…Using Brother As Proxy?
It is increasingly becoming apparent that Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, is a rip-off merchant with a ubiquity to scandal-prone financial transactions.
Even as Mr. Ofori-Atta’s fingerprints are smudged all over the questionable acquisition of the UT and Capital Banks by the GCB, it has emerged that he may have recently acquired shares in an up-market real estate property by dodgy proxy.
The Republic has been finding out about allegations that a brother of Mr. Ofori-Atta, Kwame Ofori-Atta, hauled a whopping $12.5 million to a bank account belonging to a Real Estate company in March, this year.
The company, Dream Realty, based in Accra, is the owner of a luxury tower, called ‘The Octagon,’ and the alleged haulage of the cash was meant for the purchase of majority shares in The Octagon luxury tower for the Ofori-Attas, sources say.
Details are still emerging, with hints at tax evasion openly possible.
The exact percentage of the shares acquired is not yet known. Sources however are emphatic that the $12.5million was moved within the same week that the Finance Minister had sold the $2.25billion bond to Franklin Templeton under a cloud of suspicion.
The coincidence has left those familiar with the deal dotting the lines into conclusion that the Franklin Templeton deal might have paid off handsomely, indeed!
What’s more, The Republic has discovered that one of the Board Members of Dream Realty, the company that put up The Octagon, is an advisor to President Akufo-Addo.
Indeed, Mr. Saied Assad Fakhry, who is also Founder and Chairman of Interplast Limited, has, as part of listed credentials on the website of Dream Realty, the fact that he is, “a member of the Advisory Council of the President of Ghana and an Honorary Consul of the Union of Comoros.”
Per the revelation, the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and his brother, Kwame Ofori Atta, have bought majority shares in a tower that belongs to a company whose Board Member is also an advisor to the President.
In the ensuing possibility of conflict of interest, there is a déjà vu – this is the same Ken Ofori-Atta, with a mean-streak that includes the Obotan scandal and the alleged forgery of the NPP’s letterhead to borrow money, who similarly sold the $2.25billion bond to Franklin Templeton, even though Trevor Trefgarne, his business partner, works with FT.
Again, selfsame Ofori-Atta currently has his fingerprints smudged all over the suspicious takeover of UT Bank and Capital Bank by the GCB Bank.
In that questionable acquisition by GCB, a Bank of Ghana, whose Board is tainted with officials from the Finance Minister’s personal company, Databank, used the GCB to acquire the two banks, which have collapsed.
On the BoG Board, Keli Gadzekpo, a co-founder of Databank with Mr. Ofori Atta, is a Board Member, even as eight Senior Civil Servants at the Ministry of Finance have been replaced with people from Databank by Ofori-Atta.
Analysts have not failed to see that Mr. Ofori-Atta is using GCB to acquire the two collapsed banks in order to protect cronies, including Pastor Mensah Otabil, who is the owner of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC).
The ICGC and Otabil and Associates, together, held 10% shares in the collapsed Capital Bank.
As Board member of the BoG, Keli Gadzekpo is colleagues with Mrs. Comfort Ocran, who is the wife of Albert Ocran. Albert Ocran is the CEO of the ICGC, owned by Pastor Mensah Otabil, who was Board Chairman of the collapsed Capital Bank that the BoG has used the GCB to acquire without recourse to shareholders of the GCB.
Recall that similarly, in the FT scandal, Ken Ofori-Atta had rushed to sell off 95% of $2.25billion worth of domestic bonds to the company based in America. The bond had practically been sold on the blind side of Ghanaians, while the Akufo-Addo government was less than 100 days in office.
Later, media enquiries had revealed that FT was a company in which Trevor Trefgarne is a Board Member, even as Mr. Trefgarne is also a Board Chairman of Enterprise Group, a company co-owned by the Finance Minister and Keli Gadzekpo, who is CEO.
The alleged $12.5million dollar acquisition in the Dream Realty makes the Ofori-Attas, who are cousins to President Akufo-Addo, majority shareholders in The Octagon luxury tower, sources say.
As a multi-purpose tower, The Octagon is complete with a hotel, offices, up-market living apartments and a helipad.
Located on the Barnes Road in the heart of the Central Business District of Accra, The Octagon was constructed with elite executives and the bourgeoisie of the national capital in mind.
Dream Realty, a joint venture between the Beirut-based Jamil Ibrahim Establishment and Interplast Limited, had built The Octagon after acquiring the land location in 2008.
The Republic has made contacts with a director of Dream Realty, who is also a Board Member of the company.
The director, (name withheld for now) who is said to be a son of Saied Assad Fakhry, Advisor to the President of Ghana, said he could neither confirm nor deny whether the Finance Minister’s brother has bought majority shares in The Octagon.
According to him, however, it was possible that the Ofori-Attas have acquired majority shares in The Octagon but that only Mr. Saied Fakhry was privy to such information.
The director also confirmed that the Ofori-Attas are friends to the Fakhry family.
But Mr. Saied Assad Fakhry, the CEO of Dream Realty, was outside the country at the time that The Republic was speaking with the director in question on phone.
The Republic has also picked up information that the Fakhry family generously donated to the campaign of President Akufo-Addo, when he was a Standard Bearer of the ruling NPP in the buildup to the 2016 elections.