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Monday, March 15, 2010

¢28 Billion Vanish From Offshore Account


Kufuor Thinking

A whopping $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United States Dollars), secured by President John Agyekum Kufuor and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, with a Sovereign Guarantee, to rehabilitate some Ghanaian embassies, appears to have vanished without trace.

The amount was part of a $5Million loan, whose term sheet, states “shall be utilized exclusively for the renovation of selected Ghanaian Chanceries for Ghana’s 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations.”

A statement of account on the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning (MOFEP) bank Account number 0232002034552 with Stanbic Bank, opened for the transaction did not show a release of the $2,000,000.00 to the Government of Ghana.

The term sheet, dated December 7, 2006 addressed to the Kufuor administration through its Minister of Finance, indicates that ‘US$2,000,000.00 of the loan shall be booked with Standard Finance (Isle of Man) Limited,’ an offshore account.

Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, who was a Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, signed as accepting the terms of the $5,000,000.00 loan on behalf of the Government of Ghana.

On December 11, 2006 US$3,000,000.00 (Three Million Dollars) was released to the MOFEP Account at Stanbic Bank. This amount was repaid on April 20, 2007.

On 14th May 2007, the MOFEP account with Stanbic Bank was again debited with US$3,800,000.00, described as Loan Granted to MOFEP.

The release of this $3.8Million after the repayment of the earlier amount of $3.0Million, all within the term period of the loan made the transaction appear like a revolving loan, with a ceiling of $3.8Million.

Subsequent transactions on the statement following the release of the $3.8Million reveal the various interest charges as well as repayments made to Stanbic Bank.

The $2.0Million was never released to the Government of Ghana, and it was not clear into whose account the amount was paid in the offshore bank.

The $5Million was part of a $17Million Commercial Loan Agreement approved by Parliament on 29th November, 2006. The other $12Million of the loan was to be used for UN Peace Keeping Operations.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) subsequently requested for a disbursement of the approved loan and issued a Sovereign Guarantee to secure the entire $17Million facility.

The Sovereign Guarantee, dated 7th December, 2006 to Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited, was signed by Dr. Akoto Osei.

By a term sheet dated December 7, 2006 Stanbic Bank Ghana Ltd granted the term loan of US$5,000,000.00 (Five million United States Dollars) to the Government of Ghana.

The $5 Million and interest on it was to be repaid in full within 36 months from the date of drawdown, and had October 26, 2009 as the Final Repayment date.

As of October 31, 2009 days after all outstanding amounts on the loan account should have been cleared, however, an amount of $883,332.00 was still owed to Stanbic Bank.

Mr. Akoto Ampaw, lawyer for the Chief Executive of the Ghana@50 Secretariat, had written to the Commission of Inquiry (Ghana@50) on December 8, 2009 denying his client’s knowledge of any transaction with Stanbic Bank.

In the said letter, which was titled: RE: CONTINUING INVESTIGATIONS OF THE COMMISSION OUTSIDE THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, and published by the New Crusading Guide of December 9, Mr. Ampaw complained that the Commission had written to Dr. Wereko-Brobby, ‘requesting for information in respect of a loan transaction between the Government of Ghana and Stanbic Bank Limited’ and that ‘he knows absolutely nothing about the transaction referred to in your letter.‘

According to Akoto Ampaw, ‘Neither the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat nor the National Planning Commission entered into any loan agreement with Stanbic Bank, either directly or through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.’

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