Former Chief Executive of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly has responded to claims the cost of recreational park he built was bloated.
His spokeperson Sammy Gyamfi says, the former Mayor saved the Assembly lots of money because it spent even less than the budgeted cost of $4.5million.
The response comes after the new KMA boss Osei Assibey Antwi signalled, a forensic audit is needed to determine the actual cost of the Rattray Park, the city's recreational facility commissioned in June 2015.
At his maiden sessional address last Thursday, the new Chief Executive revealed US$1,267,241.00 was used in the construction, not US$4.5 million quoted by Kojo Bonsu as the cost of the project.
He says despite the $4.5m, the cost became because becaue other "other factors made the project cheaper". For example, it no longer became neccessary to pay for the cot of the land because it was "eventually gotten for free".
In view of some of these cost-saving,cost-slashing developments, the former Mayor ought to be commended not condemned.
"Is it a crime to spend less than the estimated and budgeted cost of a project?? Shouldn't that rather be a positive achievement", the statement said.
Read full statement
The former mayor Kojo Bonsu finds nothing wrong with the decision by the current mayor to undertake investigations into the affairs of KMA in relation to the Rattary Park project and the many judgement debts that the assembly is currently saddle with. He sees it normal and necessary for every responsible mayor to embark on such a path so as to understand and appreciate the legal and financial position of the assembly.
Almost every past mayor including himself did same upon assumption of office hence this is not a new phenomenon. He would like to encourage his successor and indicate his willingness to help the process by providing any explanations and clarifications he may need in relation to these issues. Because to the mayor, the interest of Kumasi and Ghana is what is supreme.
The mayor is however dismayed by the fabrications and concoctions that some mischievous elements are engaged in their discussion of this issue and would want to caution the public to proceed on the side of the facts and the truth as far as these issues are concerned.
JUDGEMENT DEBT BROUHAHA
Now on the issue of the astronomical increments in the assembly's Judgement debts, the former mayor would want to state that none of the judgement debts in issue occurred during his tenure. He maintains that his administration never incurred any legal liabilities for which judgement debts have been awarded against the assembly.
He stated that as was rightly identified in the mayor's sessional address, these judgement debts are arising from cases instituted against the assembly btn the periods of 1992-2012, during which he was not at the assembly.
On his part however, he did his best to help the assembly mount a Defence to some of these actions the best way he could. That is why at some point he engaged local external solicitors like Sory@Law to help the assembly defend some of these cases. And it was through such initiatives that the assembly won its case against FREKO FD LTD over the Kejetia take-over case. There are many more examples of this fact.
He cannot verify the claim by the mayor that between October to December 2016, the judgment debts of the assembly astronomically increased from about 6million to 50million Cedis as he was not at post then. He resigned in July 2016. He however finds the claim strange and would want the mayor to provide further and better particulars of that jump So as to trace the history and cause of those JDs.
He however sees this JD issue as a worrying national phenomenon which must be checked dispassionately devoid of any partisanship whatsoever. To him, the legal department of the KMA which has just a lawyer must be strengthened with more lawyers and resourced to enable the assembly to scrutinize the administrative actions of the assembly which creates these liabilities as well as defend some of these cases most of which prove to be fraudulent sometimes.
COST OF RATTARY PARK
The former mayor confirms the figures put out by Hon. Assibey as accurate and precise. But he is surprised that he is being attacked and criticized over an issue that he must be commended for. He says the commentary on this issue is sad as many who have spoken about the issue do not appreciate the facts of the issue.
He states that the technical experts for the project somewhere in 2013 estimated an amount of cost $4.4m at the time the dollar to Cedis rate was about 2 cedis as the estimated cost of the project. and that the ESTIMATE of $4.4m included the cost of the land which the project is currently sitting on. The land was eventually gotten for free. And this coupled with other factors made the project cheaper.
This estimate notwithstanding, the assembly due to the constrains of resources only budgeted a commutative amount of about 5.3 million Cedis ($1.2m) for the period btn 2013-2016 in various budgets and under various sources of funding for the project.
However in actual fact the assembly has as at now paid an amount of about 5millon Cedis for the project with few outstanding debts.
It is important to note that what has been paid so far (5m) is lower than what was budgeted for the project (5.3m). Now the question is, is it a crime to spend less than the estimated and budgeted cost of a project?? Shouldn't that rather be a positive achievement.
He states that Rattary park is not only a recreational and tourist destination for many who visits Kumasi now but is also one of the biggest sources of IGF for KMA. Proceeds from the park alone stands at about 2.3m Cedis in only a period of 2 years and that is a vindication of the bold step he took in undertaking this
SAMMY GYAMFI SPOKESPERSON TO MR. KOJO BONSU- FORMER MAYOR OF KUMASI
Source : myjoyonline