The military is constructing a new cemetery at Burma Camp at the cost of $6 million to replace the current one at Osu.
However, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, finds it outrageous to spend such a huge amount of money on a cemetery when there is not enough accommodation for officers at the barracks.
He has therefore caused the review of the contract and succeeded in bringing it down to $4.5 million.
The Deputy Minister of Defence, Major Derrick Oduro (Rtd), who revealed this, said the downward review followed a probe by the ministry into the cost of the project, which was awarded by the previous military high command under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress administration.
He said the ministry was still in consultation with the contractor to push for a further reduction.
“The contractor was to construct a wall to cover the 64-acre land located at 5BN Burma Camp, an asphalt walkway and a place where visitors will be sheltered for refreshment on the new cemetery,” he disclosed.
The cemetery, when completed, will replace the Osu Military Cemetery that is almost full, and civilians will also have a place to bury their departed ones at a fee.
Major Oduro (Rtd) revealed that during the review process, the two parties agreed that the contractor should construct a concrete road through the cemetery instead of asphalt.
He made this known when he toured One Garrison last Thursday in the company of the substantive minister and the military high command.
The tour was to acquaint the ministers with the situation on the ground and for him to inspect projects, some of which had been abandoned while others were still ongoing.
Mr Nitiwul, who was accompanied by the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Obed Akwa, the Chief of Naval Staff, Real Admiral Peter Kofi Fable, and other service commanders, ordered the military high command to open investigations into allegations made by the Minister of Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, that some soldiers were providing security for illegal miners (galamseyers).
He said legal and military action would be taken against those soldiers, if found culpable.
“Previous government, through the Chamber of Mines and the Minerals Commission, requested for military protection for some mining companies which have the licence to operate; and we are also going to look into that agreement and make possible amendments,” the defence minister averred.
He urged the command to punish any soldier, who out of his own way, was providing security for illegal miners without the authority of the top men of the Ghana Armed Forces.
After touring some SSNIT projects abandoned 10 years ago, the minister said government had made provision of GH¢23 million for those projects to be completed.
The 18 high-rise buildings, when completed, would provide security for about 36 senior military personnel.
At the Army Recruit and Training School at Shai Hills, Mr Nitiwul ordered that an amount of $50,000 be taken from the peacekeeping fund to rehabilitate some dilapidated apartments being occupied by instructors.
He promised the personnel that government would soon launch a housing project to resolve their housing challenges.
At the 1BN regiment, and the army recruit training school, the minister discovered that most of the military lands had been taken over by encroachers and urged the high command to make sure they recover those lands.
He said the government intends to extend the retirement age of military personnel. For the commission officers, government intends to add five years to their retirement age of 15 years to help beef up the numbers while recruits would spend 30 instead of 25 years.
By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey