105 total views, 2 views today
A statement released today by the Press Secretary of President Akufo-Addo has threatened to deal with New York-based Ghanaian-owned news magazine Africawatch.
“The publishers, editors and distributors of the publication will be dealt with in the appropriate forum,” Press Secretary Eugene Arhin stated in reaction to the latest (June 2019) publication of Africawatch which linked close family and friends of President Akufo-Addo to the scandalous plan to buy two buildings valued at approximately US$ 4 million for US$ 12 million in Oslo-Norway for Ghana’s chancery in the Scandinavian country.
Africawatch claimed it snooped around Oslo to unearth the point-man in the stinky deal. Incidentally, it turned out to be 69-year-old Norwegian businessman Kristian Arvid Haug who was reportedly “a close family friend of the First Family and had been shuttling between Accra and Oslo, through London with some of the President’s relatives to meet with Norwegian oil companies.”
Eugene Arhin’s statement claims Africawatch’s report linking the First Family was “…baseless, libellous, and scurrilous, and contained nothing but manufactured lies”. The statement narrowed the report down to what it described as Africawatch’s “notoriously established agenda to defame the President through the deliberate publication of such false stories.”
However, Africawatch’s report impugned deliberate conflict of interest by the Akufo Addo administration, insisting that the outrageously priced buildings were owned in secret by Haug to whom the Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley splash approximately US$ 12 million for its purchase for a piece of real estate that ordinarily should not cost more than US$ 5 million.
The buildings which sold for around US$ 4 million in 2017 suddenly had a price tag of US$ 12 million in 2018 when the Ghanaian government decided to buy it.
The Ghanaian government only backed down on the deal after an intense public backlash when its cover was blown in November 2018 by Norwegian Newspaper Finansavisen and also in the Ghanaian Parliament.
Africawatch’s startling revelation showed that late 2017, Mr. Haug had moved to buy the properties located at No. 3 Sigyns Gate in Oslo from its original owners in preparation to sell to Ghana. Arvid Haug is said to have bought the property from one property developer, Age Ringdal in the winter of 2017 for 31million Norwegian Kroner ($3.6m) before miraculously getting a deal from Ghana to part with it at a price of 100million Norwegian Kroner ($11.62million).
When cornered, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey claimed the price quotation was a fair price because a proper valuation was done on the property.
However, snoopy Africawatch insists that its findings revealed that the contentious Arvid Huag featured prominently in the valuation of the building as well.
Apparently, the appraisal was done in November 2018 by one Jon Ugland. Interestingly, the appraisal was ordered by Husprojeck AS, the parent company of Jongbru AS that sold the property to the Ghanaian government.
As it turns out, Arvid Huag owns 50 % of the shares in Husproject AS and he is also the Chairman of Jonsbru AS. “Who is it that will go buy a property and take an appraisal ordered by and conducted for the seller at face value?” Africawatch questioned.
Africawatch also revealed that when the decision to purchase and embassy property in Norway was concluded, Foreign Minister Botchwey sent one of her close confidants to meet and arrange the deal with Mr. Arvid. Regina Appiah-Sam, was consequently, in July 2018, shipped to Ghana’s Chancery in Denmark, which oversees Ghana’s diplomatic matters in Norway as Head of Chancery.
It is unclear how the government intends to ‘deal with’ Africawatch as journalists organisations such as the Private Newspaper Printers Association (PRINPAG) issues a strong caution to the government against the creeping attempt to muzzle the media.
Source: Whatsupnews Ghana