Press Releases of Mon, 28 Nov 201610
OccupyGhana warns SSNIT against funding new Woyome deal
OccupyGhana has noted that its last Press Release on the above-matter has been met with silence from government officials, and two farcical denials of there even being an agreement: one by Woyome and another by Mr. Selby, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Transport. We have rebutted this by posting the agreement on our website.
Our further review of the documents since that Press Release reveal even more disturbing facts that Ghanaians must know about, one of which is this:
The Government has issued a directive to SSNIT to use our pension funds to acquire a 24% stake in this phantom Woyome project.
The documents in our possession show that sometime in 2009, in a scheme similar to the Stadium matters which led to the first scam, Woyome managed to convince government officials that he could establish what he called “Green Townships” in Ghana. 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.”
Woyome managed to get the Finance Minister at the time, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, to write a letter dated 15th December, 2009 to “in principle accept participation stake holding of 24% in the joint venture.”
That letter was however clear that the Government was going to subject the proposal to further discussion with relevant stakeholders, leading to formal negotiations towards a definitive agreement. The letter was also clear that a final position on all aspects of the project would only be arrived at after discussions with all stakeholders, subject also to Cabinet and Parliamentary approvals.
It appears to us that this matter cooled off for several years while Woyome battled us in court over the GH¢51.2M that was unconstitutionally and fraudulently paid to him. By the time Woyome re-surfaced in 2014, what was a “Green Townships” project had transformed and ballooned into a huge Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project designed to do practically everything under the sun: electricity, deep sea ports, roads, railways, hospitals, factories, agriculture, mining, archaeological findings. You just name the project, and Woyome was going to do it.
On 19th August 2016, Woyome’s consultant, Albert Essamuah Associates Limited, now claiming to have been appointed as the Government’s consultants (and we are yet to see evidence of any such appointment), wrote to the Chief of Staff demanding the latter “to issue an urgent directive from your august office, to SSNIT through its Board Chairman, to take up the 24% stakeholding of the Government of Ghana in the Project SEZ on behalf of the people of Ghana.” This letter also revealed that “when the construction of the Port commences the value will escalate to over US$25 Billion.”
Although this letter was disingenuously silent about the value of the alleged 24% stake that SSNIT was to be directed to acquire, what is apparent is that either SSNIT or the Government was expected by Woyome to fork out a colossal 24% of US$25B for that acquisition.
That is a whopping $6 billion!
So, what Dr. Duffuor had clearly stated as an “in principle acceptance” with several approval conditions was, after the illegal Framework Agreement was signed between Woyome and Dzifa Attivor, being represented to the Chief of Staff as a firm commitment to acquire a 24% stake in the phantom project.
We are satisfied to note that the Chief of Staff asked for a legal opinion from the Attorney-General, not on whether or not Ghana had committed to acquire that 24% stake (which would be false), but on whether the government could issue the directive to SSNIT as demanded by Woyome.
An opinion dated 30th September 2016 and signed by Dr. Dominic Ayine, Deputy Attorney-General stated that the Chief of Staff “can issue directives with respect to SSNIT to take up the 24% stake in the Project,” but “subject to compliance with the investment guidelines established by the National Pensions Act (2008).”
We are satisfied that this opinion did not bind SSNIT to taking up the alleged 24% stake. However, we are concerned that in one part of the opinion, it is stated that “this is a proposed stake as opposed to an actual stake,” while another part claims that “Government has accepted the proposal [to take a 24% stake in the project] per the letter from the Ministry of Finance dated December 15, 2009…”
As pointed out above Dr. Duffuor’s letter of 15th December 2009 was heavily qualified, and none of the conditions contained in it had occurred. There is no obligation on Government to take that undefined 24% stake. Yet, this was now being packaged almost as a done-deal, and being foisted on SSNIT.
This is how Woyome works. That is how he ended up claiming and collecting GH¢51.2M from Ghana for no work done. The 19th August 2016 letter from his consultant betrays this, and we are horrified that our government and its officials are tolerating this obvious scam for even a day.
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.
Yours, for God and Country,