Hardly a week passes without a story or two about the involvement of President Akufo-Addo and his family in shady deals with different architectures, meant to siphon our hard-earned taxes from the national treasury. Ghanaians are not even given the space to exhaust the discussions on the corruption and broad day thievery perpetrated by the Akufo-Addo led government; we get bombarded by new scandals every week.
As we are still performing the surgery on the stinky Asaase/Agyapa deal which the Attorney General has described as "unconscionable," suddenly, Open Source Investigations (OSI) broke the news that President Akufo-Addo and his cousin, Ken Ofori Atta, have paid several thousands of dollars to their hired international propaganda unit, KRL International LLC, in line with the work the firm did for the President while in opposition.
The Consultant to KRL International, Riva Levinson is noted for her dirty PR works and lobbying, even for Autocratic/Totalitarian regimes. For example, at the height of South Sudan’s Civil War in 2014 where millions of vulnerable women and children were suffering from summary killings, detention in squalid conditions and arbitrary arrests, Riva Levinson was engaged by the regime and paid several thousands of dollars for cover stories and dirty PR. She did same for Somalia’s Siad Barre and DR Congo’s Kabila and other autocratic regimes especially in Africa.
Given her credentials in dirty PR and lobbying, Nana Akufo-Addo engaged Riva Levinson's PR firm to partner him in the run up to Ghana's 2016 elections. Although KRL admitted that the organization has worked with Nana Addo since 2008, records with the US Department of Justice reveals that KRL officially signed its first contract with the “I Am For Nana Foundation” on 1st June, 2016. The contract was signed by Chris Beatty, MD for KRL and Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta, cousin to President Akufo-Addo and Director of “I Am For Nana Foundation.”
Per the terms of reference, KRL was supposed to design a communication strategy for NPP. This strategy was what obviously resulted in key deceptive slogans like 'one village one dam' and the rest. The key agenda was to design a smear campaign against President Mahama; repeated lies, unsubstantiated allegations, personal attacks among others. This ultimately won the NPP power in 2016, which KRL touts itself as having contributed significantly to.
Fast forward after winning the elections, KRL admitted in its response to OSI, of having been engaged again by the Office of the President-elect to help the transition team in its work. Whatever PR work that needed to be done for the Office of the President-elect during the transition period, only God and Nana Addo know.
Documents available to Open Source Investigations (OSI) indicates that on the 28th of February 2017, KRL International LLC applied to the US Department of Justice for amendment and change of information in respect of the client. In this case, the client name which originally was “I Am For Nana Foundation” was changed and extension of contract effected.
Sections 3, 4 & 5 of the amendments make it clear that KRL International LLC sought to revise its registration with the Justice Department to reflect extension of contract and change of the name of the client. The new name as per the amendments on the 28th February, 2017 is “The Office of the President-elect for Ghana”. This is completely different from the first client, “I Am For Nana Foundation” that signed the June 1, 2016 contract.
Section 5 of the amendments specifically states: “Contract Extension between KRL International LLC and I Am For Nana Foundation/Office of the President-elect for Ghana.” It continues to say—NB: original contract was with the election campaign foundation for Nana Akufo-Addo. He became President-elect and is now President of Ghana. This contract extension for the reporting period is between KRL International LLC and the Office of the President-elect for Ghana.”
From the above description, it is clear that there was an extension of contract between KRL International and “The Office of the President-elect”. The illegality perpetrated here has to do with the time the contract was being extended and who the client was.
For the purpose of this narrative, the office of President-elect only existed from the 9th of December, 2016 to the 6th of January, 2017. During this time, the “I Am For Nana Foundation” original contract with KRL didn’t exist since the campaign was over. So if amendments were sought by KRL from the US Department of Justice on the 28th of February, 2017, the client cannot be the Office of the President-elect for Ghana, because that office didn’t exist in February 2017.
So, between 28th February, 2017 and June 27th 2017, KRL International was engaged by the Government of Ghana but using the client name “I AM FOR NANA FOUNDATION/THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT-ELECT FOR GHANA.” Meanwhile per the records, the above client name didn’t exist in Ghana.
Who then paid KRL International between 28th February, 2017 and June 27th 2017 after the extension of the contract?
Is it the Government of Ghana or the I Am For Nana Foundation?
Why has KRL International had to write back to the US Department of Justice on the 30th of August, 2017, and indicating that the company had signed a new contract with the Ministry of Finance, so wanted a change in client name to "the Ministry of Finance"?
It is criminal per the Ghana’s Supreme Court ruling for the government of Ghana to enter into an International Agreement without sending it to Parliament for ratification. So the contract that was extended between 28th February 2017 and June 27th 2017, was supposed to be an International Agreement between the GoG and KRL International.
Why use our taxes to pay for work done for “I Am For Nana Foundation”, a private entity according to the laws?
Again, paragraph 6 of KRL's own counter statement to the OSI investigative report contradicts the facts.
KRL says, “the document which OSI cites as a “contract extension” dated 28 February 2017 is in fact a reporting document submitted to the Department of Justice on that date. This report refers to a “contract extension in this reporting period [August 1, 2016 ‐ January 31, 2017] between KRL International LLC and the Office of the President‐elect for Ghana.” To my understanding, the Office of the President-elect didn’t exist between August 1, 2016 to 31st January 2017. So, how come a contract which was supposed to have been extended from August 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 refer to the client as the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT-ELECT FOR GHANA, when indeed no such office existed during this period?
Who is telling the lie here?
What all these narrative points is that, KRL International LLC did PR work (dirty campaign against Mahama) for Nana Addo and his NPP in opposition to win election 2016 at all cost. Without money to pay them, Nana Addo and his cousin Ken Ofori Atta decided to use our taxes to pay KRL International LLC for the services rendered to Nana Addo’s campaign “I Am For Nana Foundation”.
This was just a sweetheart deal meant to pay the company for helping Nana Akufo-Addo to make sweet promises, smear John Mahama's govt and win the 2016 elections. Period!
By Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese
(Loud voice from Laribanga)