OccupyGhana has cautioned the Social Security and National Insurance Trust against any attempt to use pensioners’ monies to fund any 'phantom' deal of Alfred Agbesi Woyome, which was uncovered last week.
According to OccupyGhana, the Government has issued a directive to SSNIT to "use our pension funds to acquire a 24% stake in this phantom Woyome project."
According to the pressure group, it has documents showing that sometime in 2009, in a scheme similar to the Stadium matters which led to the first scam, Mr Woyome managed to convince government officials that he could establish what he called “Green Townships” in Ghana.
This concept, at the time, was allegedly to provide solar power and 20,000 houses for Urban Renewal Project, which was to be “replicated and adapted to agriculture, mining or manufacturing communities.”
"It made fantastic and unsubstantiated claims of providing 12,000 permanent jobs and 30,000 construction jobs for two years, and would 'lift over 200,000 people above the poverty line, including residents and workers on the project'", OccupyGhana disclosed in a statement yesterday.
According to the pressure group, Mr Woyome then managed to get the Finance Minister at the time, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, to write a letter, dated December 15, 2009, to “in principle accept participation stake holding of 24% in the joint venture.”
That letter was, however, clear that the Government was going to subject the proposal to further discussion with relevant stakeholders, leading to formal negotiations towards a definitive agreement. The letter was also clear that a final position on all aspects of the project would only be arrived at after discussions with all stakeholders, subject also to Cabinet and Parliamentary approvals.
"It appears to us that this matter cooled off for several years while Woyome battled us in court over the GH¢51.2M that was unconstitutionally and fraudulently paid to him,” the statement noted.
OccupyGhana said by the time Mr Woyome re-surfaced in 2014, what was a “Green Townships” project had transformed and ballooned into a huge Special Economic Zone project designed to do practically everything under the sun: electricity, deep sea ports, roads, railways, hospitals, factories, agriculture, mining, archaeological findings. You just name the project, and Woyome was going to do it.
The group further disclosed that Mr Woyome’s consultant, Albert Essamuah Associates Limited, now claiming to have been appointed as the Government’s consultants, on August 19, 2016, wrote to the Chief of Staff demanding the latter “to issue an urgent directive from your august office, to SSNIT through its Board Chairman, to take up the 24% stake holding of the Government of Ghana in the Project SEZ on behalf of the people of Ghana.”
This letter also revealed that “when the construction of the Port commences the value will escalate to over US$25 Billion.”
Although this letter was disingenuously silent about the value of the alleged 24% stake that SSNIT was to be directed to acquire, what is apparent is that either SSNIT or the Government was expected by Woyome to fork out a colossal 24% of US$25B for that acquisition.
The statement added: "So, what Dr. Duffuor had clearly stated as an “in principle acceptance” with several approval conditions was, after the illegal Framework Agreement was signed between Woyome and Dzifa Attivor, being represented to the Chief of Staff as a firm commitment to acquire a 24% stake in the phantom project."
The group is, therefore, satisfied that the Chief of Staff asked for a legal opinion from the Attorney-General, on whether the government could issue the directive to SSNIT as demanded by Woyome.
"We are satisfied that this opinion did not bind SSNIT to taking up the alleged 24% stake. However, we are concerned that in one part of the opinion, it is stated that “this is a proposed stake as opposed to an actual stake,” while another part claims that “Government has accepted the proposal [to take a 24% stake in the project] per the letter from the Ministry of Finance dated December 15, 2009…” the pressure group stated.
OccupyGhana, therefore, charged SSNIT not to consider, even for a moment, to use the pension funds of Ghanaians to fund this latest phantom Woyome project.
"In the coming days, we will show to Ghanaians even more shocking aspects of this matter. If Ghanaians do not arise to occupy their democratic space, public officials, either through negligence or complicity, will engage in shady and dodgy deals that would cost the nation money that we do not have and should not be spending,” the statement asserted.