Anator Holdings Company Limited has denied claims by pressure group OccupyGhana that the Government of Ghana intends investing pension funds of taxpayers to fund a deal signed between the state and embattled businessman Alfred Woyome by acquiring a 24 per cent stake in a $35 million project.
OG in a statement on Monday, 28 November warned state pension fund manager Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to stay clear of using taxpayers’ pension contributions to fund the deal.
The project has to do with Mr Woyome’s proposal to build ‘Green Townships’ in Ghana. According to OccupyGhana, “This concept, at the time, was allegedly to provide solar power and 20,000 houses for some Urban Renewal Project, which was to be ‘replicated and adapted to agriculture, mining or manufacturing communities.’ It made fantastic and unsubstantiated claims of providing 12,000 permanent jobs and 30,000 construction jobs for two years, and would ‘lift over 200,000 people above the poverty line, including residents and workers on the project.’”
The group said: “We must also point out that the Framework Agreement entered into between the Government and Woyome’s Anator Holding Company Limited, is silent on this alleged 24% stake in a joint venture. The question to be asked is why the Framework Agreement fails to mention such a critical material particular? These are the matters that have led us to conclude that the Framework Agreement is illegal and a nullity, at the very least, on the ground of material non-disclosure.
“We call on the government to declare publicly that it is not bound by this illegal Framework Agreement. We call on the government to publicly renounce and repudiate that document, as well as all other steps that have been taken on the back of it. We call on SSNIT not to consider, even for a moment, to use the pension funds of Ghanaians to fund this latest phantom Woyome project.
“In the coming days, we will show to Ghanaians even more shocking aspects of this matter. If Ghanaians do not arise to occupy their democratic space, public officials, either through negligence or complicity, will engage in shady and dodgy deals that would cost the nation money that we do not have and should not be spending,” OccupyGhana said.
However, Anator Holding said in a counter-statement that it was writing to correct the “rather unfortunate picture painted of the public enterprise project which will add final processed value to as much of our natural resources as possible, offer millions of job opportunities to Ghanaians and promises to place Ghana firmly in the centre of the global community of prosperous nations.”
It said the project, which has taken more than 12 years to incubate, “is not a contract from the Government of Ghana to Anator Holding Company Limited.” “As far back as 2002, Anator Holding Company Limited has led a team of seasoned local and international consultants to think through setting up industrialised Green Towns in every district of our dear country.
“When later the project was introduced to the government of Ghana in 2009, the government saw it as a potential public private partnership and was willing to accept 24% participation stockholding in it.
“In 2015, Anator Holding Company Limited had to sign an MoU with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the statutory regulatory body for all ports and port-related activities in the country. The purpose of the MoU was to ensure that before the development agreement was executed between the two parties, Anator had from its own resources, conducted a successful feasibility study into the project.
“The government of Ghana confirmed its interest in the SEZ project as a potential PPP by executing a framework agreement with Anator Holding Company Limited.
“Anator Holding Company Limited has also singed an MoU with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission to collaborate in stemming systemic challenges in food production in the country. Anator is pursuing this PPP project worth billions of dollars with its own resources.
“The government of Ghana is just a facilitator, as the main beneficiary in the PPP arrangement without putting in a dime, except to gain over $2.5billion per annum in GDP increase and taxes,” the statement signed by Justice Nutifafa Doe said, adding that: “The project will also create over 50,000 managerial jobs, a minimum of 350,000 direct skilled jobs and over 3 million direct and indirect unskilled jobs.”