The facade and a few other parts of the Council of State Office building in Accra, close to the Parliament House, will be demolished and reconstructed for an estimated GH6 million.
This is owing to claims that the structure, which cost GH4.6 million to construct and was finished in 2016, was built improperly and is therefore inappropriate for its intended function. One such claim is that the conference room is too small.
Stephen Blay, the acting executive secretary to the Council of State, complained to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament in Accra on Wednesday that the facility’s lack of a sewage system and private restrooms prevented them from having private conversations during meetings.
“The building was built without a plan, which was revealed in 2017 when the 7th Council of State assumed office. There isn’t a single appropriate meeting space in that building. Although there are 31 members of the Council of State, only 15 persons can fit in the building’s conference chamber.
“The sewage system, other than that, was never finished. People on the ground floor may hear whatever you say thanks to the communication system when you are speaking from the top. Therefore, the Council of State decided that occupying it at that time was inappropriate, he added.
In response to inquiries raised by the 2021 Auditor-General Report on Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, which indicated that the Council of State building was still vacant, Mr. Blay testified before the committee.
He claimed that in 2017, after realizing that the structure, which had been built and overseen by the Public Works Department, was insufficient, the Council of State called the Ghana Institute of Architects to conduct an inspection, which led to the conclusion that the structure required remodeling.
The model, according to Mr. Blay, was scheduled to be completed between 2018 and 2019, but when the Drop-That-Chamber campaign was in full swing, it was decided against since it would not have been appropriate to demolish a portion of the structure.
He claimed that the Council of State requested GH6mil for the remodeling of the building in a 2021 proposal to the Ministry of Finance, which was accepted but not released.
He said that the Council of State had reconsidered the remodeling plan in July of last year and had since talked to the chief of staff and the ministry of finance, submitting to the latter options for remodeled structures and a budget for consideration.
Dr. James Avedzi, the committee’s chairman, expressed concern over the predicament and asked Mr. Blay to send the committee a copy of the evaluation report.
Samuel Atta Mills, the member of parliament for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem, proposed that instead of demolishing a portion of the structure, it be donated to the Zongo Development Fund, which is looking for an office building and paying close to GH60,000 in rent each month.
He suggested that a new structure be built for the Council of State, and Mr. Blay said he would convey that recommendation to the Council of State for consideration.