Contrary to the constitutional provisions which require prior parliamentary approval for the handing over of the pricy 300,000 square meters of government land, situated behind the Accra International Conference Centre, to a string of offshore companies fronted by Paul Afoko, the agreement was signed and used to secure a $16 million loan facility before it was laid before Parliament.
January 8, 2007, Paul Afoko(pictured), Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Kwadwo Mpiani and Joe Ghartey, signed an agreement with an offshore company, stating inter alia that “Government of Ghana warrants that it has obtained all necessary Governmental approvals and other requisite consents in connection with the above, including but not limited to, all requisite Parliamentary approvals.”
Even before the agreement could be laid before Parliament, the promoters of the offshore companies, led by Zakhem International, used the unapproved agreement to apply for a $16 million loan facility from the African Development Bank (AFD), claiming that the government of Ghana was a partner in the project.
January 23, 2008, the Board of Directors of African Development Bank approved in Tunisia, a $16 million loan facility to finance the construction of Kempinski Accra Hotel in Ghana. Kempenski Hotel is a 250 five-star hotel under the project signed in January 8, 2007.
The loan facility, which was approved by the African Development Bank, was packaged as the center piece of a public-private partnership project, as well as a project in line with Ghana’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS), and the banks strategic policy on supporting poverty reduction by improving the investment climate and facilitating public private partnership.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary approval, which was needed before the agreement could come into force, was only given on October 31, 2008, almost two years after the agreement was signed and 10 months after the unapproved agreement was used by the promoters of the project to seek and obtain $16 million from the African Development bank.
The parliamentary approval, which was addressed to the then Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Affairs, was transmitted to the promoters of the project on November 24, 2008 when then Minister Oboshie Sai-Cofie, notified the promoters of the scandal-ridden project about the parliamentary approval.
The parliamentary approval itself, which was signed by the Clerk of Parliament, Emmanuel Anyimadu, reminded the promoters of the venture that “By the provisions of Article 181(5) of the Constitution, the terms and conditions of any international business or economic transaction to which the Government of Ghana is a party shall not come into operation unless the said terms and conditions have been laid before Parliament and approved by parliament by a Resolution supported by votes of majority of all members of Parliament.”
“Based on the above, the House, which also failed to conduct any due diligence as to whether the company even existed or not, and on the shareholding structure and general information on the offshore company, approved the agreement.
The parliamentary approval did not mention the handing over of the Accra International Conference Center and the Accra Sports Stadium to the promoters of Kempinski Hotel, even though in the agreement Jake Obetsebi Lamptey and the Ghana Tourist Board had agreed to hand over the two pricy government properties to the offshore group.
Even though the agreement stated that one George Zakhem is the one who is duly “authorized to act” for Gold Coast Resort International Ltd, it was rather Paul Afoko, who signed the agreement, in contravention of the agreement.
Again, while one Marwan Shakem is acknowledged as the only one “duly authorized to act” on behalf of Cascade Development Company, it was again Paul Afoko, the NPP guru, who doled out billions in support of Alan Kyeremanten’s flagbearership campaign, who signed on behalf of the company.
GOLD COAST RESORT INTERNATIONAL LTD.
Investigations conducted by the Enquirer in virgin Island, UK, suggest that none of the shareholders and directors of Gold Coast Resort International has been filed. Under the BVI Business Company Act of 2004, businessmen can opt to hide their interest in companies from the public in the Virgin Island.
The details of who owns what, and how much in Gold Coast Resort International Ltd. are all held on behalf of the company by an offshore law firm called Mossack Fonseea and Co. (BVI) ltd. which specializes in hiding documents for and on behalf of businesses and businessmen who do not want to be known publicly.
The only documents filed by Gold Coast Resort International are the Certificate of Incorporation and the Articles of Association. Interestingly, the company shares the same address with another sister offshore company called Gold Coast Investment Ltd. which even though registered in the Virgin Island as an offshore company, had its name translated into Chinese and registered in Panama, investigations have revealed.