The Chief Executive Office (CEO) of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Mr Charles A. Abugre, says the authority has fixed over 90 per cent of the system challenges that led to the financial misappropriation, which bedevilled the authority prior to his appointment in June 2014.
The loopholes were fixed by a combination of internal and external controls instituted by the board and management to help avert a repeat while strengthening the capacity of SADA to respond appropriately to operational challenges, Mr Abugre said.
In its current stage and capacity, the CEO said it was nearly impossible for the authority to experience what it went through in its formative years, which gave it bad press and negative public perception.
He told representatives of five political parties and the media in Accra that recent operational audits into the systems and structures of the authority also showed that “SADA is now much better” than it was some years ago.
“These audits were done simultaneously by private firms and our internal auditors. Our finances were reviewed by the private auditors and the risk levels assessed to be low.”
“Generally, I can say that over 90 per cent of the issues that SADA faced have been dealt with effectively, including our efforts to collect back monies,” he said at the meeting that was initiated by the authority to help update the parties on its operations while getting their buy-in to its operational structures.
NPP on SADA
SADA, which was established in 2010 as a national response to the development challenges facing the northern savanna ecological zone (NSEZ) of the country, had to spend the earlier part of its existence sorting out internal challenges. This was after funds meant for specific interventions were misapplied or under-utilised for the various purposes.
The issues led to the overhauling of the board and management executives, which brought in Mr Abugre, a development economist to restructure the institution and get it to properly execute its mandate.
While attributing majority of the challenges to lack of internal capacity and political and public pressures, the CEO said the authority had now reinvented itself to be able to deliver its mandate fully.
“Everything we do now is done by a well structure, competent national institution and is grounded by law. We are now trying our best to be non-partisan, professional and to get any government in power to take our mandate seriously,” he said.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the All People’s Party (ACP).
After listening through the presentations of the authority, the representatives said everything showed that the perceptions about the authority were based on the old issues contrary to what was happening.
“Before coming here and listening to the presentations, we had been made to understand that SADA is a monumental failure but I can say that it has completely been rejuvenated. This shows that leadership is key and as they say, if the head is rotten, the entire system will fail, the Deputy General Secretary of the NPP, Mr Bob Charles Agbontor, said.
He thus pledged the party’s support to the operations of the authority, explaining that an NPP government will only reform the internal structure and operations of the authority should it realise that it was incapacitated.