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Foreign Minister in heated argument with North Tongu MP over building cost

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway on Monday had a heated verbal exchange with the Minority Member of Parliament for North Tongu (NDC), Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa for claiming that the Ministry is inflating the cost of a 100-year-old building it intends to buy for the purposes of establishing a new mission in Oslo, Norway.

According to Mr. Ablakwa who is the Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, the Ministry quoted $12.1million for the building instead of $3.5million.

He said the Minority’s investigation uncovered that $16.5million presented to the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament as the budget for the new mission in Oslo, the Chancery and the Ambassador’s residence is “outrageously high.”

“It is outlandishly inflated,” Mr. Ablakwa said during approval of the budget estimate for the ministry on Monday.

The building, he said was bought in 2014 for NOK 25.2million which is equivalent to $2.9million and per a Norwegian newspaper, in 2017, the property was sold to an unknown buyer for NOK31million which is equivalent to $3.5million.

“Then our Foreign Ministry is buying this at NOK105million which is equivalent to $12.1million. A property that was sold for only $3.5million last year, August last year. What’s going on? Where is the due diligence? Who did the evaluation report?” he said stating the Norwegian press are describing the entire transaction as ‘unethical’.

“The breakdown that the foreign Ministry presented all the times have been inflated,” he stressed.

Not enthused by the claims of the Minority, Ms. Botchwey and the North Tongu lawmaker engaged in verbal exchanges in the lobby of Parliament.

She was also not happy that the NDC Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram Samuel Nartey George had brought out his phone and was filming the verbal exchanges.

 
 

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