A murky $150 COVID-19 test contract awarded to Frontier Healthcare Services Limited (FHSL) incorporated in Ghana on July 21, 2020 - just 40 days before President Akufo-Addo opened the air borders - has set tongues wagging.
FHSL is embroiled in an ownership suspicion as it's linked to a company incorporated in the notorious offshore tax haven of Dominica, an island country of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea.
Per Registar-General's documents, FHSL is owned by another Ghanaian company called Healthcare Solution Services Limited (HSSL) which was also incorporated on June 3, 2020. HSSL is also wholly owned by another company called The Peters Family Company Ltd incorporated in Dominica.
The Peters Family Company Ltd seems to be the Ultimate Beneficial Owner of HSSL and FHSL in Ghana which were registered barely one month apart and the latter awarded the COVID-19 testing contract at the KIA despite being incorporated only 40 days before the air borders were opened.
The Registrar General's Department has no records of the Ultimate Beneficial Owner of the string of companies except a string of foreign and local directors who are fronting for the actual owners.
However, most of the work of FHSL at KIA is being done by scientists from Noguchi and nurses from the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (Ridge) with “Nigerian supervisors,” GhanaWeb finds. A senior airport official who spoke to GhanaWeb on condition of anonymity said: “I don’t know why we gave this contract to a foreign company. As you can see, Noguchi is doing everything and look at these Nigerians standing there like slave masters. My brother, where is the can-do spirit that our president always talks about.”
The directors of FHSL are: Jean-Laurent Louis (TIN=P0009487379); Samuel Bansah (TIN P0001525662). Bansah is also the company’s secretary. Meanwhile, the directors of HSSL are Samuel Bansah (TIN P0001525662), Jean-Laurent Louis (TIN=P0009487379) and RATKO KNEZVIC (TIN=P0009329250). The secretary of HSSL is one Chuks Chukwunwike (TIN=P0009329188).
The FHSL website where travelers to Ghana are directed to pay the exorbitant $150 for the COVID-19 test using a credit or debit card has copyright violations and is managed by Nigerian-owned First Atlantic Bank, GhanaWeb investigations reveal. The domain name was purchased on August 27, 2020, for a year by an offshore company based in Panama. It expires on August 27, 2021.
The mysterious Peters Family Company Ltd., GhanaWeb investigators are confident, belongs to Nigerian billionaire businessman Benedict Peters; and the company is located on Hanover Street, Hodge’s Lane in Dominica’s capital city, Roseau.
Who is Benedict Peters?
Nigerian billionaire Benedict Peters owns AITEO which is described as the largest indigenous oil producing firm in Nigeria by output. Peters’ estimated net worth is around US$3 billion, making him the 7th richest man in Nigeria and the 17th richest man in Africa. When the pandemic broke out in Nigeria, Peters donated $30 million to the country’s COVID-19 fund.
Despite his wealth, Peters is somewhat of a controversial figure, smeared with several allegations of corruption, criminal conspiracy, bribery, diversion of funds and money laundering. He is accused of conspiring with former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Maudeke, to misappropriate public funds.
While out of Nigeria in 2017, the country’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) declared him wanted in respect of crimes they claim he committed together with the infamous Mrs. Alison-Maudeke, who is wanted in Nigeria but is currently held up in the UK where she is facing corruption charges.
After Peters was declared wanted, the EFCC imposed an Interim Forfeiture Order on his properties in the UK worth billions of dollars. The Supreme Court of Nigeria in Abuja lifted the Order and accused the EFCC of "gross misstatements, concealment and misrepresentation of facts"
However, in 2018, a high court in Nigeria ordered Peters to be removed from the wanted list since the EFCC did not obtain a warrant before placing him on the list. After the EFCC removed his name from the list, he didn’t return to Nigeria but went into self-imposed exile.
Benedict Peters and Ghana
According to intelligence gathered by GhanaWeb, Peters has been in self-imposed exile in Ghana since 2018. He is a close ally of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, and a close friend of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in the company of Benedict Peters and his wife Ella at the 2018 CAF Awards in Accra/ Photo: Aiteo
Benedict Peters and his wife Ella greet President Nana Akufo-Addo at the 2018 CAF Awards in Accra/ Photo: Aiteo