Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey[/caption] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration says it has not bought any properties in Oslo, Norway, let alone inflate the cost as alleged by the Minority in Parliament. “No payment has been made towards the purchase of the properties,” the ministry stated categorically in a statement dated December 18. Though the statement admitted that the ministry had expressed interest in buying the properties for Ghana’s chancery, it said it is not averse to due diligence. The Minority led by the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa “impugned corruption” into the transaction and accused the ministry of inflating the cost, thus purchasing properties worth about 3.5 million dollars for 12.21 million dollars. Read: Foreign Affairs Ministry accused of inflating figures But the ministry says the allegation is “unfounded”. “Such uninformed allegations and hasty judgement involving a Diplomatic Mission could damage not only the image of the country but jeopardize relations between our two countries.” Below is the Ministry’s full statement The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has taken notice of events emerging out of parliament where a section of the minority is alleging corrupt motives into plans by government to acquire a chancery in Oslo, Norway. The Ministry takes very strong exception to the Minority’s vigorous attempt to impugn corruption into the said transaction by claiming that the price of the Chancery has been inflated by 8.5 million dollars. For the avoidance of doubt here are the facts;
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not signed any agreement to purchase the said properties; that is the Chancery and the Ambassador’s Residence.
- The Ministry expressed interest in two properties in Oslo and as required by the Public Procurement Act commenced due diligence on the properties with the assistance of a property Valuer and a reputable Lawyer with expertise in the acquisition of properties for Diplomatic Missions.
- As of now the Ministry has not entered into any binding agreement with the owners of the properties.
- The Ministry wishes to categorically state that no payment has been made towards the purchase of the properties therefore there has been no financial loss to the State.
- The Ministry strongly rejects the unfounded claims by the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa and a section of the Minority that seeks to give the erroneous impression that the Ministry was engaged in some fraudulent transaction with the owners of the two properties.
- Such uninformed allegations and hasty judgement involving a Diplomatic Mission could damage not only the image of the country but jeopardize relations between our two countries.
- In response to the publication in a Norwegian newspaper, alleging the inflation of the price of the Chancery by the owner, the Hon. Minister directed on 12th December, 2018 that all due diligence activities relating to the acquisition of the two properties be discontinued.
- This directive was immediately communicated to the parties involved.