Protecting the Public Purse: State Owned Companies – Ghana Trade Fair Company under scrutiny

The Trade and Industry Committee will soon be considering the $1billion international agreement recently signed in Dubai between the Government of Ghana and a Singaporean Company to redevelop the Ghana Trade Fair.

 

In the wake of the current economic climate and the poor performance of various State Owed Enterprises including the 100% State Owned Ghana Trade Fair Company, the work of the Trade and Industry Committee of Parliament in scrutinizing the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project agreement will be of great public interest.

The Trade and Industry Committee of Parliament has 20-members charged with the oversight responsibility for all State entities under the sector, including the Trade and Industry Ministry and the Trade Fair Company.

The Trade and Industry Committee will soon be considering the $1billion international agreement recently signed in Dubai between the Government of Ghana and a Singaporean Company to redevelop the Ghana Trade Fair.

As required by law this international agreement signed by the Trade Minister, Alan Kyerematen at the instance of President Akufo-Addo, in the presence of McDan who is the Board Chairman of the Trade Fair Company will have to be brought before Parliament for ratification or be deemed as null and void.

The law firm of President Akufo-Addo had prior to the Dubai Agreement, written to Alan Kyerematen warning of a potential Judgement Debt and threatening to sue over the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project which the Government of Ghana had in 2016 signed but which the Government was failing to honour its side of the agreement.

A 100% Ghanaian owned company, REROY, won an international competitive tender supervised by PriceWaterHouseCoopers for the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project.

The Government of Ghana through the then Minister of Trade, Ekwow Spio Garbrah, signed an Agreement with REROY to redevelop the Trade Fair.

OFFICIAL RECORDS:

Copies of Board minutes of the Ghana Trade Fair Company signed by McDan and the Board Secretary which are in the possession of the Trade and Industry Committee detail how the Trade Fair Company led by Dr. Agnes Adu had disregarded all good corporate governance ethos, financial management rules and the Procurement Law to set aside the Government of Ghana Agreement, alter the Executive Instrument used in acquiring the Trade Fair Land, illegally parcel off for sale portions of the Trade Fair Lands earmarked for the project among others.

Other Signed Board Minutes also confirm how Sir David Adjaye and his architectural firm’s services were illegally procured and was paid upfront. It further details how together with the architect, the Trade Fair CEO attempted to sell 50 acres of the Trade Fair Land through the COCOBOD CEO.

These serious documented facts came up during the vetting of Alan Kyerematen for Trade Minister and Ken Ofori-Atta who appointed Dr. Agnes Adu as CEO of the Trade Fair Company;

Both the Finance Minister and the Trade Minister designate committed perjury before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, which among other things sought to know which of the two ministries [Finance or Trade] had oversight of the Trade Fair Company, supervised the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project and looked on as five (5) companies with unsolicited bids were selected to be used to replace REROY in the Trade Fair Redevelopment it had won through an international competitive tender.

It will be recalled that in 2019, the Finance Minister announced that Government had secured $2billion for the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project and would commence work in 2020 and complete by 2022.

The CEO of the Trade Fair Company announced on Good Friday that the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project would commence soon and scheduled to be completed in 2026 if it does not get stopped.

The earlier Finance Minister’s promise of commencing the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project did not happen, rather there was the demolition of property of several Ghanaians operating at the Trade Fair site.

In the wake of the current economic climate and the poor performance of various State Owed Enterprises including the 100% State Owned Ghana Trade Fair Company, the work of the Trade and Industry Committee of Parliament in scrutinizing the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project agreement will be of great public interest.

The gravity of the malfeasance and graft at the Ghana Trade Fair Company has occasioned a Petition and a request for the work of the Trade and Industry Committee in respect of the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project be broadcast live on TV so Ghanaians will see how their assets, landed property, State Lands and resources are being (mis)managed under the watch of Ministers and APPOINTEES of President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Significantly, President Akufo-Addo who promised to protect the public purse still has McDan and Dr. Agnes Adu as Board Chairman and CEO respectively despite being aware of happenings through the report of the Cabinet Subcommittee he commissioned to review the Trade Fair Redevelopment.

The Cabinet Subcommittee on the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project was chaired by Alan Kyerematen and deputized by his Deputy at the time, Carlos Ahenkora, who chairs the Trade and Industry Committee.

Two (2) NPP Members out of the 20-member Trade and Industry Committee of Parliament will not be attending the meeting on the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project;

They are Absentee Sarah Adwoa Safo and Anthony Kojo Kum who is suffering from stroke.

The report of the Committee will be brought to the floor of Parliament so the plenary debates on it as required by the Constitution; with the possibility of ratification or rejection of the international sole sourced agreement recently signed in Dubai.

The PLENARY will also be missing about five (5) members of Parliament amidst impending Bye-elections…

The Committee may make recommendations including a negotiated settlement, reinstatement of the original agreement with REROY or leave the courts to settle the case of two Agreements signed by the Government of Ghana on the same Project; akin to the double sale of lands…

WAY FORWARD:

The hosting of the African Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA in Ghana, which rightfully should have been headquartered at the Trade Fair Site makes the quick resolution and commencement of the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project an imperative; perhaps even enhanced to an “Enlarged Trade Fair Redevelopment Project” to accommodate the two Agreements over lager area…

The Enlarged Trade Fair Redevelopment Project will be mixed purpose facility with a Convention Centre, Residential and Office complex together with its hotels could be linked to the Africa Lake and the La Palm Royal Hotel and Labadi Beach Hotel…

The number of jobs to be created during the construction phase up to when the completed project becomes operational will be a very significant relief to the current Youth unemployment situation.

The fifty-two (52) Country and over 1billion people AFCFTA market which is worth trillions of dollars ANNUALLY, is what the Ghanaian economy needs to rebound…

EQUITY FOR LAND OWNERS:

The La State must not be shortchanged, the Acquisition of the Land, outstanding compensation can be converted into EQUITY in the Enlarged Trade Fair Project…

BUCKLE UP as Parliament resumes sitting from the Easter Break…

GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA.

By Prince Derek Adjei

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