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General News of Monday, 26 November 2012

Source: The Herald Newspaper

Revealed: Akufo-Addo in $47 million loss

The Herald investigations have established that Nana Akufo-Addo, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) got Societe Generale part-owners of the SG-SSB Bank in Ghana paid a whopping 47 million United States Dollars judgment debt, in a case filed at the UK against the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) during the Kufuor presidency

Prior to the payment of the colossal amount, GNPC under Rawlings presidency was hotly contesting Societe Generale’s claims in a UK court.

Strangely, Nana Addo upon assuming office as the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in the John Kufuor government, abandoned up the US$47 million to the French company due to Nana Addo’s negligence.

The NPP presidential candidate had ordered that the corporation should hand over the matter to the Attorney General’s Department to handle, days later, he fired the UK lawyers, Bindman and Partners, who were fighting the case for GNPC, forcing Ghana, to cough US$47 million, to settle the massive judgment debt.

What is even more shocking is the discovery that years later, Societe Generale was sold the collapsed Ringway Hotel property, owned by Nana Addo and his siblings at a cost of US3 million dollars.

The site of the mismanaged hotel at Kokomlemle near Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra is now going to house the headquarters of the SG-SSB Bank Ghana.

Another extremely bizarre thing about the US$47 million judgment slapped on Ghana was that, Societe General sued GNPC demanding a US$20 million dollars.

Later, the French company changed its position and wanted US$12 million instead. However, at an August 2001 press conference, the then Minister of Energy, Albert Kan-Dapaah, announced that US$47 million was rather paid for what he suggested was Tsatstu Tsikata’s wrongful decision to engage Societe Generale.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah, who is Member of Parliament (MP) for Effigya-Sekyere West in the Ashanti region, is currently the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which is now delving into some controversial judgment debts paid by the government including the infamous Alfred Agbesi Woyome’s Ghc21 million.

The Herald has gathered that at the time of sacking the UK lawyers, they were in the middle of settlement negotiations with the France-based bank, Societe Generale, dropping its earlier claim to US$20 million on account of hedging transactions with GNPC to US$12 million.

The Herald is informed that negotiations were still ongoing when Nana Addo terminated the engagement of UK lawyers, who had advised GNPC that it had a good case.

Again at the time of sacking the lawyers, they had sought orders from the court to obtain certain tape recordings in the possession of Societe Generale to be made available in support of the position of GNPC in the case.

Societe Generale was resisting this, knowing the disclosure of the tapes would not be in their favour.

Nana Addo was made aware of all these facts by GNPC, but surprisingly, acting closely with Kan-Dapaah, they instructed that the lawyers take no further action.

The application for disclosure of the tapes was then allowed to elapse and no further steps in defence of the action were taken by Akufo-Addo as Attorney-General.

This enabled Societe Generale to obtain judgment against GNPC, compelling government to sell a drillship owned by GNPC.

Despite the fact that Societe Generale had been willing to settle for much less, they took judgment for the full claim of almost US$20 million and got that from the proceeds of the sale of the drillship.

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