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May 20, 2019
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$12m Oslo Scandal: Minority calls for Commission of Inquiry

The Minority caucus in parliament has demanded for a Commission of Inquiry into the Oslo scandal that the government intended buying in Norway to serve as a Chancery and residence for the country’s ambassador, had been deliberately inflated by $8.5 million dollars.

The Minority insisted the property costs $3.5 million and not $12 million as it claimed the government intended buying it for.

Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs Select Committee of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, told journalists on Tuesday, 18 December 2018 that: “The seller of the property has an agreement which we have tendered in evidence before, and Ghana made some demands on the seller and the seller proceeded to carry out those demands and contractors are on site”.

“You can tell that this is the Ghanaian government making demands on the seller. There shall be installed two toilets as shown in the drawing,” the North Tongu lawmaker insisted with both documentary and video evidence to back the Minority’s claims.

Ghana’s government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, is purchasing the hundred years old property in Oslo, the capital city of Norway, to convert it to Ghana’s Chancery.

The inflated scandal has been described as “unethical” and “double moral ” by Norwegian media
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The scandal which was leaked on thee floor of parliament early this week, later generated a brawl with Ms. Botchwey almost coming to blows with Okudzeto and Sam George, Ning-Prampram lawmaker.

She lunged a blow at Sam George with an outstretched arm obviously to slap him, but a timely intervention by other parliamentarians , Ayorkor could have had a free-for–all brawl.

The Minority pulled a clever surprise to foil an attempt by the Foreign Affairs Ministry to blindside it to push a Purchase Agreement through the august House, full of inflated figures.

The followed a tip-off that, the Akufo-Addo government is proposing to purchase a landed property located at Sigyns Gate 3, 0260, Oslo, for almost US$12.3million.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry’s quotation is contrary high to the fact that a previous owner of the same property sold it out for US$3.5million in 2017.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey’s who had appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs to present the heavily inflated figures claimed the Minority pulled surprise on her.

The surprise tactic of the Minority forced Madam Ayorkor Botchwey to held an emergency press conference to deflate the scandal in someway, but it was too late.

The six-bedroom landed property that the government wants to purchase for the purpose of conversion into Chancery in Oslo, Norway, is sited on address, Signs Gate 3, 0260, Oslo. The land number is 215 while title number is quoted as 522.

The property was said to have been built in 1918 which makes it a 100-year old monstrosity. The NPP government is said to have already engaged the services of engineers to retrofit the 6-bedroom house into a Chancery for GoG’s new Mission in Norway. The contractors were on site as recently as Thursday, the 13th of December, 2018.
Records show that a previous owner of the property, Lillian Olsson, bought it in 2014 for 25,250,000 Norwegian Kroner (NOK) which US dollar equivalent is $2,930,098.38.

A Norwegian Financial Newspaper, Finansavisen, has since reported that Ms Olsson sold the property in August 2017 to an unknown buyer for NOK31,000,000, the USD equivalent of $3,598,108.00.

It is this same building that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seeking to purchase now for NOK105,180,000; the USD equivalent of 12,218,487.13. The cedi equivalent of US$12.2 million is a little over GHS60.6million.

Preliminary calculations, the price at which the Ministry wants to buy the building inflates it by some US$8,620,379.13. The cedi equivalent of this is GHC41,771,340,13.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has said it has not made any payment for a Chancery and place of residence for Ghana’s Ambassador to Norway.

In a statement, the ministry said discussions are still underway in connection with the planned purchase of the property. The explanation came after the sector minister clashed with Mr Ablakwa.

Source: the republic responsible.com/Felix Nyaaba

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