– Cash-For-Seat Prize Winner,
– Akufo-Addo reveals
The noose around the infamous cash for seat scandal involving the Flagstaff House and the Ministry of Trade on one side and the Millennium Excellence Foundation and the expatriate community on the other side is tightening day by day.
In the latest episode, the President of the Republic has revealed that the winner of the award, Mr. Saied Assad Fakhry, a curious Lebanese businessman is not only his official advisor but his childhood friend with whom he dines.
Curiously enough, Saied Assad Fakhry, the Lebanese businessman who was the first to pay the controversial $100,000 that was demanded by the organizers as a precondition to share dinner table with the President at the Ghana Expatriate Awards program sat at the same table with the president at the dinner.
His revelation comes at the heel of several exposes by The Republic about the strange interconnection between President Akufo-Addo, Flagstaff House, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, and Mr. Fakhry.
At yesterday’s encounter with the press at the Flagstaff House, President Akufo-Addo, whose ministers are facing a probe in Parliament over the cash for seat scandal revealed that not only is Mr. Fakhry a bosom friend, but that the man had also been his client for some 40 years.
“… the main figure (in the Cash for seat scandal), the one who won the award, am saying this to show how this issue of investigating everything can… the person who won the expatriate business person has been a client of mine for over 35, nearly 40 years. His father was a good friend of my own father and he himself has become a very close personal friend of mine, I know him and I eat in his house, he eats in my house, he has my telephone number, I have his. Since I became President I have eaten in his house a couple of times he has also eaten in my house. One of the reasons I eat in his house is that he makes the best Lebanese food in Accra and I love Lebanese food…”
“I will be amazed, if somebody like that, Saied Fakhry will think that he needs to pay money to come and sit next to me. He can get me on telephone anytime of his house and he comes to see me. But that is the allegation that has been made. I see it as part of the problem in this very broad commitment that I have made,” President Akufo-Addo retorted in an apparent response to the Republic newspaper’s publications.
Among others, The Republic has highlighted the fact that it is strange that the President has claimed ignorance about the fact that Fakhry paid the humongous $100,000 fee as precondition to sit by him at the expatriate business awards gala, in spite of his close connection to the President.
Even so, in yesterday’s confession, which appeared constrained, President Akufo-Addo had only been half-hearted about the whole truth. In addition to Saied Fakhry being a client of 40 years standing and a personal friend, the man has also been appointed advisor to President Akufo-Addo.
In a profile of Mr. Fakhry on the website of a company called Dream Realty, in which Fakhry is a Board member, he lists that, he is “…a member of the Advisory Council of the President of Ghana and an Honorary Consul of the Union of Comoros,”
The same Saied Assad Fakhry is also an alleged business partner of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to whom he allegedly sold part of a luxury tower called The Octagon, located in Tudu, Central Accra, last year.
A brother of Ken Ofori-Atta, one Kwame Ofori-Atta, is alleged to have hauled $12.5million to Assad Fakhry’s company, Dream Realty, to buy shares in the Octagon.
Therefore, as far as Saied Assad Fakhry is concerned, he is not just a longstanding client and friend to Akufo-Addo, he is also an advisor to the President and a business partner of the Finance Minister. An advisor to the President, being a business partner of the President’s Finance Minister has left question marks dangling in the air.
Like President Akufo-Addo said, Assad Fakhry, in whose house he dines, has unlimited access to the President. The man has only to ask for a favor, and the President would grant him.
Already, at the cash for seats expatriate program, Mr. Fakhry, who is said to have been the first to pay the $100,000 demanded as precondition to sit by the President, was adjudged the best expatriate businessman.
Beyond his being an advisor to the President who is also, allegedly, incestuously involved with the Finance Minister, the President’s cousin, as a businessman, Mr. Fakhry is also alleged to have contributed to the election campaign of President Akufo-Addo in 2016.
As far as Mr. Saied Assad Fakhry, owner of Interplast Ghana Limited and Board Member of Dream Realty is concerned, it is a whole package smelly with suspicion. The picture is that, he is a longstanding friend of the President, whose friendship with Akufo-Addo continues from where Akufo-Addao’s father, Edward Akufo-Addo’s friendship with the Fakhrys ended.
As a friend, he was a financier of the President’s campaign, who has since been rewarded with a position on the President’s advisory council. While at it, Mr. Fakhry is allegedly, also the business partner of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who had undertaken his biggest transaction yet with Mr. Fakhry in the first year that Akufo-Addo became President.
Ken Ofori-Atta’s brother allegedly hauled $12.5million to Mr. Fakhry for shares in The Octagon.
The interesting interconnections stick out like a sore thumb as the ad hoc committee of Parliament probing the cash for seats scandal prepares to invite Mr. Fakhry to face it over the scandal.
President Akufo-Addo, meeting with the press in Accra yesterday, only conveniently scratched on the surface of his questionable involvement with Saied Assad Fakhry, the Lebanese businessman who is an advisor to the President of the Republic of Ghana.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Stan Adotey