The former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, has dismissed reports of impropriety in a $64 million agreement the University signed with Africa Integras under his tenure.
Professor Aryeetey told journalists that the University of Ghana had carried out the necessary due diligence and gone through the right procedures before the deal was signed.
The University in 2015 signed a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with Africa Integras to construct four new academic buildings and 1,000 student hostel beds on the Legon campus.
The project was structured as a 25-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract.
Professor Aryeetey said all relevant stakeholders, especially the University Council were involved at every stage in the processes leading up to the signing of the agreement, adding that it would be erroneous for people to claim that they did not know anything about the project.
He also dismissed assertions that that he had received financial inducements to allow the project to proceed.
“I can assure the public that nothing untoward took place. The processes that were followed were very transparent,” he said.
The project was expected to be completed in September 2017, and was set to include the construction of an expanded facility for the College of Humanities, a new College of Education, a new dedicated facility for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, and the Institute of Technology and Applied Science, as well as a new facility for the College of Health Sciences, which will be located near the new teaching hospital on campus.
Work on the project has since stalled, which according to Professor Aryeetey, will cost about 1,000 people their jobs and 20,000 students a chance to study at the country’s most prestigious tertiary institution.
“There’s no scandal, if there is one associated with the buildings, then it is coming up in the future. What is scandalous is that, we have stopped the construction for no good reason. The buildings didn’t come out of nowhere, it came as part of the strategic plan we had for the University of Ghana,” he said.
“By stopping the construction, we are putting a hold to the strategic plan, we are denying many young Ghanaians who would have had a chance to go to the University, and we are making it impossible for good research to be done. It was basically going to revolutionize the way we do teaching,” he added.
Professor Aryeetey added that, despite the concerns that have been raised about the cost that the University would incur over the cause of the period, the institution was well-placed financially to go through with the project.
“These projects are affordable. The University can afford them and does not need the intervention of anybody, not the government or SSNIT. It is expensive like many good projects, but it is certainly within the design to be able to take care of it. The University simply needs to do what had to be done in order to pursue the project,” he said.