The NPP rode on the back of flowery speeches and promises to power; promising among other things to save the public purse from wanton dissipation, but it was to be seen that their 4year term would be heavily inundated with shady and many unscrupulous and corrupt deals; a cancer that stems from the very heart of the presidency down to its tentacles.
Less than a week to the polls and we have been hit by yet another abhorrent revelation, one that perhaps outweighs the AGYAPA deal; The Ghs 52 billion GCB scandal!
A supposed letter addressed to the Managing Director of GCB Bank LTD from the Deputy Auditor General reveals a total of GHC 52.5 billion has been allegedly transferred from GCB’s accounts to some unknown sources.
GCB has for many years been entrusted with the collection of revenues and transfer of same to the central bank. The finance ministry headed by the “pious Ken Ofori Atta” in its supposed quest to improve government revenues, in effect offered to be a part of this task—completely beyond its mandate.
To ascertain the integrity of this arrangement, the Auditor General decided to conduct a reconciliation of the flow of funds from the transit account sitting at GCB to the designated BOG holding accounts. Examinations however revealed that some GHs 52.5billion were transferred to unknown sources other than the approved BOG holding account, contrary to Regulation 12 of the Financial Administration Regulation (FAR), 2004.
GCB responded quickly to the allegation, stating that the content of the publication is false and mischievously designed to discredit the bank. The Audit Service has however since confirmed this supposed letter but says it’s only one of many letters involved in the whole matter. It also went on further to state that some monies have been retrieved.
It is at this point important to point out that this very same Auditor General rubbished the works of his predecessor who was unconstitutionally ousted and let the Senior minister, Osafo Maafo off the hook in the matter of Kroll & Associates where $1 million was paid for no work done.
It is apparent that the Auditor General in coming out with his response to this GCB saga sought to shield some persons. — clearly, a poodle of “the man above.”
It therefore remains to be answered, by the Auditor General and by extension Ofori Atta, where parts of our stolen tax revenues were found, who were/are behind those accounts into which the monies were unlawfully diverted; how much has been found out of the GHs52 billion; whether the finance minister with hindsight, had those accounts created to syphon our tax revenues into the family’s treasury, when for the first time his outfit indulged in an act completely out of its scope, by opting to assist in mobilization of government revenue?
When it’s all said and done, it’s quite disheartening, when one considers the magnitude and volume of money in question. The continuous calculated attempt by this government to rip this nation bare of its wealth is despicable and repugnant to say the least. But for the vigilance of the Minority in parliament and the divine revelation by the Holy Trinity to Martin Amidu, our mineral royalties was to be securitize through Agyapa Royalties Ltd. An approved agreement premised on an amendment to the Mineral Income Investment Fund Act which at the time, was yet to receive presidential assent. —so much for a president who doubles as a lawyer.
The government claims such a deal will help the country raise substantial amount of non-debt capital. This they asserted was an ingenious and innovative way of raising funds. How is this the case when the deal seeks to cede our expected mineral royalties in exchange for a lump sum of about $500-$700million from Agyapa Royalties Ltd.?
Indeed, the Ghanaian populace, like sheep were fattened with the campaign promise of securing the public purse, slaughtered at the swearing in, and feasted upon for four years!
Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo prior to the 2016 elections was sold as an incorruptible and no-nonsense corruption crusader. He promised change and hope, he promised to protect the public purse; to fight corruption in his own administration and retrieve Ghana’s stolen monies from previous administration’s officials. Yet today, four years down the lane, and Ghanaians have lost count of the many corruption scandals that has marred his administration. He has subsequently turned the seat of government into a corruption clearing port; clearing any member of his family, friends and cronies of any corruption allegations levelled against them even before they are investigated. Whether the PDS scandal, the 5 million BOST scandal that saw the deliberate contamination of fuel and onward sale to unregistered companies, the PPA scandal, the Australian visa fraud that saw Pius Hadzide being long cleared of any wrongdoing before the shady CID report exonerated him among others, President Akufo-Addo has failed to show genuine commitment and will to fight corruption head-on.
This notwithstanding, with a large dose of optimism, the Dec 7 polls presents us an opportunity to turn the fortunes of this country around, it presents us an opportunity to plug and seal the perforated holes in the public purse, an opportunity to safeguard our resources. The December polls presents a rare opportunity to re-elect a president whose good works are unparalleled. A president whose good works form the very pivot on which all the flagship “achievements” by this present government are leveraged. A president who has demonstrated by action and not by mere rhetoric his commitment to fight corruption head on. A vote for H.E John Dramani Mahama is a vote to put Ghana back on the path of progress.
It has come to light that the nation’s foremost commercial bank, GCB Bank has transferred a whopping total amount of GHc52 billion (about $10 billion) it held on behalf of the Bank of Ghana into “unknown sources” or accounts.
There were strong denials from government communicators when the story was first broken by popular social media commentator and CEO of Loud Silence Media, Kevin Taylor. Some who could not imagine that such a huge sum of money could be so mishandled accused Kevin of jumping to a conclusion based on a fake letter.
The Audit Service however confirmed that the said letter of reference number EID/B.Line/AUD/20/7 issued on the 5th of October 2020 and signed by the Deputy Auditor General together with the contents therein, was authentic.
Audit Service Reports of 52.5 Billion Cedis Transferred from GCB Bank to Unknown Sources (ghananewspress.com)
Considering the staggering sums of money involved – sums amounting to billions of dollars (USD) – the laxity in financial administration could be construed as being either criminally negligent or criminally deliberate; given that there were no bank statements covering certain specific months for which reason the service was “unable to ascertain the completeness of transactions between the collection and holding accounts.”
The Audit Service, which is purported to be working at the instance of the Ministry of Finance, charged the Managing Director of GCB thus: “our examination of the Transit Accounts bank statement in relation to tax revenue showed that your bank contrary to the agreement for the funds to be transferred into designated BoG Holding Accounts, transferred a total of GHc 52,537,175,778.13 into unknown sources over the period under review.”
This raises a number of critical questions regarding procedure, transparency and accountability.
Interestingly, the Finance Minister, Hon. Ken Ofori Atta, a man whose name is “no stranger” to matters of conflict of interest has been mentioned as a possible interested personality who can shed light on the “unknown sources” or accounts that received the moneys.
Meanwhile, the media has reported GCB’s denial of the allegations of “unauthorized transfers.” The Ghanaian public is eager to learn who authorized them to make those illicit transfers. Hopefully, we shall know more in the coming days.
Nana’s acceptance speech (Dec 2016): “I thank the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), for their important work”
Deploying 8,000 observers across all regions and all 275 constituencies, CODEO was Ghana’s largest domestic observer group for the 2016 presidential election. CODEO also verified the accuracy of the presidential election results as declared by the Electoral Commission.
CDD-Ghana is one of CODEO’s founders. CDD-Ghana serves as the CODEO’s secretariat and provides it with technical and logistical support. Gyimah-Boadi is a member of CODEO Advisory Board.
E. Gyimah-Boadi is founder and former executive director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana). According to Gyimah-Boadi, CDD-Ghana is an independent, non-partisan policy research and advocacy organization.
1. Riva Levinson & KRL International
E. Gyimah-Boadi has a very close relationship with Nana’s campaign manager and lobbyist Riva Levinson and her company KRL International.
On 11 December 2016, four days after the elections, Riva Levinson posted a photo of her, Chris Beaty, managing director of KRL, and Gyimah-Boadi on social media. Gyimah-Boadi replied to Levinson’s post, praising KRL’s “brilliant team of professionals” for „doing battle on the side of my heroes in Africa”.
At the time Levinson, Beatty and the rest of KRL team were Nana’s election consultants, while Gyimah-Boadi was supposed to be an “independent” and “non-partisan” observer of the elections.
Riva Levinson and Chris Beatty worked directly with CODEO in 2016. The main donors of CODEO are Washington-based USAID and NDI. Both organisations were heavily lobbied by Riva Levinson’s KRL international on behalf of Nana Akufo-Addo in 2016.
On 22 March 2018, Riva Levinson was awarded an honorary degree in Doctor of Laws by the University of Ghana. Levinson gave a speech, dedicating her lectures to E. Gyimah-Boadi.
Nana’s lobbyist and campaign manager described Gyimah-Boadi as “a Ghanaian hero”, “a man on a mission”, “African democracy’s godfather”, her “dear friend”, her “mentor”. Levinson called Gyimah-Boadi’s wife “a dear friend”, too.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw8myk5mkwg (min. 17.40-20.02)
Riva Levinson frequently lauds E. Gyimah-Boadi on social media, calling him “Africa’s foremost political scientist”, “a man of great integrity and character”, proposing him for the Nobel Prize for Peace.
E. Gyimah-Boadi is co-founder and chairman of the board of directors of Afrobarometer. On 24 November 2020, Riva Levinson and Johnnie Carson (Levinson’s close friend and associate, and leader of international observer delegation to the 2016 elections in Ghana) became members of the newly created International Advisory Council for Gyimah-Boadi’s Afrobarometer.
2. The Brenthurst Foundations
E. Gyimah-Boadi is also a very close associate of Nana’s foreign backers the Oppenheimer family-funded Brenthurst Foundation.
In July 2018, Gyimah-Boadi attended a Brenthurst-sponsored meeting in Italy, at the luxurious Villa la Collina on Lake Como.
On 21 January 2019, Gyimah-Boadi’s CDD Ghana hosted an event featuring Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, Brenthurst Director Greg Mills and Brenthurst Chairman Olusegun Obasanjo. Bawumia launched a book published by the Oppenheimer-funded Brenthurst Foundation. Titled “Democracy Works: Rewiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage” and authored by Brenthurst’s Greg Mills, Olusegun Obasanjo, Jeffrey Herbst and Tendai Biti, the book provides “lessons” on how African nations should organize elections and adopt policies from Western countries.
Gyimah-Boadi, who presided over the programme, declared himself “really proud to be affiliated with the Brenthurst Foundation, the premier think-tank for Africa’s economic development”. He added: “We at CDD-Ghana and the Afrobarometer, and I personally share considerable ideological, philosophical and methodological affinity with the Brenthurst Foundation”. Gyimah-Boadi recommended the book to students and all academic institutions.
On 27 May 2020, E. Gyimah-Boadi was the official host of the Afrobarometer virtual book launch of “The Asian Aspiration : Why and How Africa Should Emulate Asia — and What It Should Avoid”. “The Asian Aspiration” is the most recent book authored by Mills and Obasanjo and published by The Brenthurst Foundation.
Reported by Open Source Investigation
In October 2016, a respected US news organization, BuzzFeed, published an investigative report about the 2009-2010 Ghana-Kosmos Energy dispute. The article (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/dinograndoni/oil-in-ghana), titled ‵How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Fought For Oil 5,000 Miles Away′, exposed Johnnie Carson’s and Riva Levinson’s actions against Ghana’s interest.
Asked by BuzzFeed to comment on the revelations, both Carson and Levinson refused to respond. In October 2016, they were both once again heavily involved in Ghana’s politics: Carson was leading the international election observation mission; Levinson was leading Nana Akufo-Addo’s presidential campaign.
In 2009, Ghana accused US oil company Kosmos Energy of violating the agreement governing the Jubilee Field partnership. Kosmos was trying to sell its stake in the Jubilee field to ExxonMobil without the Ghanaian government approval. Kosmos illegally shared confidential geological oil exploration data with potential bidders without consulting the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). President John Atta Mills was willing to change the contract with Kosmos (negotiated, agreed and signed by the government of former President Kufuor) to better suit Ghana.
Kosmos called on Johnnie Carson, at the time Hilary Clinton’s assistant secretary of state for African affairs, to intervene in its behalf and protect its interests in Ghana, and hired Riva Levinson’s PR firm KRL International to whitewash its image and smear Ghana’s Government.
According to the State Department documents released by Wikileaks, Johnnie Carson travelled to Accra in February 2010. He raised the Kosmos case in a meeting with President Mills, on 3 February. President Mills said that he felt both Ghana and he personally had been misled and disrespected by Kosmos. However Carson concluded his cable sent to the White House: “There may still be room to create positive outcomes for KOSMOS and ExxonMobil in Ghana.” (wikileaks.org/cables/10ACCRA139)
During the same trip to Accra, Carson met with representatives from Western oil and gas companies, including Kosmos. Kosmos accused Ghana of “systematically interfering” with the sale of its assets. They described their experience in Ghana as a “pattern of government misbehaviour” and told Carson the sanctity of the company’s contracts with the government was out the window”. Carson agreed that Ghana must honour its contracts with Kosmos. In another cable (also sent to the White House), Carson wrote that he “assured the oil companies we would be discreet if they need us to be” without specifying what the State Department would do. (wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/10ACCRA157)
In an August 2010 meeting closely followed by Secretary Hillary Clinton, Carson again made Kosmos’s case in front of Ghana’s president. (wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/2138)
On their turn, Riva Levinson and KRL used fake news and propaganda to undermine Ghana’s interest. KRL published PR articles in the U.S. press criticising the Ghanaian Government’s opposition to the Kosmos-Exxon Mobil deal and falsely claiming that the Ghanaian Government was trying to force Kosmos to sell its rights to the GNPC at a sub-market price and subverting the sanctity of business contract. KRL also lobbied White House, US government agencies and Congress to bring pressure on Ghana’s government. (www.opensourceinvestigations.com/ghana/)
The $4 billion deal between Kosmos and ExxonMobil collapsed because of opposition from Ghana’s Government. However, in December 2010, Ghana was forced to sign a truce agreement, granting Kosmos immunity from criminal or judicial actions for past events.
After undermining Ghanaian national interest in 2009/2010, Kosmos’s agents Johnnie Carson and Riva Levinson were again in Ghana in 2016, this time interfering with the election. That probably explains why they both refused to comment on BuzzFeed’s report. „Johnnie Carson did not respond to interview requests made through the United States Institute of Peace, where he is a senior adviser” – BuzzFeed wrote, adding that „K. Riva Levinson’s firm, KRL International, also declined to comment.”
Reported by Open Source Investigation
Johnnie Carson was supposed to be an independent international observer of Ghana’s 2016 electoral process, but he wasn’t. Instead, the former US diplomat colluded with Nana, working closely with NPP’s foreign consultants Riva Levinson and KRL International.
In his 2016 acceptance speech, Nana Akufo-Addo voiced his thanks to “the strong observer mission from our friends of the National Democratic Institute of the United States of America, led by the former U.S Assistant Secretary of State, the well-known diplomat, Ambassador Johnnie Carson.”
Nana had indeed many reasons to thank Carson for his election.
In June 2016, Nana Akufo-Addo hired KRL International, an American PR firm founded and led by Riva Levinson, as a communications and general political consultant for his presidential campaign. The purpose of the contract was to “unseat the incumbent in Ghana’s presidential election”.
One of KRL’s core strategies for Nana’s campaign was to manipulate international observers.
In 2016, Johnnie Carson led the U.S. National Democratic Institute’s pre-election and Election Day international observation missions to Ghana. Currently a member of the board of directors of the National Democratic Institute and senior adviser at the United States Institute of Peace, Johnnie Carson headed the Bureau of African Affairs during Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.
Riva Levinson and Johnnie Carson have a long and very friendly relationship. Carson was one of the first early readers of Levinson’s book on Liberia. Carson recommended the book in a highly positive review: “A must-read – Carson praised Levinson’s work – for all those interested in Liberia’s recent and turbulent history, and the immense power of friendship and loyalty.” www.amazon.com/Choosing-Hero
And their relationship proved very effective in dealing with Ghana’s elections. Levinson met with Carson each time the retired ambassador visited Ghana in 2016.
On 10 August 2016, Levinson met Carson in Accra. At that time, Levinson was already running Nana Akufo-Addo presidential campaign, while Carson was leading a pre-election assessment mission. Riva Levinson claimed she “ran into Ambassador Johnnie Carson” in Accra.
Two days later, on 12 August, the Carson-led delegation presented its “recommendations to ensure open and transparent elections before December 2016 polls”. Riva Levinson and her team were invited to take part in the conference.
Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections were held on 7 December 2016. Riva Levinson was accredited as an observer by the NPP. Johnnie Carson was the leader of international observer delegation. Once again they “accidentally” met: Levinson “ran into” Johnnie Carson on the election day.
In the picture she posted on social media with Carson, Levinson hid her badge turning it backwards. She was trying to hide the fact that the leader of the international observer mission was hugging an NPP representative.
Between 7 and 9 April 2017, a government retreat was held at Peduase Lodge. The event was attended by Ghana government officials (President Nana Akufo-Addo, Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia and Ministers of State), and by a special guest: Brenthurst Foundation Chairman (and Nigeria’s former military ruler) Olusegun Obasanjo.
Strangely, the chairman of a foundation funded by the billionaire South African family Oppenheimer, co-presided over a key Ghana Government meeting, together with Ghana’s president and vice-president.
The Peduase Lodge government meeting was key to establishing Akufo-Addo administration’s priorities and goals: “We agreed amongst ourselves the priorities and the goals of our government and the strategy for achieving them,” president Akufo-Addo said, adding that “Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria, was there to assist us in our deliberations, as a resource person.”
What Nana Addo failed to mention, was the the fact that the resource person, Obasanjo, who was to coach him and his government on the priorities and goals of his NPP government and how to achieve them, was on the Oppenheimer family payroll and a mouthpiece of the Anglo-American founders.
It would seem that the Akufo-Addo government’s easy allowance of a stranger, the chairman of the Oppenheimer-funded Brenthurst Foundation to preside over the sensitive Ghana Cabinet meeting in which the government priorities and goals were adopted, for the next four years, was a precursor adding to many other foreign interests and dealings some of which would lead to scandals that would rock the Akufo-Addo administration.
The question begging for answer is if President Akufo-Addo’s dealings with the group was ethical and in the national interest, why did he make efforts to ensure that these meetings were not reported to the Ghanaian people?
As part of their mode of engagement, the Brenthurst Foundation received an invitation from Nana Akufo-Addo to advise the Ghanaian government and works directly with the Office of the President. According to a US State Department document released by WikiLeaks, Brenthurst provides “confidential policy advice” to African countries if only the Foundation works directly with the Office of the President in the respective African countries, and is invited by the President himself.
Today, the Johannesburg-based Foundation is deeply and secretly involved in Akufo-Addo administration.
The union between the Foundation and Akufo-Addo did not just occur when he took office in January. On 20 December 2016, two weeks after the presidential election, Nana Akufo-Addo was already meeting Brenthurst Foundation Chairman Olusegun Obasanjo in Nigeria.
During the first months of 2017, right after Nana’s inauguration, a Brenthurst team spent several weeks in Ghana for a “first phase” of a secretive “field work”. The team, led by Brenthurst Director Greg Mills, conducted a research, comprising “more than 150 consultations across all sectors”.
On 20 February 2017, a Brenthurst Foundation delegation, including Director Greg Mills and Chairman Olusegun Obasanjo, met with President Nana Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House. The Foundation presented the President with the results of its “field work”. Vice-president Bawumia and Finance Minister Ofori-Atta also participated at the meeting. https://www.facebook.com/thebrenthurstfoundation/photos/a.221100701274807/1415366751848190/
Ghana Government kept the meeting secret.
During the same period, the Oppenheimer family’s PR firm, Sabi Strategy Group, was also working in Ghana, cooking up an “economic development project for the new Head of State” – the “Ghana Beyond Aid” plan.
Sabi Strategy, a firm like Cambridge Analytica, the British data company accused of improperly harvesting and using personnel data from tens of millions of Facebook users to help Donald Trump win the U.S. presidency, and according to its own presentation (https://www.sabistrategy.com/expertise) specializes in manipulating public opinion, influencing voters’ behaviour, delivering discreet and targeted campaign.
And yet President Akufo-Addo, aware of the ethical questions surrounding the firm contracted their services Sabi who are using the shady tactics of Cambridge Analytica to influence Ghanaian citizens so that he can hold on to power.
Being a propaganda document that paid no heed to ethical considerations, it was not surprising that the document to guide the Ghana’s agenda of independence and self-reliance had the picture of a Kenyan skyline on the cover page. (https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/presidency-photoshops-kenyan-building-on-ghana-beyond-aid-document/).
On 26 July 2017, the Brenthurst Foundation organized an event at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra. President Nana Akufo-Addo was pleased to launch a book called Making Africa Work: A Handbook for Economic Success”, written by Brenthurst’s Greg Mills, Olusegun Obasanjo, Jeffrey Herbst and Dickie Davis. The book was promoted by Brenthurst as a “guide to running Africa’s economies”.
The Founder of the Brenthurst Foundation, South African mining tycoon Jonathan Oppenheimer, flew in to Accra specially for the event.
Nana Akufo-Addo described Brenthurst’s book as “compulsory reading” which he “recommends to everyone.” And while pretending the document was a
Ghanaian creation which in practice he did not trust his own “men” to produce, Nana also outlined his “Ghana Beyond Aid” strategy which had just been secretly fabricated by Brenthurst’s PR firm Sabi Strategy.
In Ghana, Jonathan Oppenheimer and Brenthurst’s representatives also work with Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia.
On 8 May 2018, South African billionaire Jonathan Oppenheimer met with Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia in Accra. Oppenheimer was accompanied by his acolytes in the Brenthurst Foundation Greg Mills (Director), Olusegun Obasanjo (Chairman) and Erastus Mwencha (Member of the Advisory Board).
The meeting, as has been the pattern, was not disclosed by the Ghana Government.
On 21 January 2019, at the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia launched another book published by the Oppenheimer-funded Brenthurst Foundation. Titled “Democracy Works: Rewiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage,” and authored by Brenthurst’s Greg Mills, Olusegun Obasanjo, Jeffrey Herbst and Tendai Biti, the book provides “lessons” on how African nations should organize elections and adopt policies from Western countries.
Bawumia praised the book as a “worthy addition to the growing body of works championing the spread of democracy in Africa” and explained how it provides lessons in enhancing democracy in Africa
Brenthurst Director Greg Mills lauded NPP Government decision to follow “Ghana Beyond Aid”, an agenda dictated by the Oppenheimer family, noting that “such fresh direction was crucial in accelerating national development”.
As is to be expected when self-seeking interests must be protected, Brenthurst has strongly supported and constantly lauded Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP Government, while criticizing the NDC.
While accusing NDC of “actual and perceived corruption, and a perceived insensitivity to the plight of citizens”, the Oppenheimer-funded foundation has praised NPP for “crafting a message of hope backed up by specific proposals behind which people could rally” or for assuming “the belief in education and a thriving private sector” as “core values”. According to Brenthurst, “the NPP victory was a result of a credible message; they promised and they delivered, despite the challenges and pointed criticism by naysayers.”
On a lighter note, if you ever wondered who else apart from President Akufo-Addo uses the outdated expression “naysayers”, you know where to look.
To the layman, Ghanaian politics can be divided into two sides, those who support the government in its actions and those consumed by the belief that the powers that be are conspiring to “sell the country & all its citizens”. Although both stances are an oversimplification, today, the latter may be disturbingly close to becoming our reality.
Evidence exists that President Akufo Addo is in bed with the Oppenheimer family, a multi-billionaire South African dynasty which founded Anglo American, a global mining company as well as DeBeers, the worlds leading diamond company and this shady collection having its hooks in our mineral wealth thanks to our sitting government is not even the worst of it.
The Oppenheimer family has major interests in Ghana. Anglo American has founded the AngloGold Ashanti company. De Beers have been present in Ghana since the early 90s. Greg Mills, a close friend of the Oppenheimer family, has been the director of Brenthurst Foundation since 2004.
President Akufo Addo, since coming to power in 2016 has been deeply involved with a British firm known as Sabi Strategy and this is alarming for a few reasons. It was Sabi Strategy that is masterminding Nana Addo’s “Ghana Beyond Aid” PR scheme and they’re also directly employed by the Brenthurst Foundation, a powerful and shady organization created and funded by the same Oppenheimer family. Olusegun Obasanjo, former military head of state and president of Nigeria, has been the chairman of The Advisory Board of the Brenthurst Foundation since 2013. The Brenthurst Foundation was established in 2004 (https://www.thebrenthurstfoundation.org/about/story/). The same Greg Mills is Sabi Strategy’s Senior Advisor. (https://www.sabistrategy.com/new-page)
Like Cambridge Analytica, the British data agency accused of wrongfully harvesting data from millions of Facebook users to aid in Donald Trump’s shocking win the 2016 U.S. elections, Sabi Strategy also played a key role in the controversial “Vote Leave” campaign which resulted in the ongoing Brexit debacle. “Ghana Beyond Aid” is not very different from the aforementioned campaigns as Sabi Strategy is using the same shady tactics it is known for to harvest personal data in order to coerce the will of the average Ghanaian citizen unbeknownst to them. Henry Sands, Sabi Strategy founder and managing director, is a Brenthurst Associate (https://www.thebrenthurstfoundation.org/people/henry-sands). Sands is Brenthurst Foundation’s Media Officer (https://www.thebrenthurstfoundation.org/news/ray-hartley-joins-the-brenthurst-foundation/).
While using public funds of $1 million to reward electoral consultants such as Washington-based KRL International, Sabi Strategy is only the second foreign political consultancy firm which the NPP government has hired.
All of this information although not being publicly discussed is readily available if you know what to look for.
– What is the NPP planning? Why does it need these sketchy characters involved in order to reach its goal?
– Who hired Sabi Strategy, how much were they paid for their services and where did that money come from? What are the terms of the agreement and why was it made in secret?
– What kind of data has Sabi Strategy collected about the Ghanaian people so far and what does Nana Akufo Addo plan to use that information for?
– Why has the Government entrusted a foreign company with collecting personal data of Ghana’s citizens in the first place?
– What is the current relationship between Nana/NPP/Government and Sabi Strategy/Henry Sands?
Is the future of the country going to be left up to chance? For the latter, only you can answer it.
There have been several embarrassing scandals that have rocked Ghana in the course of its Fourth Republican democratic journey. But one that is bound to shock many for a long time to come is the Agyapa Royalties scandal under the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. It cast a dark slur on the integrity of the President and his government, and on the legislature that approved the deal with lightning speed.
It has confounded many, except the beneficiaries of the sleazy deal, why Asaase Royalties Limited, a company with no background, no known history or experience could be created to receive and be entrusted with the rights for all of Ghana’s Gold. Indeed, Asaase Royalties, a Jersey Registered company, currently known in the Republic of Ghana under the name Agyapa Royalties, filed an Annual Return (under its previous name of, registered in 28 February 2020, Tom Williamson is “authorised signatory” and secretary of the company ) of “0“ USD.
The shady nature of the transaction becomes clear when one looks at the players the Government of Ghana chose to be part of the deal. Tom Williamson, Agyapa Royalties’ Group Financial Controller is a former employee of the controversial Ukrainian magnate Gennadiy Bogolyubov. Gennadiy Bogolyubov is a highly controversial Ukrainian oligarch who lives in London. Ukrainian Central Bank has accused Bogolyubov and fellow former PrivatBank owner of siphoning off billions of dollars. https://mlexmarketinsight.com/insights-center/editors-picks/area-of-expertise/anti-bribery-and-corruption/privatbank-can-expect-fresh-hurdles-in-uk-fraud-case-against-former-owners
Gennadiy Bogolyubov had huge interests in Ghana’s mining sector. For ten years Bogolyubov was the owner of the only manganese mine in Ghana, the Nsuta Mine. It is interesting to note the point of convergence of Bogolyubov’s business interest and the government collaborators.
Currently, Ghana’s Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) is the sole shareholder of Agyapa Royalties with George Mireku Duker, the NPP MP representing the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Constituency as Chairman of MIIF. Interestingly, the Nsuta manganese mine, owned by Consolidated Minerals, is located in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality.
One wonders why clear issues about lack transparency, conflict of interest, cronyism and others were so flagrantly disregarded.
In a 64-page analysis of risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment report released by the Office of the Special Prosecutor on Agyapa Royalties, the report said “the assessment resulting from the examination, and analysis of all the five (5) Agreements making up the Transactions Documents is that they each suffer from the same lack of probity, transparency, unaccountability, illegality and unconstitutionality.”
Indeed, stopping short of describing the deal as a fraud perpetrated against the people of Ghana, the report perceived clear instances of “bid rigging and corruption activity including the potential for illicit financial flows and money laundering in the arrangement of how the fees payable to Databank of Ghana as the decoy which was not approved under the Public Procurement Authority Act, 2003 (Act 663 as amended) are to be made.”
The Special Prosecutor’s damning report, nonetheless, appears to be a mere echo of the alarm the Minority in Parliament and some Civil Society Organisations had, for several months, raised concerning the potential fraud the deal would represent if the government pushed it through.
They raised red flags that Ghana’s Gold Royalties was being handed over to a group of close family and associates of President Akufo-Addo, who used a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) established in the tax haven of Jersey in the UK as a decoy to facilitate the deal away from the prying eyes of the public. The appointment of advisors was shrouded in secrecy. But as was later revealed, in the thick of the clandestine facilitation and transaction were Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, Ken Ofori-Atta, Adu-Boahen, Mark Assibey Yeboah, Kofi Bosompem (son of Snr. Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo), and Charles Mireku Duker.
According to Bright Simmons, a Vice President of IMANI Africa, who was speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile, the deal is not in Ghana’s national interest.
“In two years, we will make 500 million from our mineral royalties. So, the point they are making about going for money upfront to do projects is not even sound. Not only does Agyapa fail the corruption risk assessment test, it also fails the national interest test. Agyapa does not even merit evaluation.”
Unfortunately, according to the Special Prosecutor, some estimated $4 million had already been spent by the Finance Ministry on transaction advisors involved in the deal even before the deal became public knowledge.
The issue of the lack of transparency became apparent when it came to light that the agreement began in 2018 but the public, including the Minority in Parliament and Civil Society Organisations only become aware of the deal late in 2020. Remedial actions to stop the deal including civil society calls for withdrawal and a Minority walk out in Parliament could not cause the government to pause and consider the ramifications of its actions; but instead, it went ahead and voted its approval – and this was in addition to Cabinet’s own approval.
Indeed, the complicity of President’s family in the deal has caused Nana Frema Busia whose father is a founder of President Akufo-Addo’s political tradition, the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition to urge the President to demonstrate moral leadership by overhauling his entire Cabinet and sacking his cousin the Finance Minister, stating that the Agyapa deal was a “sordid blight” on his Presidency. Addressing the President, she said : “kindly redeem your presidency and governance from the Agyapa glaring disgrace by sacking Mr. Ken Ofori Atta and Mr. Osafo Marfo Snr, so that the Finance Ministry and Ghana’s Economic Management can be retooled by fresh minds and solemn hearts whose sole allegiance is owed to Ghana.”
Indeed, very few bare-faced illicit agreements, as the Agyapa Royalties turned out to be, have the kind of protective clauses intended to protect a few cronies to the disadvantage of an entire nation. The agreement stated in no uncertain terms that the SPV and its directors cannot be controlled by any successive government or Ghana.
Following the public outcry and the release of the report by the Special Prosecutor, President Akufo Addo has yet again surprised many by his request that the deal be taken back to Parliament and debated after the elections. But in response, Ghana’s leader of the Minority in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, the legislaltive body cannot cure the defects in the Agyapa Royalty deal and has therefore called for a complete withdrawal of the deal.
To be clear, the only way to stop such national disgrace is to confront the bold procurement breaches, the open disregard for the law, the glaring conflicts of interest, the shameless cronyism, the ruthless avarice and the rushed legislative blessing of such corruption-infested deals that shames the image of Parliament. The protracted attack and ridicule of people who dared to highlight these lapses and raised red-flags must cease.
Earlier this year, there was an article in The Economist that flew under the radar which would have filled any Ghanaian with an insurmountable amount of dread had they just given its headline a cursory glance. It said boldly in no uncertain terms “Ghana Is Planning to Sell Most of Its Future Gold Royalties”. Although any discerning reader knows headlines can often be misleading, this one was no different because upon perusing the article you find that the truth of the matter isn’t as bad as the headline will lead you to believe, it’s actually much worse.
The piece in The Economist exposes in frightening detail, how the incumbent government in broad daylight planned to auction off to the highest bidder, all future profits that have yet to be realized from Ghana’s chief bargaining chip, our gold. It detailed how they planned to take even more loans from foreign bodies and by so doing, dig us even deeper while giving away the very tool we would have used to escape the hole we were worsening. In a nutshell, left unchecked, this government is poised and ready in just one short presidential term of four years, to rid us of our gold in the same way they had done with most of the rights to our oil.
The story of Ghana’s oil is a tragedy like none other. A little over a decade ago, Ghana discovered an expansive oil field which led its citizens to believe that the west African nation’s ever rising fuel prices would finally become manageable at the very least. Many years later, with the advent of a viral pandemic that brought international economies to their knees, Ghana’s fuel prices are still rising at a steady rate with no sign of slowing down.
The answer to why this is our reality is simple. Mismanagement, brought on either by officials who are greedy and selling us short to keep the proceeds for themselves or even worse, completely out of their depth and don’t know what they’re doing. But the result remains the same, at the end of the day it is the citizenry that will all suffer for it. Because if in one short presidential term, they have managed to rid us of our oil and already set to work on taking our gold from us, what will there be left to sell off in another 4 years? We mustn’t take a risk and find out the hard way.
In the age of the “new normal”, as the world looked for ways to survive in the wake of COVID-19, Ghana stood tall among her peers, touted as a beacon of excellence in how to manage the virus the right way. With our international borders closed fairly early, a Centre for testing & treatment and a constant stream of communication established to keep the citizens informed on testing, infection and recovery rates in order to maintain the peace, we expertly handled the situation.
This was followed by a stringent “no mask no entry” policy enforced nationwide and some utility bills being subsidized or waived in order to help the masses get by. We quickly became the toast of the international community for how seriously we took the matter and rightfully so. It appeared the government was putting the needs and lives of the people first.
But this was not to be the case for long as the government shortly after decided to abandon all progress in a very crucial moment when we should have been doubling down to fully rid ourselves of the virus. The lockdown was canceled under the guise of “people need to work” only to quickly be followed with an announcement of a new and widely deemed unnecessary voter registration program. Our airport was opened shortly after with claims that there would be an obligatory COVID-19 test on arrival for all visitors, but the contract for said testing somehow passed over the Ghanaian based Noguchi Institute, which had already been tirelessly conducting all tests in the country so far, and instead opted for a newly formed Dominican Republic company which lacked credibility. Furthermore, these tests which only cost $2 were overpriced at the airport at an outrageous $150, making them the most expensive in the world by far. Presently, we are bracing ourselves for a second wave as the number of cases has skyrocketed.
So where did it all go wrong? How could they undo such abundant goodwill with such inept incompetence? It’s been long said that the road to hell is paved in good intentions and judging from the how well-paved and hot we currently are, it doesn’t take a genius to guess where we’re headed barring a change of direction.