#DropThatChamber: DYMOG petitions CHRAJ

The proposed new chamber

A pressure group, the Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana, (DYMOG), has petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to probe the possible breach of procurement in the appointment of Adjaye and Associates as consultants for the construction of the new 450-seater parliamentary chamber.

The decision to construct a new chamber of Parliament at a cost of $200 million has attracted a huge public outcry culminating in a social media campaign dubbed: #DropThatChamber.

A number of Civil Society Organisations including the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and pressure group OccupyGhana have condemned the idea, describing it as a “misplaced priority.”

Ghana’s parliament is considering building a new ultramodern chamber to serve the lawmakers. The Parliamentary Service Board has already received the architectural model for the new chamber from renowned Ghanaian architect David Frank Adjaye, the same designer of the National Cathedral.

The 450-seater chamber will come with a chapel, mosque, restaurant, and a museum. The current chamber houses 275 seats for MPs.

In a petition, DYMOG stated that it decided to trigger this action because “it appears details of the entire project and procurement process is shrouded in secrecy such that, key stakeholders such as members of parliament were completely unaware of the project until the unveiling ceremony.”

The petition signed by Executive Convener Edward Tuttor added that “there is the possibility that, the Public Procurement (Amended) 2016 Act, Act 914 may have been violated in the procurement process.”

DYMOG among many other demands is asking CHRAJ to “establish whether or not, the substantive contract for the construction of the new 450-seater parliamentary chamber block has been awarded. If Yes, through which process, awarded to whom, at what cost and from what source of funding?”

The group is also requesting that proceedings of the probe be telecast live on national television for the public to follow.

Below is the full petition by DYMOG

The Commissioner,

Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ),

Accra.

Dear Commissioner,

PETITION TO INVESTIGATE POTENTIAL BREACH OF THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT (AMENDED) ACT, 2016 ACT 914 IN THE APPOINTMENT OF ADJAYE AND ASSOCIATES AS CONSULTANTS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW 450-SEATER PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER BLOCK AND OTHER MATTERS

We the Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana (DYMOG) are in the public interest invoking the proper jurisdiction of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) based on Article 218 (a) and (e) of the 1992 Constitution to investigate and establish all material facts that concern the construction of a new 450-seater parliamentary chamber block.

On Friday 28th June, 2019, the leadership of parliament officially unveiled the architectural design of a new 450-seater parliamentary chamber block. At the ceremony, an excerpt of the Speaker of Parliament’s speech was “…in fact we had a tender process by which we had three architectural firms competing for this job. Two from Ghana, two firms from abroad…the Institution of Engineers was asked to make an analysis and bring a report which was one sided overwhelmingly in favor of those that were chosen. So we are making progress…” In fact, the appointed consultant is Adjaye and Associates whose delegation of officers were present at the ceremony to brief the media on the design and project.

On Thursday 4th July, 2019, Hon. Governs Kwame Agbodza, Member of Parliament for the Adaklu Constituency and a member of the Entity Tender Committee of Parliament on Citi Fm’s Eye Witness News said “…as far as I am concerned, it is not possible to appoint David Adjaye as the consultant for this project simply because the Entity Tender Committee of Parliament is unaware or at least I am not aware…”

On Friday 5th July, 2019, both the majority and minority leaders submitted on the floor of parliament on this same matter that “……the procurement and financials of the project remain inconclusive…” days after the commencement of a huge public outcry on a campaign dubbed #DropThatChamber.

WE, at the Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana have decided to trigger this action informed by the following reasons:

1. From the Speakers speech on Friday 28th June 2019 (unveiling ceremony), the testimony of Hon. Governs Kwame Agbodza in the media and the submission of the majority and minority leaders on the floor on Friday 5th July, 2019 there appears to be gross inconsistency notably in the procurement process for the project.

2. It appears details of the entire project and procurement process is shrouded in secrecy such that, key stakeholders such as members of parliament were completely unaware of the project until the unveiling ceremony.

  1. There is the possibility that, the Public Procurement (Amended) 2016 Act, Act 914 may have been violated in the procurement process.
  2. Most importantly, the inadequate openness and absence of stakeholder engagement (Members of Parliament, General Public and Civil Society) prior to the unveiling ceremony may be motivated by the sheer impulse on the part of key actors to satisfy ‘personal interests’ in the process thus far.

In the public interest, the Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana prays the Commission to investigate and establish the following:

  1. Pursuant to sections 20, section 66 and schedule 1B of the Public Procurement (Amended) 2016 Act, Act 914 determine whether or not, the Entity Tender Committee of Parliament performed its lawfully mandated duty in the appointment of Adjaye and Associates as consultants for the construction of the new 450-seater parliamentary chamber block.
  2. Going by the 2019 approved budget for the Parliamentary Service and the 2019 Appropriation Bill, clearly establish how the entire process leading to the appointment of Adjaye and Associates as consultants for the new 450-seater parliamentary chamber block was financed and at what cost.
  3. Clearly establish how the final or unveiled architectural design for the new 450-seater parliamentary chamber block was arrived at, the cost involved in the process and how it was financed.
  4. Finally, establish whether or not, the substantive contract for the construction of the new 450-seater parliamentary chamber block has been awarded. If Yes, through which process, awarded to whom, at what cost and from what source of funding?
  5. We humbly and respectfully also request that proceedings of this probe be telecasted live on national television for the public to follow.

It is our expectation that, this probe will bring closure to this matter. Thank You.

On behalf of the Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana,

EDWARD TUTTOR

Executive Convener.

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