The University of Ghana has responded to claims by CEO of Africa Integras, Andrea Pizziconi, that the University was deliberately sabotaging a concession agreement between the company and the school.
The management of the university says it is ‘urgently investigating’ the claims.
Responding to a series of media reports on the state of the Africa Integras Project at the University, including an article on citinewsroom.com calling on the University management to act on the deal, the University explained that a number of allegations by Ms. Andrea Pizziconi were untrue and misleading.
The statement signed by the registrar of the University of Ghana, Mrs. Mercy Haizel-Ashia said all the claims by Ms. Andrea Pizziconi in the media are being contested by the University and yet to be finally resolved.
“The University of Ghana is aware that there has been media discussions in relation to the contract for the construction and operation on a concession basis, of new academic and accommodation facilities at the University’s Legon campus, commonly known as the Africa Integras Project.”
“In a recent media interview, Ms Andrea Pizziconi, some-time CEO of the concession company made a number of allegations which are incorrect, without merit or misleading. This includes the misleading allegation that the University is subject to an award which currently has the binding effect of an arbitration award. In fact all claims by the concession company are contested by the University and are yet to be finally resolved.“
According to the University management, they will vigorously defend the school against all claims including using every possible legal avenue.
“The University is urgently investigating these matters which may call into question the validity and effect of the entire concession contract, any and all claims made under it. The University will pursue its entitlements and vigorously defend itself against all claims using all legal avenues available to it.”
The University of Ghana also rubbished claims that the University would have made huge profits if the Africa Integras deal fell through adding that the deal would have imposed a substantial and financial burden on the University.
“Ms. Pizziconi also wrongly claimed that the University would have stood to earn huge sums (in the region of US$2billion) over the course of the concession period. The University rejects this claim also. The Concession would have imposed a substantial and continually-increasing financial burdens on the University,” the statement added.
Current UG VC didn’t object to $64m expansion project – Africa Integras
The construction firm at the centre of the $64 million infrastructure expansion project at the University of Ghana, Africa Integras, in March 2019 disclosed that the current Vice-Chancellor of the university did not raise any objection to the project at the negotiation stage.
The firm alleged that the current Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu before his appointment was part of a series of meetings held prior to the contract’s approval, hence his sudden U-turn on the deal was shocking.
“There were about 25 or 30 of the senior management [staff] of the university that attended [the meeting], so he would have been at that meeting and there were few other meetings [that we held]…I don’t recall him asking any question. My understanding is that subsequent to that meeting he raised no concerns about the progress. It was well before he was appointed as Vice-Chancellor,” she said.
About the project
The Africa Integras deal was to see to the construction of an expanded facility for the College of Humanities, a new ultra-modern College of Education, a new facility for the Basic and Applied Sciences and the Institute of Technology and Applied Science as well as a new facility for the College of Health Sciences to be located near the newly built University of Ghana Medical Centre.
Included in the deal was the construction of a 1,000-capacity student hostel to be shared between undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Health Sciences.
If completed, the Africa Integras project would have been the largest single expansion of infrastructure project in the University’s 70-year history.