Alleged fraudulent purchase of mission house in Norway denied by Foreign Affairs Ministry

Toronto, Canada - April 22: Ghana's Minister of Foreign Affairs Shirley Ayorkor Botchway on April 22, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

The foreign affairs ministry has denied claims by the minority spokesperson on foreign affairs in parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, that ministry has purchase a new Ghana mission building in Oslo, Norway.

The Minority in Parliament, led by Okudzeto Ablakwa leveled claims of cost inflation against the ministry over the conversion of a 100-year-old 6-bedroom house in Oslo Norway, into Ghana’s new mission in Norway.

But the in a statement, the ministry said discussions are still underway towards the planned purchase of the said House.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not signed any agreement to purchase the said properties; that is the Chancery and the Ambassador’s Residence.”

Below is a statement from the ministry

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 8.5million dollars.
For the avoidance of doubt here are the facts;

1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not signed any agreement to purchase the said properties; that is the Chancery and the Ambassador’s Residence.

2. 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.

3. As of now the Ministry has not entered into any binding agreement with the owners of the properties.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. This directive was immediately communicated to the parties involved.

The Ministry wishes to assure the public that it would not engage in any transaction that lacks transparency or does not conform to proper procurement standards, ensuring value for money.

Accra, 17th December, 2018.

By: Joseph Nii Ankrah