Government denies MP's claims

Government on Tuesday denied claims by the MP for Ashaiman, Mr Alfred Agbesi, that President John Atta Mills promised to renovate the Job 600 building during his State of the Nation address in parliament early this year. A statement signed by the Minister for Information Mrs. Zita Okaikoi explained that while government recognised the importance of providing office accommodation for Members of Parliament and "we are indeed working towards that, I must state emphatically that President Mills did not make any promise in the house to refurbish the Job 600 building". Government has, however, been working to provide MPs with offices. According to Mrs. Okaikoi, in August government through the Ministry of Works and Housing announced that it had secured a $24million facility to commence work on the Job 600 building. The modalities required to commence the works, according to the Works and Housing Ministry, were to be discussed with the leadership of parliament. "I am aware that the Finance and Economic Planning Ministry has been engaging with the leadership of Parliament on this project and there are plans to start with meeting rooms." The statement said Mr Agbesi's criticism of the President was unfair and misplaced given that the President did not make the stated promise for which he had been negatively portrayed in the media and in public discussions. "Government will continue to welcome positive and constructive criticism in furtherance of our promise to run a transparent and open government. We would also continue to engage positively with all Ghanaians but we also wish to point out that we must be judged based on what we do." On the claim by the MP that the former Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs building has been allocated to "Castle Boys", the statement described it as disappointing and dishonourable both the claim and description. "That building houses the offices of Deputy Chief of Staff Mr Alex Segbefia and also the operations of Brand Ghana, two very important offices under the office of the President. It is also being used by Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr, who chairs the Nkrumah Centenary Celebration. To describe these personalities and offices as 'Castle Boys' is indeed most unfortunate," the Minister said.