Party took power after years of abandonment. Samuel Atta Akyea said the agreement was botched following acts of embezzlement by former NDC government officials.

Out of the 5,000 proposed housing units, only 668 housing units were completed.

The Attorney General claimed the completed houses were not habitable and also added that the project at the site was worth $64million even though it was stated about $196million was spent.

Collins Dauda, Agyeman-Mensah; the Chief Director at the ministry from 2009 to 2017, Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu; the Executive Chairman of Construtora OAS, the Brazilian company which constructed the affordable housing project at Saglemi, Andrew Clocanas, and a director of RMS, the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) consultancy subcontractor, Nouvi Tetteh Angelo faced 52 counts of criminal charges and were accused for willfully causing financial loss to the state.

NPP gov’t to terminate Saglemi housing project contract

In April 2019, the former Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, hinted at the government’s decision to terminate the housing project.

The housing project has been abandoned by the NPP-led administration.

He told Accra-based Citi FM that the state was short-changed in the $180 million deal which was entered into by the Mahama government.

He also indicated that former ministers who played a role in the stalled US$200 million Saglemi Housing project will be prosecuted.

Atta Akyea speaking on the floor of Parliament “A strong position in law that all the contracts purportedly signed by Hon. Collins Dauda and thereafter some wayward Chief Directors after the original project had received parliamentary approval have no legal consequence.”

Criminal investigations into Saglemi housing project

Ms. Gloria Akuffo, the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice recommended criminal investigations into the conduct of actors in the Saglemi housing project.

A letter dated May 8, 2019, signed by the Attorney General and addressed to the Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, indicated that the parties to the contract, namely the government of Ghana and Construtora OAS Ghana Limited, were bound by the agreed accrued rights and obligations.

The Attorney General said: “The agreement, having expired in June 2017, the purported notice of termination by the contractor has no basis in law and is, therefore, of no effect.”

“The ministry is, therefore, advised to write formally to the contractor rejecting the purported notice of termination,” the letter stated in response to the contractor’s notice of termination.

Saglemi housing project to be sold out to a private developer

The government has decided to lay hands off the Saglemi housing project to pave way for a private developer to refurbish the housing units and sell them to potential owners, the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso Boakye has said.

He said the government is exhausted and handicapped and can’t make a further commitment to the Saglemi project.

Asenso Boakye said the funds that will be generated from the sale of the Saglemi Housing project will be reinvested into another affordable housing project.

“We’re allowing for a private sector developer to take up the initiative to build and sell the housing unit.

“A committee will be commissioned to guide the process and ensure transparency in the bidding process,” he said.