Ghana’s then President, John Dramani Mahama on Thursday, Feb 7, 2013 officially moved the seat of the government of Ghana from the old colonial slave post Osu Castle to the Flagstaff House built with India’s help. Minister for Information and Media Relations Mahama Ayariga confirmed that the government would conduct “formal” business from the House starting Feb 7. The move came after four years of dithering over what to do with the building which was being used by the ministry of foreign affairs.
The ministry planned to relocate to a new building being built with help from China. “Staff of the ministry of foreign affairs are to relocate from the administration block so that we can make a complete move to the Flagstaff House in 2013,” the president had said in December. However, the new presidential palace has gone through several controversies.
First, then president John Atta Mills decided not to use it after its completion, citing security reasons. This was in line with his election campaign promise that he would not live in the building because the money spent on it could have been used on other things to benefit the poor.
However, John Kufuor, under whose presidency the construction was initiated, praised the Indian government for providing the funds.
There was also concern about its cost. Originally estimated at $36.9 million, the cost shot up to $135 million with the provision of additional facilities to enhance security. The amount was part of a $60 million funding from the Indian government that has a 50-percent grant element at an interest rate of 1.75 percent, repayable in 25 years, including a five-year moratorium.
The building returned to the original name of Flagstaff House after it had been changed to Jubilee House by President Kufuor. Shapoorji Pallonji of India was named as contractor of the project, which started in 2006.