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09.08.2005 General News

Hotel Kufuor: How It was Funded

News Hotel Kufuor: How It was Funded

—— ECOWAS Bank paid US$1 million —— President abused position as ECOWAS Chairman —— Drs. Apraku and Nii Ashong fingered --- J. S. Addo was the kingpin The scandal-rocked “Hotel Kufuor” was funded in part with a US$1 million loan facility from the ECOWAS Regional Investment Bank (ERIB), one of the two subsidiaries of the Lome-based ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, in 2004.

The Hotel is the first and only Ghanaian investment to have been funded by the EBID and its predecessor ECOWAS Fund since the establishment of the ECOWAS in the mid-1970s.

Four other projects appraised by the ERIB in 2004 alongside the Hotel were:

· The supply of Internet, communication and data transmission services by Power Line International in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire for CFA F500 million;

· Guarantee of a debenture loan for Imprimerie Tunde S.A. in Cotonou, Benin, for US$2 million;

· Guarantee of a debenture loan for the industrial group SIFCA in Cote d'Ivoire for US$4 million;

· Guarantee of a debenture loan for the Dakar Port Authority in Senegal for US$12 million.

At the time the NPP came to power, a Kasoa-based industrialist who manufactures laminated jute sacks for the export of salt to landlocked ECOWAS countries had had a facility approved for him to expand his factory. His facility was cancelled on the suspicion that he was an NDC sympathizer and also that he owed some local Banks. Part of that facility must have been what was diverted to finance “Hotel Kufuor”.

ERIB's priority sectors are energy, telecom, transport and industry, yet the first project that the new Bank chose to finance in Ghana was “Hotel Kufuor”, classified in the Bank's investment portfolio description as investment “leisure”.

At the time “Hotel Kufuor” was approved for financing in 2004, President Kufuor was the Chairman of ECOWAS and Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister of Regional Integration and NEPAD, was Ghana's representative on the Board of Directors of EBID.

By virtue of the President's position within ECOWAS, Dr. Apraku was also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of EBID. Former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Nii Ashong was his alternate Director.

The groundwork for the “Hotel Kufuor” deal had been hatched in 2001 when President Kufuor through various shenanigans and chicanery and using his then Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration got the Ghanaian Managing Director of the EBID, Dr. George Adja-Sipah Yankey, removed from the Bank, tried as one of the 'Quality Grain' defendants, convicted and jailed.

With the way thus cleared, and to facilitate the deal, Mr. J. S. Addo, one-time Governor of the Bank of Ghana, described by Presidential Press Secretary Kwabena Agyepong as “a close friend of the Kufuors”, was appointed by Dr. Apraku, with the approval of President Kufuor, to the Board of Directors of ERIB as the representative of EDIB. Mr. J. S. Addo was subsequently appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of ERIB and presided over the meeting that approved the loan facility for “Hotel Kufuor”.

From the ERIB, Mr. J. S. Addo then channelled the facility through the Prudential Bank, of which he is the Chairman. From Prudential Bank, the facility was released to be used to make the part-payment for “Hotel Kufuor”, known in the books of ERIB to be owned by the Airport West Hospitality Company Limited, a company incorporated in 2002 with no track record whatsoever and solely owned by Chief John Addo Kufuor.

Whatever investigations Anna Bossman may be doing, it is clear that Mr. J. S. Addo is a very material and relevant witness. He was appointed by Dr. Apraku to the ERIB with the approval of the President as EBID'S representative. He was made the Chairman of the ERIB Board of Directors. In that capacity, he chaired the meeting that approved the US$1 million facility for “Hotel Kufuor”. He channelled that money to his own Bank, the Prudential Bank, of which he is the Board Chairman. He is a member of the Council of State that endorsed President Kufuor's proposal to promote Mr. Richard Ackom Quayson to the position of Deputy Chairman of the CHRAJ in the middle of CHRAJ's investigation into the “Hotel Kufuor' Affair.

Now the position of Presidential Press Secretary Kwabena Agyepong in relation to his early comments on the “Hotel Kufuor” Affair assumed a new significance. Kwabena Agyepong was the one who first revealed that the financing of “Hotel Kufuor” was a strict business deal between Chief Kufuor and Mr. J. S. Addo. This was published in the 'Daily Guide' newspaper.

Within 24 hours, Kwabena Agyepong reversed himself, claiming he had never mentioned Mr. J. S. Addo's but had all along meant Prudential Bank. Since then, Kwabena Agyepong, like Charles Sam, the alleged self-appointed spokesman for Chief Kufuor (according to 'Daily Guide'), has maintained a calculated silence in the matter of the Hotel, probably also maybe like Charles Sam, he is “as sick as a parrot”.

Read next Friday's issue for Part two of this most revealing investigation report.