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14.06.2005 General News

Hotel Kufuor: More Evidence Unravels

Hotel Kufuor:  More Evidence Unravels

Palaver -- The credibility of Mr. Kwabena Agyepong, Press Secretary to President Kufuor, has been dented further by the revelation that the 'star witness' in the "Hotel Kufuor" drama, Lebanese-American Giselle Yazji, was in communication with President John Agyekum Kufuor and conducting official business for him on behalf of the Government of Ghana as recently as August 2004.

In a letter dated August 24, 2004, Ms. Yazji wrote to President Kufuor reminding him of their (Giselle Yazji/President John Agyekum Kufuor) recent conversation and to inform him that the Kuwaiti Fund for Development would be arriving in Ghana in the first week of September 2004 to complete the agreement to finance the rehabilitation of the Maternity and Children's Blocks of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital

In an earlier e-mail from the Kuwait Fund to Giselle Yazji, the Fund had requested her to arrange for the delegation to be issued with entry visas in Accra on the delegation's arrival.

The delegation comprised Abdulkanim Sadik, Zakaria El-Hashim and Saoud Al Ammar.

This new revelation is in stark contrast with what Mr. Kwabena Agyepong told the country when the scandal first broke, to the effect that Ms. Yazji was engaged for a one-off transaction some time in 2002 and had since ceased to work for the NPP Government.

He subsequently described Ms. Yazji as an inveterate liar and a blackmailer.

Ms. Yazji's letter, published below, exposes Kwabena Agyepong's lies.

Subsequent to the visit of the Kuwaiti delegation, however, Mr. A. Alhashim of the Kuwaiti Fund wrote to Ms. Yazji on September 29, 2004 that the team cane back from Accra without initialling the loan because the Ghanaian authorities said they were reconsidering the whole matter as they were thinking of building a new hospital instead of rehabilitating the existing Korle Bu Hospital which meant extra feasibility studies and more time delays.

It is believed that President Kufuor and his advisers had by that time decided to convert "Hotel Kufuor" into a Children's Hospital and were therefore intending to divert the Kuwaiti Fund money from Korle Bu to the "Hotel Kufuor" conversion.

"Ms. Gizelle Yajzi came to the attention of the Ministry of Finance as a lobbyist in the Gulf and Middle East Region. She assisted a government delegation to Kuwait in December 2002 to secure a quick resolution of the rescheduling of Ghana's debt of $32 million owed to Kuwait, and also in securing a $600,000 grant from the Kuwait government for an agricultural feasibility project for the Accra Plains.

The expenditure on Ms. Yazji were on the air fare and per diem for four days.

Ms. Yazji has therefore not been engaged as Special Adviser to the Minister, and is not "running up bills that threaten to cause serious financial loss".