The official residence of the Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority has 11 air conditioners, after the renovation of the residence alone cost a whopping GHc 1 million.
The Director General, Kwame Owusu, said the number of ACs was reasonable, but on the low side.
“[For] each one of them to have air conditioner will be 13, so the 11 is not even enough and by the way, we don’t put them on all together,” he said at a Press Conference on Tuesday.
Following the renovation, the the two-bedroom residence, which is located at Cantonments, now has four bedrooms on the main structure, a living room, a dining room, kitchen, family room, library and a basement.
The renovations have been the subject of controversy with Mr. Owusu being questioned over conflict of interest claims.
But he said due process was followed when the renovation contract was awarded to his “friend”.
“Tender process went through administration. The bill of quantities was done… so the Director-General could not have influenced the outcome and given it to my friend and said increase the money so that when they do it, I can have your so-called chop chop.”
“Some Director Generals have a house allocated to them and have even a separate guest house for entertainment and if this Director General or any other Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority who superintends over the maritime industry in Ghana cannot have a four bedroom or five bedrooms [home], then I say it is mediocrity.”
Mr. Owusu also confirmed claims that the Authority was to have paid an amount of GHc135,000 to Luxe Suites Hotel, which he owns, for an end-of-year party for the staff of the Maritime Authority.
He however said the amount was to cover food for 500 people and not 100 as being speculated.
“We will like to also respond to the issue of the Authority having GHc135,000 for end of year party. It is true; there was a GHc115, 000 of the cost of the food for 500 people. It is in management records. Some people have gone out of their way to state that there was less than 100 people. I want to bring to your attention that we have 200 workers.”
He however rejected claims that the Authority blew an amount of GHc 10,000 on lunch for only eight people.
Mr. Owusu said such reports were mischievous and a calculated attempt to smear his reputation.
He said the amount was spent on 17 management members for multiple meetings and not on a single meeting.
Transport Minister orders probe
Meanwhile, the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has directed the board of the Ghana Maritime Authority to investigate the alleged misappropriations.
The Transport Minister in a statement said the board is expected to make its findings available to him for an appropriate decision to be made.
However, there are concerns about whether the board will do a fair job, considering their links to the Director-General.