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General News Fri, 12 Sep 2008

Govt' to followup on Oman Ghana Trust Fund Money, IF ....

Finance and Economic Planning minister, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, has demanded a written and signed undertaking from Mr Gregg Frazier, the American businessman who claims he can assist Ghana to redeem a long-held fortune at a Swiss bank.

He further asked the American businessman to publicly declare the password and code needed to access the money, particularly so when he had already made the amount involved public.

“We need to go all out and demand everything. Right now, we’ve gone beyond the stage of secrets,” he said.

Last Tuesday, a group known as Friends of Oman Ghana Trust Fund renewed the call on the government to take decisive steps to retrieve the money.

“One hour after arrival at the bank, the current account which contains about $47 billion will be retrieved.

The other six accounts which are investment savings account will then be activated and within six months that will also be available for retrieval,” the group indicated at a news conference in Accra.

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After that, Mr Gregg Frazier told the Daily Graphic that he would offer himself for prosecution in Ghana if his story turned out to be false.

“If we go to Switzerland and the money is not there, I want the government to bring me back to Ghana and prosecute me,” he told the Daily Graphic in an interview on Wednesday.

“I don’t believe it. I saw it, Kofi!” Mr Frazier exclaimed, in response to a question as to whether he really believed Ghana had more than $400 billion stacked in the United Bank of Switzerland for more than five decades.

He said he had personally seen a huge ledger book of the account, which was two feet long and one-and-a-half feet wide, adding, “I know what I saw and I’ll be a coward to leave it behind and go back to America.

I love Ghana and I want Ghana to be strong.”

The latest pronouncements of Mr Frazier, who has waged a relentless crusade for the retrieval of the money for more than two decades now, throws a challenge to the government to pursue the money, which was allegedly deposited in the Swiss bank in 1959 by the government of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) to facilitate the prosecution of its economic and development agenda.

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Mr Frazier, 60, claimed he gave $8 million to the late John Ackah Blay-Miezah in various sums between 1959 and 1985 towards the Oman Ghana Trust Fund with the understanding that his money would be multiplied ten-fold.

However, it has been very difficult for him to claim his investment, particularly after the death of his friend, Mr Blay-Miezah, an illusion that compelled him to leave his country and family in America to come and settle in Ghana since 1986 to pursue the retrieval of the Oman Ghana Trust Fund from the Swiss bank and his own money.

Since coming to stay in Ghana in 1985, Mr Frazier has visited his native America only once in 1995 for a 10-day period.

He said his long stay in Ghana was to see to the end of the matter, adding that he had strong faith that one day his persistence would pay off.

"Now I've reached a point of no return. I can't go back to my family until I finish this project," he remarked.

Mr Frazier said upon the last check in 1986, the accounts in the UBS was $423 billion and considering the fact that the Swiss bank prided itself as being able to double accounts in seven years, Ghana was likely to be richer by about $3.2 trillion by now.

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He said it was only God who had been protecting the money from falling into wrong hands.

Mr Frazier asked the government to make him a special advisor to any delegation that would be sent to Switzerland for the retrieval of the money because he would want them to get the money and not to be stranded as had been the case previously.

Responding to a suggestion that he would be a hero in Ghana if he was able to help the government retrieve the money, the former US Army captain said with excitement, "That's the part I love.

I want to be called a friend of Ghana".

Asked whether he shares the perception of many Ghanaians that his late friend Blay-Miezah was a trickster, Mr Frazier said to the extent that he (Blay-Miezah) managed to have access to the money in the Swiss bank, "Yes, he was a trickster".

Commenting on the issue, Mr Baah-Wiredu said the Bank of Ghana would be formally directed to follow up and investigate any fresh evidence on the matter.

He said although one could not dismiss anything when in government, it could be embarrassing for one to also accept everything.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said it was important for Mr Frazier to disclose every information he had about the money and how it could be retrieved, dismissing suggestions that such disclosure could allow any smart person to access the money.

Source: Graphic