The Speaker of Parliament, has resorted to throwing tantrums at the revelation by this paper that, he was trading off a land belonging to Parliament in a shady scheme with a London-based private hotelier to construct a 250-guest room hotel facility, but did not address essential questions on the transaction.
The Herald had on Friday reported that, the arrangement with Quant International Property Group, based on sole sourcing, has been the case lately with several state institutions.
Other details of the arrangement are known only to the Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, and most Members of Parliament, including the members of the highest decision-making body in the House; the Parliamentary Service Board are said to have kicked against the move but the speaker won’t see reason.
But a press release sent out last Friday from Public Affairs Department claimed that “the alone cannot take any decision whatsoever regarding Parliament’s property without the Parliament Service Board”.
The statement said that, the proposal to construct a parliamentary hotel is to cut down on the amount of money Parliament spends on hotel accommodations for MPs and other officials, adding “several countries, including neighbouring Cote D’Ivore, South Africa, Canada etc. have such a facility”.
The press statement signed by Acting Director of Parliament’s Public Affairs, Kate Addo claimed that “Parliament over the years has become a spending institution only. However, there are certain properties of Parliament which can be development through public/private partnerships or joint partnerships which will generate significant revenue for Parliament as it is in other jurisdictions. Any public spirited person should check the million of cedis spent on new MPs who not have homes in the Capital at the beginning of every Parliament”.
The statement did not address how Quant International Property Group got into contact with Ghana’s parliament and why the project is being sole sourced, but not opened to other competitors for value for money.
Kate Addo in an earlier interview denied that the Parliament of Ghana, had sold government lands to private estate developers and that the House, also had veered into profit-making ventures contrary to the dictates of the 1992 Constitution.
According to her, parliament has entered into a public-private partnership (PPP) for the construction of a hotel, but there is “no way parliament will arbitrarily sell its properties”.
“Parliament is by no means trying to venture into any profitable venture. The institution of parliament is a non-profit entity and will remain like that till the end of time”.
She said parliament is restructuring its systems to ensure that properties “assigned to them will be put to best use”.
Ms Addo said she has been informed by Majority Leade,r Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu that: “The purported hotel is not what is going to happen”.
She said, parliament has properties within its vicinity and one of the things it is seeking to do is to find a private developer “to develop the land and then operate it by himself”.
She explained that when “Members of Parliament or Parliament’s guests arrive, for instance those who are not in Accra, they will use that property for little or no cost”, emphasising that “parliament has not sold the land to the developer and intends to have a percentage interest should the intended plan materialise”.
She observed that, the facility would be called the “Parliamentary Hotel and the purpose will be primarily to house parliamentarians and parliament’s guests but will not be owned by parliament or funded by parliament”.
Below is the statement she later issued to the press