The Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Kwame Owusu, has defended the renovation of his 2-bedroom official Cantonments residence at the cost of GHc1 million, despite concerns the amount is too high and smacks of corruption.
Mr Owusu, also has personal ties with the one who got the contract for the renovation, and he sees nothing wrong with that.
He said, due process was followed in awarding his “friend” the contract, at a press conference on Tuesday.
“Tender process went through administration. The bill of quantities was done… so the Director-General could not have influenced the outcome and given it to my friend and said increase the money so that when they do it, I can have your so-called chop chop.”
He defiantly told the reporter asking questions on the matter that, suggestions of conflict of interest were, “below the belt”.
He added that, even if his wife could be awarded a contract with the authority if she was qualified for it.
Following the renovation, the residence now has four bedrooms on the main structure, a living room, a dining room, kitchen, family room, library and a basement.
The four bedroom house now has 13 air conditioners, a figure Mr Owusu, insisted was reasonable.
“If each one of them [rooms] would have an air conditioner, it will be 13,” he remarked.
But Mr Owusu, feels the upgraded residence is still relatively modest when compared to other ones occupied by other Director Generals of some state agencies.
“Some Director Generals have a house allocated to them and have even a separate guest house for entertainment and if this Director General or any other Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority who superintends over the maritime industry in Ghana, cannot have a four bedroom or five bedrooms [home], then I say it is mediocrity.”
He also confirmed claims that the Authority was to have paid an amount of GHc135, 000 to Luxe Suites Hotel, which he owns, for an end-of-year party for the staff of the Maritime Authority.
He, however, said the amount was to cover food for 500 people and not 100 as being speculated.
“We will like to also respond to the issue of the Authority having GHc135,000 for end of year party. It is true; there was a GHc115, 000 of the cost of the food for 500 people. It is in management records. Some people have gone out of their way to state that there was less than 100 people. I want to bring to your attention that we have 200 workers.”
He rejected claims that the Authority, blew an amount of GHc 10,000 on lunch for only eight people.
The GMA D-G, said such reports were mischievous and a calculated attempt to smear his reputation.
He said, the amount was spent on 17 management members for multiple meetings and not on a single meeting.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has directed the board of the GMA to investigate the alleged misappropriations.
The Transport Minister in a statement, said the board was expected to make its findings available to him for an appropriate decision to be made.
However, there are concerns about whether the board will do a fair job, considering their links to the Director General.