27.05.2005 General News

We don’t know Yajzi - Spanish embassy

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The Spanish embassy in Ghana is denying claims that Madam Yajzi was fronting for the Spanish government.

Speaking to Joy News, the Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, Hose Montey Alegro (Jose Montealegro), says the embassy is not aware of any Spanish NGO that intends to buy the hotel.

“We have contacted the main Spanish NGO's that work in Ghana and they have all confirmed that, at no moment did they ever think of buying that hotel and they did not contact any agent be it a lady or gentleman of whatever nationality,” he says.

He says it could be possible that unknown to the Spanish embassy, some Spanish NGO's might have expressed interest in the hotel. “ But the big NGO's that we know about and has been operating in Ghana for several years, none has done anything regarding the hotel,” he says.

Asked if the Spanish embassy is aware of any transactions that might have taken place on behalf of the Spanish government by Ms Yajzi, Mr. Alegro says he was surprised to hear and read about the issue in the newspapers.

“In this case I can be extremely categorical in the sense that at no moment has the Spanish government has given any loan, grant or whatever to any NGO in order to purchase a hotel. Moreover the Spanish government has never, I repeat never envisaged the possibility of buying such hotel,” he says.

When asked if it could be possible that Ms Yajzi was fronting for the Spanish government in other business transactions, the Spanish ambassador says “ There again I can be extremely categorical, never, never, we have never had any contact with this lady looking at our achieves.”

The NPP government was to access some protocol facilities when it resumed power in 2000 but it was unable to do so because of some few hitches.

However access to the protocol facility was resolved after a visit to Spain by President Kufuor.

Quizzed whether the lady might be linked to the facility, Mr. Alegro replies “ Not at all and I can tell you as regards the first financial protocol which is ending by the end of the year. All the monies have been disbursed for specific projects in education, health and electricity sectors.”

Gizelle Yajzi, the woman at the centre of the hotel controversy maintains the President owns the hotel structure because she was authorized by him to negotiate a good price for the building, which was to be converted into a hotel.

She claimed on Joy FM that the president discussed the purchase of the hotel with her in September 2001 and asked her to personally negotiate a deal for him.

“I have letters and emails from his son to me, everything. The owner of the hotel is John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Ghana,” she says.

Her story may be believed because of her acknowledged former job as advisor to the President.

With relatively little known about her origins despite claims to experience in international loan financing, Presidential spokesman Kwabena Agyapong says it's her word against the President.

“President Kufuor has not bought any hotel as being suggested by the Democrat, the Palaver, the Lens and his son is involved in the transactions,” he says.

Chief of staff 's statement says the President never sought to buy the hotel under any guise and did not request anybody to negotiate its purchase on his behalf.

The latest to join in the effort to exonerate the President is the MP for Afigya Sekyere East, son-in-law of Anthony Saude who owns the multi storey hotel.

“I think Chief Kufuor became surprised. The topic was changed and so that means the woman was representing herself. He (Chief Kufuor) didn't say anything, he was looking at the woman who was doing the talking,” he says.

David Yeboah's statement raises more questions.

Why would the President's son, Chief, introduce an investor to the owner of the hotel that he himself is interested in and go into the negotiations with her looking on and butting in?

Well it appears that the more explanations are given into 'Hotel Kufuor' the wider the inconsistencies.

In an interview on JOY FM, the hotel owner's son-in-law Heneric David Yeboah explains that he negotiated with Madam Yajzi who has claimed that she accompanied the president's son, Chief.

According to Mr. Yeboah, Madam Yajzi claimed to be working on behalf of a Spanish NGO and offered to convert the hotel complex into a children's hospital.

Mr. Yeboah says his father-in-law rejected that idea, effectively ending the negotiations.

“ And she said no, they want to build a new hospital, so you will buy the hotel and change it into children's hospital and use it as charity for the Spanish government,” he says.

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