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Architects question fairness in parliamentary chamber contract

BY: Daily Graphic
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library photo

The Ghana Institute of Architects has faulted the government for the “irregular” issues surrounding the intent to build a new chamber for Parliament.

It further questioned the fairness in the apparent award of contract for the controversial chamber.

It said the absence of a governing board for the Architects Registration Council contributed to the murky events, which had since been shelved.

“We are of the opinion that perhaps the powers that be have deliberately reneged on their responsibility to deploy a new board to enable some of these highly irregular activities to prevail,” the architects’ body said in a statement.

“If there had been a board, it would have advised on alternative responses for the challenges being argued in support of the project,” the statement said.

By the statement issued on July 8 and signed by its Honorary Secretary, Mr Augustus Richardson, the GIA urged Parliament to adhere to the Public Procurement Act 914 of 2016 to ensure transparency, equal opportunity and fairness to be taken to forestall future occurrences.

“Steps must be taken by the government to ensure that the ARC board is put in place immediately. This will avert the reoccurrence of such avoidable infractions in the process leading to the appointment of consultants,” the GIA stated further.

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The GIA consequently warned that if by the end of July 2019 the government had failed to constitute a governing board for the Architects Registration Council, it would resort to legal action.

In the statement, the GIA said, “the Architects Registration Council (ARC) has not seen the lawful constitution of a board since 2017 and all efforts made by the GIA council for the past one and half years have not yielded fruit.

“Indeed, on March 9, 2017, when the minister wrote to the GIA requesting that the GIA submit names of nominees, we promptly responded on March 10, 2017. Fifteen months and counting and we still do not have a board.”

Consequently, the GIA said it had decided to “serve notice that we will proceed to resort to legal action should the government not have the ARC board set up by the end of July 2019”.

Basis

Stating the basis for its call for a board and the intended legal action, the architects’ body said, “Our Institute is one which is mandated by our Constitution to concern itself with all matters relating to the activities of architecture in this country, deriving this authority from the Architects Act, NLCD 357 of 1969.

“This act further spells out the constitution of a governing board, legally mandated to regulate the activities of architects and protect the public interest with regard to those affairs,” the statement said.

The GIA, however, maintained that several appeals and letters on the anomaly to the minister and Ministry of Works and Housing from a major stakeholder on the governing board for the GIA had not yielded positive results.

“We have further gone as far as the presidency to inform the President in November 2018 about the negative impact of the absence of the ARC board,” the GIA added.

According to the architects’ body, “in the past few years, the term of office of the governing board of the ARC has been defunct, and amazingly the government, which is enjoined by the Constitution to swear in a new board, has not seen it relevant enough to constitute a new board”.

The group said “currently the registration council is being run by the registrar and a couple of deputies, who have taken decisions that ordinarily would have required the board’s objective deliberations and approval”.