'I didn't just mushroom three years ago like some NDC characters who have become rich because NDC was in power.' Mr. George Addo Kufuor, a younger brother of President John Agyekum Kufuor who recently won a ¢400 million libel case against the Ghana Palaver newspaper has stated that he became fabulously rich years before his brother became the nation's leader. “George Addo Kufuor did not just mushroom three years ago like some of the NDC characters who have become very rich because NDC was in power”, he said.
Kufuor, a shrewd businessman, said he was not ashamed by any stretch of imagination of having been born into a very rich and respectable family, adding that he appreciates what God has done for him in particular and the entire Kufuor family. He was speaking in his plush Ringway office near the Bus Stop restaurant, Accra, few days after he had successfully won the legal battle against the Palaver. George said he was not like Michael Soussoudis, cousin of former President Rawlings, whom he alleged became prosperous and powerful because his brother was then President of Ghana. Responding calmly to assertions within some political circles that he had become a top businessman, untouchable and very rich out of the blue, George said he had been in successful business for over 30 years before the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) came into office. Flanked by two of his business partners, the brother of the President insisted that he had a business empire long before his elder brother assumed the reign of governance and categorically dismissed the perception that he was created by his brother. He issued a fiat suggesting that he was battle ready to use the law courts to protect his reputation, disclosing that he was in the process to file a write against former president Jerry Rawlings for alleging that he was the only person who had been given the mandate to import rice in Ghana, when he was asked to drop the case by his big brother, the President. He had wanted the former President to justify his allegation in court, he noted.
Continuing on his success, George Kufuor said he got his first job after he successfully completed his education in London when Star Brewery appointed him as a brand manager of the company in Ghana in 1969. He said he worked efficiently with the company for several years before he plunged into business over 20years ago. He also revealed that he was responsible for running the large estate of the Kufuor family scattered across the country.
According to him, during the AFRC and PNDC eras, he was in successful business and people who frequented the Accra Turf Club would recall that in 1969 he had about16 racing horses in the Turf Club. He further disclosed that during the PNDC era, he had his kids attending the high class Ghana International School (GIS) and could afford to take his kids to Europe and America for holidays twice every year, without any State or Government assistance.
Commenting on the Palaver case, George said though he is an advocate of free speech who believes the country can only develop if there is individual freedom of speech, that freedom must go with responsibility and limitation in order to protect the rights and reputation of individuals. He welcomed the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law as a good development but added that it should not be a vehicle for journalists to run down their enemies by destroying their reputation in order to satisfy some sections of the political divide.
Asked what he intends to do with the ¢400million cost awarded to him, he responded that he went to court to seek redress on the issue of his reputation which he had built for several years and which money cannot compensate for, and that as the right time the world would know what he would use the money for.
Subsequently, he threw a challenge to people he alleged were behind the Palaver story to come out boldly and confront him on those issues and not resort to hiding behind newspapers and radio stations. He therefore issued a caution to the presenter of radio gold's 'kokonsa' programme, which he claimed is presented by one Kwaku Afriyie to stop attacking his reputation before he drags him to court to seek legal redress to restore his reputation.