A former Greater Accra Regional Treasurer of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Kwesi Arthur has petitioned the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the Minister of Trade, Industry, PSI and Private Sector Development in respect of acts of impropriety committed in the management and administration of the Export Development Fund, (EDIF).
The Ghanaian Observer newspaper on Wednesday published the petition, details of which the paper described as one that 'will make the jaw of the most stiff-necked man drop and also cause an Egyptian mummy to stir.. whilst some prayed that the allegations may remain unproven.'
In a three-page letter dated the 21st day of April, 2007, Mr. Arthur who describes himself as a company director by occupation and the Regional Treasurer of the NPP for the Greater Accra Region for the period 1995 to 2005 states that "I make the following complaint and set down the acts of impropriety in the public interest in the discharge of my civic duty to disclose information that relates to unlawful or other illegal conduct which cause or has a serious likelihood of causing financial loss to the state."
Mr. Arthur has also informed CHRAJ in his petition that he served as "... a Government appointee and a representative of the private sector on the 1st Board of Directors of EDIF from 20th September, 2001 to 23rd October, 2006 when the Board was reconstituted by the Minister of Trade, PSI and Private Sector Development, Hon. Alan Kyerematen."
The Ghanaian Observer said it is at the moment checking on documents linked to a company called PSI Properties Limited which has two EDIF officials, namely, a certain Kwabena Mensah Nkrumah and Barbara Oteng Gyasi having already signed a loan agreement for US$1.5 million in favour of PSI Properties.
No official of PSI Properties has however signed the loan agreement with EDIF, according to the paper, and the loan agreement is dated the 16th day of May, 2006.
The role of PSI Properties Limited is popping up in the petition and the paper says its checks have revealed that PSI properties Limited was given a Certificate of Incorporation on the 10th day of July, 2003 duly signed by the Registrar of Companies and granted a Certificate to Commence Business on the 15th day of July, 2003.
Documents from the Registrar General's Department in possession of GO name the subscriber(s) to PSI Properties Limited as PSI Ghana, with address as PSI Secretariat, State House, Osu, Accra. The company is described as a company limited by guarantee and acting per its chairman, Hon. Alan Kyeremateng who is also one of the directors of the company.
Form 3 of the documents in respect of the Registrar General's Department forms for company registration states the following as the authorised business or nature of objects of PSI Properties:
i) To promote free zones and free zones development
ii) To acquire land or property for the purposes of free zone development
iii) To lease, sublease, rent or sell property in the free zones
iv) To develop infrastructure within the free zones
v) To manage free zones
vi) To do all other things related and incidental to the above
Mr. Arthur's petition of which the role of PSI Properties is one of the leitmotifs is grounded on seven points:
1. Payment by EDIF to the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the sum of 32.0 billion cedis at the request of Mr. A.S. Bekoe who signed for the Minister, Hon. Alan Kyerematen to five (5) selected companies for the refurbishment of the former GNTC properties at Adjabeng, Accra
2. Ultra vires actions by the Ministry of Trade in respect of the management of EDIF funds
3. Rental of office premises
4. Conflict of interest
5. Reconstitution of the first board of directors of EDIF by Hon. Alan Kyerematen
6. Appointment of K.M. Nkrumah as Director of Credit and Acting Chief Executive of EDIF
7. Credit facilities approved through EMPRETEC Ghana Foundation as the guarantor financial institution.
In respect of issue seven (7) above, Mr. Arthur alleges in his letter that EMPRETEC is “…headed by one Nana Tweneboa who was appointed by Ministry of Trade and Industry to head PSI on Garments. After taking monies from EDIF by way of grants and now that the PSI garment office is virtually dormant, he has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of EMPRETEC ... All loan approvals by the Board of EDIF routed through the E M P R E T E C should be investigated as the transactions are in excess of 20.0 Billion cedis when the company's balance sheet cannot support a risk of US $1.0 million and therefore the transactions have a serious likelihood (sic) of causing financial loss to the state should the companies default since EMPRETEC lacks the financial capacity to honour its guarantees in favour of EDIF."
Regarding the payment of 32.0 billion cedis by EDIF to five selected private companies, Mr. Arthur charges that the said payment was made contrary to legal advice provided by the Attorney General. "The Attorney General advised that the request from MOTI for the payment of the money was illegal and offended the provisions of the EDIF law and that the Board (of EDIF) would be acting ultra vires if it acceded to the Minister's request."
He further alleges that "the monies were in effect free monies to the private companies chosen by the above-named public officers, i.e. Mr. A.S. Bekoe and Hon. Alan Kyeremateng in spite of the legal advice from the Attorney General that the request is unlawful."
He then charges that Hon. Alan Kyeremateng has caused financial loss to the state by his conduct as well as those of Mr. A.S. Bekoe, the Director of Finance, Human Resources and Administration of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Though Mr. Arthur does not name the five companies that benefited from the 32.0 billion cedis in his petition to CHRAJ, he charges that the payment of the said sum for the refurbishment of the GNTC properties at Adjabeng is illegal.
"There is evidence that the whole Adjabeng Warehouse could be rebuilt anew at a cost of no more than US$500,OOO.OO (five hundred thousand US dollars) or 4.7 Billion cedis and yet over 30 Billion cedis has been allegedly spent by MOTI which appointed contractors without complying with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act."