The immediate past presiding member of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly ,Mr Abraham Boadi (Opooman) has said that, the actions of the Ashanti Regional Minister ,Mr Simon Osei Mensah to frustrate the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly is anti-progress.
According to him,his attention has been drawn to a malicious statement made by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon. Simon Osei Mensah on Friday, 8th November, 2019, on Kingdom Fm, a Kumasi based radio station and same published by broadcastergh.com, an online media portal which sought to impugn the credibility of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA).
‘Irespond to the said statement not because I have a mere soft spot for KMA, but as the immediate past Presiding Member, immediate past Chairman of the Public Relations and Complaints Committee (PRCC) and immediate past Member of the Internal Audit Committee who was neck-deep in the subject of discussion from stage of the project to its completion.’He noted.
The Regional Minister, on the said date, made a disparaging comment that, he doesn’t trust KMA in the allocation process, for which reason he has instructed the halt of the process, a statement, which has since gone viral on several news portals.
The said statement by Hon. Simon Osei Mensah, which obviously smacks of unjustifiable malice is not only ridiculous, but one that is bereft of basic evidential value to impugn the enviable credibility of the Assembly.
For the records, the Kejetia facility was handed over to the Assembly through the consultant, Avangarde in December, 2018 as a result of a protracted litigation by one Nana Karikari Asante (a known friend of the Regional Minister) which took the combined efforts of the Assembly and Otumfuor before the contractors could finish with the access road and not one and half years as being claimed by the Minister.
Again, the subject of premium payment was characterised by several back and forth as it was first mentioned by the Parliamentary sellect committee on Local Government prior to completion which the Minister himself intervened to get the five year renewable clause scrapped among others.
Emphasis must be made here, that, a project of this magnitude would always warrant Board of Directors consent before certain critical decisions such as rental values could be made by the Assembly.
Premium financing arrangements also deleyed the process as the Assembly and Traders could not reach common grounds on interest rates. When the Traders were asked to source for financing at banks of their choice, the Assembly waited for months without any positive sign until the Minister again intervened after his engagement with the Concerned Traders after which ultimatum by Kumasi City Market Limited was issued to Allotees who after receiving their allocations could not move into occupancy.
By virtue of his position as Chairman of the Regional Coordinating Council, he is privy to both solicited and unsolicited reports emanating from each stage of the processes from Registration, Verification, Validation, Exhibition to Allocation, which were all done in the full glare of the public and with the active involvement of the mass media.
After the validated report was sent to the Mayor, he subsequently forwarded same to the Internal Audit Committee of KMA for a thorough scrutiny.
These processes, as outlined above, were done in collaboration with key stakeholders, chiefly amongst them, were Kejetia and Central Market leadership, Transport Operators, as well as the representative from Manhyia. If the Minister’s action was not bourne out of mischief, couldn’t he have sought for an External Auditor to counter – verify what KMA had done, instead of blowing hot air in the media to disable the fortunes of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the City in particular and the Region at large.
For the avoidance of doubt, his action to halt the distribution of the keys to Traders is not only a slap in the face of stakeholder representatives but has needlessly incurred the displeasure of the Traders who are poised to move into immediate occupancy for the Christmas festivity to pave way for the construction of the second phase of the project.
The attempt by the Hon. Minister to frustrate the process is anti-progress, and has the tendency to cause financial loss to the Management of Kumasi City Markets Limited and must be condemned in no small measure.
By this statement, I call on the Hon. Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, the Hon. Minister of Finance and His Excellency the President of the Republic, to as a matter of urgency, call the ‘sacrosanct’ Regional Minister to order, to pave way for the construction of the second phase of the project which the President and Asantehene cut sod for its commencement barely six months ago.
‘I wish to reinforce the point that, any further delay in the transition of traders to the new Kejetia Market will be inimical to the progress of Asanteman and will be met with fierce resistance with all our strength as citizens of Kumasi.’He concluded.