…As shipping coy which ‘smuggled’ in mercenaries in 2016, turns cocoa supplier

A new mileage of suspense has just opened in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s thickening corruption script, as the Minority in Parliament raises alarm over another sweetheart deal involving a regime crony.

McDan Shipping company, a shipping line known to have hobnobbing history with the ruling party, is revealed to have secured a GH₵10,459,500.00 loan from the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) in contravention of due diligence.

In a tale that invokes déjà vu, ADB has apparently given out the loan without the approval of a Board, while the Ghana Cocoa Board has awarded a supply contract to McDan without tender as prescribed by the country’s Procurement laws.

Caught in the thick of the whole deal, in which the government has lent out money to a company in order to enable the company to carry out a contract that the same government has awarded it, is usual suspect, Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister.

Yesterday, the Minority in Parliament revealed that selfsame Ofori-Atta, who sold a $2.25billion bond to his business partner’s company in March, this year, on the blind side of everybody, including the Attorney General, orchestrated the ADB lending to McDan.

He did so by arrogating to himself powers of a yet-to-be appointed Board of the ADB and writing to the managing director of the bank to give out the loan to McDan, according to the Minority.

The letter instigating illegality

“The Minority has in its possession a letter dated 9th June, 2017, with Reference No. PID/PEU/01/2017 and signed by Hon. Ofori-Atta giving approval for a loan of GH¢10,459,500 from the ADB to MacDan Shipping Company Limited,” Minority Leader Haruna Idrissu, read out at a press conference in Accra.

He added that, “The letter addressed to the Managing Director of the ADB with the heading, RE: APPROVAL OF CREDIT FACILITIES – MACDAN SHIPPING COMPANY LTD states in paragraph 2 that: “Approval is hereby granted you to disburse a credit facility in the sum of GH₵10,459,500.00 (Ten Million, Four Hundred and Fifty-Nine Thousand, and Five Hundred Ghana Cedis) to MacDan Shipping Company Ltd. This is to enable the company undertake its business operations and in particular to execute a supply contract awarded to it by the Ghana Cocobod.””

Hon. Haruna Iddrissu, who is the Member of Parliament for Tamale South, pointed out that the Board of Directors of the ADB is yet to be constituted by the NPP government.

The 9th June, 2017 letter, therefore, reveals that McDan Shipping, has been illegally given a loan by the ADB.

Track record

Stating that the McDan loan is only one of several such decisions that have been approved by the NPP government without recourse to a Board, the Minority demanded a reversal of the loan along with every other suchlike illegal transaction made by public entities in the absence of a Board.

“We call on President Nana Akufo-Addo to direct a reversal of these illegal decisions and acts of malfeasance as well as take appropriate steps to restore good corporate governance practices in our state-owned enterprises, in this case ADB.”

Regime crony

In the McDan sweetheart deal, the company would not spend a dime but stands to make millions in profit from government.

Interestingly, this same McDan Shipping Company was connected to the cause of the ruling party when the NPP was in opposition.

In March 2016, two out of three South African ex-Police Officers that the NPP had smuggled into the country to train the party’s private security were linked to Mac Dan.

Indeed, Dr. Daniel McKorley, Chairman of the McDan Group of Companies, was revealed to have invited in Denver Dwayne Naidu and Mlungiseleli Jokani.

The third person, Ahmed Shaik Hazis, was revealed by Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) probe to have been invited into the country by Nana Attobrah Quaicoe, Director of Danquah Institute (DI).

After they had been smuggled into the country, the NPP had hosted them at the El Capitano Hotel at Agona Dunkwa in the Central Region before the BNI had fished them out.

Subsequent interrogation had seen Hazis, the leader of the team, reveal that Captain Edmund Kojo Koda, Head of the then Candidate Nana Akufo-Addo’s Security detail, had contracted him to train the same NPP flagbearer’s security detail in the buildup to the 2016 election in December.

As part of fallouts from the BNI investigations, details of the operations of Superlock Technologies Limited (STL), an Israeli company that the Electoral Commission had engaged to electronically transmit election results in 2012, were also found in their possession.

After the suspected mercenaries had been deported from the country in March, the NPP would go on to win the 2016 elections in December amidst reports by the EC that its electronic transmission system had been hacked into.

Yesterday, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu, wondered if the sweetheart deal that McDan has been awarded by the NPP government is in show of gratitude for the company’s help to ferry in the South Africans in 2016.

Curiously, even though McDan is a shipping company, it got a supply contract from COCOBOD, and the whole process of giving out the contract happened under a cloud of question marks.

Questions from COCOBOD’s end

“The contract for which authorization of the ADB loan was approved by the Minister for Finance, we are told, originated from the Ghana Cocoa Board.

“Was the contract awarded using the ‘Sole Sourcing’ procurement process? If the answer is “yes,” then the law requires that approval be sought from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA). As at now, the PPA has no Board, so who granted approval for the use of the sole sourcing process to the Ghana Cocoa Board? Have the procurement laws of the nation been adhered to?

“Was the contract awarded through a Competitive Tendering procurement process? If this was done, the value of the contract (GH¢10.46 million) would dictate that it goes through the Central Tender Review Board (CTRB). As at the time the contract was awarded, the CTRB was not in place. Using the Competitive Tendering procurement process without recourse to this critical government entity would also constitute a violation of the procurement laws of the nation.

“It seems clear that whatever process was used in awarding the contract could not have been in line with the procurement laws of the nation,” Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu asked yesterday.

Clear illegality from ADB’s end

From the end of the ADB, the Minority Leader pointed out that there was clear illegality at play because per financial administration laws of the country, it is only the ADB’s Board of Directors which has power to approve loans.

The ADB’s Board is not yet in place as President Akufo-Addo has not yet appointed it, Hon. Iddrissu said.

Interestingly, weeks before the McDan shipping loan issue would be raised by the Minority yesterday, MP for Bolga Central, Isaac Adongo, had raised the alarm that the government had borrowed Ghc450million from the same bank in the absence of a board.

Yesterday, Hon. Haruna Iddrissu said, the Minority’s concern about the illegalities at the ADB is not just because the bank’s majority shareholder is government, but that there are other shareholders who stand to lose if ADB is mismanaged into the ground.

He said, the fear of the Minority is further justified by the fact that UT and Capital banks, which recently collapsed, folded up because of bad performing loans.

ADB’s shareholding structure is made up of – 32.30% for the    Government of Ghana, 24% for Belstar Capital Limited, 11% for Starmount Development Company Limited, 10% for SIC Financial Services, 9.50% for the  Bank of Ghana, 6% for EDC Investment Limited, and 7.20% for Retail investors and ADB staff.

The Minority pointed out that the absence of a Board at the ADB is not an isolated case, as many public entities, for some reason, do not have their Boards in place, almost a year into the administration of the NPP government.

Illegalities all over

Some of these institutions, without Boards in place are however transacting businesses that only their Boards have power to sanction. Hon. Haruna Iddrissu mentioned the National Identification Authority (NIA) as an example.

It has long been in the public domain that the March issuance of the controversial $2.25billion bond to Franklin Templeton by the Finance Minister had been done without recourse to the Board of the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) of Ghana, which still does not have its Board in place.

“We call on President Nana Akufo-Addo to direct a reversal of these illegal decisions and acts of malfeasance as well as take appropriate steps to restore good corporate governance practices in our state-owned enterprises, in this case ADB,” Hon. Haruna Iddrissu said.

The Minority Leader warned that if by the end of the year, Boards of all Government entities are not put in place and any of them appears before Parliament for approval for any expenditure, the Minority will resist.

Déjà vu!

Meanwhile, the sweetheart deal that Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta is said to have given McDan Shipping Company Limited, looks like a dress rehearsal of the 5million litre contaminated fuel contract that the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company awarded to Movenpiina a few months ago.

Just like this McDan deal, in which the company is afforded the privilege to carry out the contract at the expense of the state to make profit, Movenpiina was given the privilege to cart away the contaminated fuel on credit to sell and pay back later in the contaminated oil scandal.

Movenpiina was therefore put in a privileged position not to spend a dime on the contract and yet make millions in profit.

Later, according BOST MD, Alfred Obeng Boateng, Movenpiina agreed for its consignment to be shared with Zupp Oil and Mcwest, other suspected crony companies.

Mean streak

A corruption script that the NPP government appears to be animating so far includes the shady award of contracts by COCOBOD to the NPP’s MP for Efutu, Alexander Afenyo Markins.

MP for Assin Central, Ken Agyapong, who revealed that shady deal, said Afenyo Markins gifted him Ghc40,000 in show of gratitude for his (Agyapong’s) facilitation of that contract.

Musician, A Plus, recently revealed that he was awarded a contract by BOST, apparently without tender, while it has come to light that the President’s cousin, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has set-up a machine at the Flagstaff House to extort monies from prospective investors who try to meet with the President.

The NPP government of President Akufo-Addo has also borrowed a total of Ghc900million from the ADB and the Universal Merchant Bank, which are both partly owned by government, without recourse to Boards of the banks.

Already, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who has appointed personnel from his personal bank, Databank, to senior positions at the Finance Ministry and the Board of the Bank of Ghana, is suspected to have used the Ghana Commercial Bank to acquire toxic assets of the UT and Capital banks in order to save the investments of cronies in those banks.

The same Ofori-Atta is said to have tainted the Ghana Revenue Authority and the National Investment Bank (NIB) with Databank associated influences, including NIB Board Chairman, Togbe Afede, who is a co-founder of Databank.

Meanwhile, Ken Ofori-Atta’s biggest act of suspected corruption is his sale, in March this year, of $2.25billion bond to Franklin Templeton, a company in which his business partner, Trevor G. Trefgarne, is a director.




Source: Samuels

The Republic News Online

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