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22.07.2005 General News

Hotel Kufuor: Speaker Tries To Stifle Motion

Hotel Kufuor: Speaker Tries To Stifle Motion

— But Minority finds Hotel address just in time The Minority NDC's motion for a multi-partisan Parliamentary investigation into the circumstances surrounding the purchase of “Hotel Kufuor” was nearly torpedoed when the motion, filed by Minority Leader Alban Bagbin, was rejected by the Speaker's office.

The reason? The motion had only described the Hotel as “near the residence of the President” but had not stated the address of the Hotel.

Last Tuesday, the motion was queried and returned for the Hotel address to be supplied or else the motion would not be admitted as filed.

Some quick research work and consultation by the Minority Leader's office produced the address of the Hotel as being on “Plot No. 237/238, Airport West, Accra, Ghana”. And so the motion was saved.

It will be recalled that “Chief” John Addo Kufuor himself, in his Internet admission of part ownership of the Hotel, did not supply any address. He described it as “the hotel situated next to the President's residence”.

The intense media reportage on the Hotel has also always described it as being “near to” or “adjacent to” or “next to” President Kufuor's residence.

Only this week, a USA-based Ghanaian Law Professor, Dr. Kwasi Prempeh, bemoaned the extreme “technicalisation” of our Parliament, making it appear more like a court of law than a forum for the free expression of the views of the representatives of the people.

He described Parliament as having been hi-jacked and being held hostage by the lawyers in the House, making the non-lawyers and in the process preventing normal and ordinary debate and discussion.

Interviewed on Joy FM, Minority Leader Alban Bagbin largely agreed with Dr. Prempeh's views, citing specifically the convention that instantaneous proof of every averment made in the course of debate be produced or the averment be withdrawn.

Political observers however see the Speaker's action as one more move of the NPP to frustrate and abort the motion and prevent it from ever seeing the light of day in the House.

Earlier, the Speaker had refused to allow the Minority NDC from making a statement on the floor of the House on the “Hotel Kufuor” Affair, compelling the Minority to call a Press Conference to call for a multi-partisan investigation into the Hotel purchase. Correspondent. THE NIB BOARD THAT MADE THE DEAL POSSIBLE! That the state-owned National Investment Bank (NIB) contributed as much as US$2.2 million in both loan and equity in the “Hotel Kufuor” deal is now no longer news. What is news is the composition of the Board of Directors of the Bank that made this rape of the Ghanaian taxpayer possible.

The Board of Directors of the NIB, it appears, was very carefully composed by President Kufuor in a manner that would enable him have his way as far as the use of the state-owned Bank is concerned.

The Managing Director of the NIB, an ex-officio member of the Board, is of course Mr. D. K. C Gyimah who, as Chairman of the Tamale University of Development Studies Council, gained notoriety for falsely using a security scare to scuttle the Honorary Doctorate degree award ceremony for former President Jerry John Rawlings. He is a close associate of President Kufuor and one of the NPP moneybags who operates as an internal mobiliser of funds for the party.

Two key members of the Board are also very closely associated with President Kufuor. They are Messrs. Kwame Boateng, who is the de facto “Chief of Staff” of the Kufuor Household, and Charles Ohene, brother of Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education and a very intimate associate of President Kufuor. Ms. Ohene's relationship with the President is spoken about in hushed tones and in whispers in dark, lonely corridors.

The Chairman of the NIB Board is Dr. Charles Jebuni, a one-time working colleague of Dr. Osei Akoto at CEPA. Dr. Osei Akoto is the nephew-in-law of President Kufuor.

It will be recalled that when the “Hotel Kufuor” scandal first broke, Dr. Jebuni was one of the first persons that our Editor Mr. Jojo Bruce-Quansah contacted. He pleaded bank secrecy and confidentiality and refused to comment on the transaction.

'The Ghana Palaver' can also reveal today that some senior staff of the NIB are disputing the 2004 Financial Statement issued by the Bank. They contend that if the financial situation of the Bank was that healthy, it would have been able to pay the staff their annual bonuses and other entitlements, which could not be paid at the end of last year.

The staff is calling for a forensic audit or a Parliamentary Enquiry into the Bank's operations since 2001, arguing that the Bank is being operated as anything other than a state-owned asset in which all the people of Ghana have shares. A COMPANY CALLED “PRO-VISION CONSULT” Ghanaians would recall the principled and determined battle that the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan, with the support of all democratic-minded Ghanaians, fought when the NPP Government, working through the Chief of Staff, sought to take over the purchasing functions of the Commission in the run up to the 2004 elections.

The EC finally won and all Ghanaians heaved a sigh of relief and patted themselves on the back for a job well done.

But alas! It appears the Kufuor Government had the last laugh after all! 'Ghana Palaver' has learnt that the bulk of the contracts for the EC's procurements went to a Company called “Pro-Vision Consult Company Limited”, a company owned by one Nana Boateng, known more in the cocoa purchasing business.

Nana Boateng is the brother of Kwame Boateng, the de facto “Chief of Staff” of the Kufuor Household, who is a Kufuor-appointed member of the NIB Board of Directors.

Nana Boateng and Kwame Boateng are half-Ashanti and half-Fanti, their mother hailing from Apam. It is not known whether the two are related to Osei Boateng who, according to the 'National Democrat', facilitated a loan of US$7 million from the ECOWAS Fund for the purchase of “Hotel Kufuor”.

According to the 'National Democrat' story, reported in its issue No. 201 of Friday, 15th July – Sunday, 17th July 2005, President Kufuor had his son apply to the ECOWAS Fund for a loan of US$7 million. Prudential Bank was asked to secure the loan, which it did, with the help of one Osei Boateng, a close confidante of President John Agyekum Kufuor's and a customer of the Bank.

The paper further reported other benefits that that Osei Boateng got from what Prudential Bank got from the ECOWAS Bank.

Nana Boateng was the 'Chief Operations Officer' for the Special NPP Central Region Elections Project' and claims credit for the surprising overwhelming victory of the party in the Central Region.

Some disgruntled chiefs from the Central Region who revealed this information to the 'Ghana Palaver' claim that Nana Boateng short-changed them by paying them peanuts for the tremendous efforts they had put in to clinch victory for the NPP whilst others have been paid huge sums of money.