Ghana: Citizens Coalition Calls for Probe Into Sale of 4 Ssnit Hotels

The Citizens Coalition, a non-governmental organisation, is demanding thorough investigations into the justification for selling off four hotels belonging to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to Mr Bryan Acheampong, the Minister of Food and Agriculture.

Dr Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement, at Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana, (CDD-GH), leading the coalition, said it supported calls for the halting of the transaction, pending the outcome of probe into the sale of the four hotels.

Dr Asante, speaking at a press conference, organised by the coalition, in Accra, said "we support the TUC and Organised Labour's calls to halt the transaction immediately."

He said the group was concerned that "recent events suggest that our quest for establishing a culture of accountable governance remains a distant dream."

Dr Asante urged institutions mandated to fight corruption to intensify efforts, "if Ghana is to recover from its current malaise."

On the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement, asked the Ministries of Finance, and Works and Housing, to publish the work done and how the funds were utilised.

"We demand the Ministries of Finance and Worksand Housing, and other relevant sector agencies to publish the full details of the workdone, including its current status, and disclose all payments made on the project. The public deserves to know how our funds are being utililised," Dr Asante said.

The coalition has called for full publication of the SML-GRA agreement, which was published by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday, May 22.

Dr Asante said the coalition wanted a report from the CID-Ghana Police Service on the source of money of Ms Cecilia Dapaah.

"We urge EOCO to reconsider its position on not investigating the Cecilia Dapaah case in accordance with Section 1 (3) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act," the group demanded.

The coalition also asked for a stakeholder engagement in the preparation and development of accountability andanticorruption coordination legislation.

In addition, the group demanded a cabinet approval and laying of the Conduct of Public Office Holders Bill, to regulate weak asset and liabilities disclosure regime, gift giving in the public service, influence peddling, and conflict of interest, among other public ethics behaviors.

Mr Asante said: "We as a coalition, are convinced that this is a critical piece of legislation in our fight against corruption, particularly in terms of prevention.

"We are also convinced that the bill which has been languishing in the corridor of power for over a decade should include provisions on unexplained wealth, a strong sanctions regime, and publication of assetsand liabilities of public officers."

Dr Asante called for the withdrawal of the appointments of parliamentary aspirants to State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

He said apart from the obvious insensitivity to our economic situation, and the deepening politicisation of parastatal organisations, the expansion of the already bad governance to appointing MPs to sit onthe Board of SOEs, is a real cause for worry.

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