The Member of Parliament for the North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has alleged that the government will likely pay over GH¢400 million in compensation for the “reckless and hasty acquisition” of the land on which the construction of the new Bank of Ghana headquarters is ongoing.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Mr. Ablakwa claimed that the said land is “the subject of an ongoing epic litigation” which he said Ghanaians “would have to be prepared to pay in excess of a mind-boggling GH¢400 million in compensation.”
The Minority Caucus in Parliament raised issues with the management of the Central Bank when it posted losses totalling GH¢60.81 billion for the 2022 financial year and subsequently accused the governor and his deputies of building a new head office at the cost of GH¢250 million at North Ridge.
But fresh information from Mr Ablakwa’s disclosures indicates the GH¢250 million may be under-reported as the land and the issues surrounding its acquisition will probably cost the “suffering taxpayer “not less than a staggering GH¢400 million.”
He disclosed there was an ongoing legal tussle by Ivory Finance against Ital Construct and SIC and strangely, the government through an “Executive Instrument (E.I. 304) dated 12th October 2020″ went ahead ” to carry out compulsory acquisition of this same land.”
Mr. Ablakwa alleged that reliable information he has obtained indicates that the legal action taken by Ivory Finance accounted for the reasons that led to the company’s collapse during the Financial Sector clean up.
“Deep throat sources within the Bank of Ghana have told me that but for the interest of IVORY FINANCE in the land which BoG had coveted for years, IVORY FINANCE would not have been targeted for collapse. This raises legitimate concerns about the credibility and fairness of the entire so-called financial sector clean up which was spearheaded by BoG.”
Below is Mr. Ablakwa’s Facebook post.
Uncovering the over GHS400million New Bank of Ghana Head Office Land Saga
In previous exposés on the scandalous Bank of Ghana Head Office Project, I revealed with unimpeachable and incontrovertible intercepted documents how the project skyrocketed from an initial Public Procurement Authority approval of US$81.8million to US$121million in a few months, and then to the current unconscionable record-breaking escalation of US$222.7million in less than two years.
I also published irrefutable documents exposing the naked procurement breaches, insider dealings, unregistered foreign companies, rigged contract awards, a litany of legal violations and the damning verdict of the Central Tender Review Committee against the Addison-led Bank of Ghana.
All my earlier revelations have not been challenged as they remain credible, impregnable and unassailable.
Today’s exposé focuses attention on another aspect of this ignominious project— an aspect President Akufo-Addo and MisGovernor Addison would rather wish remains hidden from the Ghanaian people.
This hitherto well-kept secret relates to the choice of land for the ongoing sleazy BoG Head Office project.
Ghanaians will be both shocked and outraged to discover that the parcel of land recklessly chosen for the palatial head office project is land which is the subject of an ongoing epic litigation.
Painstaking parliamentary oversight has unraveled how due to the terrible choice of this particular problematic land, the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer by very conservative estimates would have to be preparing to pay in excess of a mind boggling GHS400million in compensation.
When President Akufo-Addo and MisGovernor Addison settled on the land in issue, they knew it was not a prudent and patriotic thing to do.
This is because they must have known that a company known as ITALCONSTRUCT INTERNATIONAL LIMITED (incorporation documents are attached) had secured a credit facility of GHS19,303,800.00 from IVORY FINANCE COMPANY LIMITED on 10th April, 2013.
The agreed terms were an interest of 5.5% per month on the said sum till date of final payment and penal interest of 8% per month on the outstanding amount till date of final payment.
As condition for the loan, ITALCONSTRUCT was to present a credit guarantee.
ITALCONSTRUCT subsequently presented guarantee bonds from SIC.
SIC issued two bonds: Guarantee Bond Number P/100/41/4102/181 issued on December 17, 2012 in the sum of GHS8,273,057.00 and Guarantee Bond No P/100/04/4102/2013/49 in the sum of GHS19,303,800.00.
ITALCONSTRUCT defaulted completely.
IVORY FINANCE then took legal action against ITALCONSTRUCT and SIC for a recovery of all monies owed them including interest and penal rates.
IVORY FINANCE attached the BoG new head office land in issue when they went to court. The land is owned by SIC.
Ivory Finance secured a consent judgment on 25th November, 2014.
Per the consent judgement, ITALCONSTRUCT agreed to pay GHS91,918,418.35.
Instructively, this Consent Judgement has never been set aside.
Further thorough investigations reveal that in August 2019, the Bank of Ghana being fully aware of the ongoing litigation and the consent judgement approached both managements of SIC and IVORY FINANCE and made an offer of GHS100million to both entities so BoG could purchase the land for their head office project.
Interestingly, BoG did not pursue their offer and rather placed IVORY FINANCE under receivership.
Deep throat sources within the Bank of Ghana have told me that but for the interest of IVORY FINANCE in the land which BoG had coveted for years, IVORY FINANCE would not have been targeted for collapse. This raises legitimate concerns about the credibility and fairness of the entire so-called financial sector clean up which was spearheaded by BoG.
That notwithstanding, IVORY FINANCE has been in court against the BoG challenging the BoG’s decision to close it down. Judgment is expected in November this year
Meanwhile, documents I have reviewed show that CDH HOLDINGS, the parent company of IVORY FINANCE had settled that liability so this indebtedness was not on the books of IVORY FINANCE even before it was placed under receivership.
CDH HOLDINGS has since been pursuing ITALCONSTRUCT and SIC for recovery of the loan they extended to them.
The ongoing fierce litigation has developed many bizarre layers with SIC going as far as accusing its former Managing Director, Doris Awo Nkani of fraudulently guaranteeing the bonds to ITALCONSTRUCT. The first female MD of SIC was subsequently dismissed.
In another quite recent Supreme Court decision in 2018, the apex court led by former Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah criticized the high and appeal courts for ignoring the issue of fraud and ordered a total retrial which is ongoing. (See Supreme Court Judgement attached).
President Akufo-Addo should simply have stayed away from this murky and toxic land, particularly as all these matters were and are still pending in court.
Strangely, President Akufo-Addo rather decided to carry out compulsory acquisition of this same land by instructing his Lands and Natural Resources Minister at the time (Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh) to execute an Executive Instrument (E.I. 304) dated 12th October, 2020.
Under Article 20 (2) of the 1992 Constitution: “Compulsory Acquisition of property by the State shall only be made under a law which makes provision for — a) the prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation and;
b) a right of access to the High Court by any person who has a interest in or right over the property whether direct or on appeal from any other authority, for the determination of his interest or right and the amount of compensation to which he is entitled.”
So far, there is no indication that the parties have received prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation.
The sheer lawlessness by the President and his agents at the BoG is incredible.
It is therefore not surprising that some lawyers on this matter are initiating steps to enforce the rights of their clients under the Ghanaian Constitution.
Based on the Consent Judgement which has not been set aside, the interest and penalties which have accrued and factoring inflation — experts confirm that a combined compensation will not be less than a staggering GHS400million.
President Akufo-Addo and MisGovernor Addison should have avoided this parcel of land and opted for a litigation-free land to protect the already battered public purse.
Avoiding that extremely hazardous piece of land would also have communicated respect for the judiciary and regard for the rule of law just like the worthy example of the NDC Caucus in Parliament by suspending today’s protest pending the final ruling of the court on Friday.
Obviously, the government and BoG’s recklessness has not been limited to the skyrocketing cost of the building.
This egregious indiscretion on the choice of land brings bitter memories of President Akufo-Addo’s insistence on demolition valuable properties to pave way for the construction of his cathedral when Ghana is not in short supply of unencumbered land.
It seems to me that very soon, some people will have to face judgement day where they must explain to the good people of Ghana why they shouldn’t be punished for causing massive financial loss to the State.
The #OccupyBoGProtest SHALL surely happen because it is most justified.
I shall return with more.
For God and Country.
Ghana First GH