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Press Review of Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Source: Enquirer

Bartels Splashes another 2 Billion on Daughter's Dead Company

ANOTHER ¢2BILLION GOVT. CASH SPRINKLED ON BARTELS’ DAUGHTER'S DEAD CO.

It is a case of billions of cash from Ghana Government to help needy private companies. It is set against 'sugar daddy' Kwamena Bartels, then Minister for Private Sector Development, playing Godfather and coach to a 'sikadicious' daughter and son-in-law who went on a spending spree and blew over 2 billion of government cash like children in a candy shop.

It was whilst under chase hot chase, to refund the about ¢2 billion, that Sheila Bartels and her husband Nana Ayitey Sam got another ¢4 billion from their daddy's Ministry using another company name.

It began on one fine day in November 29, 2004, when then Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu wrote to a company called Platinum Technologies Ltd, saying

"I refer to your application for the above facility and wishes to inform you that your company has been allocated an amount of ¢2 billion for the importation of equipment"?

The letter continued that

"Beneficiaries must ensure that they have sufficiently viable concerns and projects before taking this facility as repayments will strictly be enforced in accordance with the payment terms. Excuses aimed at rescheduling of payments will NOT be entertained"

Platinum Technologies which belongs to Kwamena Bartels' daughter Sheila Bartels and the her husband Nana Ayitey Sam and they were supposed to use the money to import capital goods. They were given a grace period of 6 months to begin paying. The entire period of repayment was to be 36 months.

From this point on, it was one scandal after the other.

Enter, ‘Daddy’ Kwamena Bartels, the then Minister of Private Sector Development. The Minister jumped into the fray and introduced a friend in the United States called Dr. Adusei to help out his daughter and son-in-law.

Dr. Adusei following up on instructions from Kwamena Bartels signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Platinum Technologies Limited. The MOU was in respect of Dr. Adusei data processing outsourcing for Platinum Technology Ltd.

Viola! Armed with the MOU between Bartels' pal and Platinum Technologies, Bartels' daughter could now boat of full compliance of the ‘viable concerns and projects”. Predictably, the MOU did not go beyond the corners of the walls within which it was signed even though it had given credibility to Platinum Technologies that they had "sufficiently viable concerns and projects"

It did not keep long before General Leasing started wiring the money into the bank account of Platinum Technologies.

SCANDAL AFTER SCANDAL

Scandal 1:

The Enquirer's investigations later revealed that at the time the, ¢2 billion facility was allocated to Platinum Technologies Limited under the US government funded “Trade And Investment Private Sector Support” Platinum was not even qualified for the project.

The award letter dated November 29, stated that the ¢2 billion was for the purchase of equipment capital goods.

Meanwhile, at the time the company was awarded the facility, documents from the Register General’s Department, indicated that since June 2001, the nature of business which the company was authorized to carry out were “Repairs of computers, Provision of internet Café Services, Dealers in computer parts and accessories and sales of computers and Microsoft certification"

Further investigations reveal that it was not until June 28, 2005, seven months after they were awarded the 2 billion that Platinum amended its company records to reflect a completely new objects which made them compliant with the MOU and with the spirit of the award letter. According to the company records the new objects of the company which was filed on July 8th 2005 included " Data Processing, Data Management, Business process outsourcing, General Information and Communication and Technology Services"

SCANDAL 2

Two months before Platinum Technologies changed the objects of their business, General Leasing, acting through its Managing Director, William Yeboah signed a contract with Platinum Technology and began allocating the cash to the company. When the money finally hit the accounts of Platinum Technologies, the rest of the story took its own turn as Sheila Bartels and her husband Nana Ayitey Sam went on a spending spree.

Four days after Platinum Technologies received the first batch of the money from General Leasing, Sheila Bartels issued a memo dated May 10th, 2005 and copied to her husband Nana Ayitey Sam saying that should now be paid in US dollars and pegged their salaries at: Sheila Bartels-Sam $1,500 and Nana Ayitey Sam $2,000. The couple blew the money by signing a "Contract with God" buying cars and even surcharging the company for supervision works they did for their own company. This is viewed against the background that they had allocated the to themselves the above salaries.

Two months after they received the first batch of payments and 8 months after they employed over 9 employees, the company had been so mismanaged and the cash blown so much so that it was beginning to show signs of collapse. By January 25, 2006, Platinum Technologies Ltd was expected to begin their monthly repayment of the facility. They were expected to pay 65,357,858. The date came and they couldn't pay.

By February 2, 2006, one after when they were expected to make their first batch of payment to General leasing, Platinum Technologies was rather busy dismissing all the workers they had employed.

On February 2, 2006, Sheila Bartels acting as both Human Resource and Administrative Manager and her husband Nana Ayitey Sam wrote to some of the workers saying "As per the discussion at he General staff meeting regarding the availability of business to the company, and the need to relieve all its staff of their duties to enable the company restructure, the Board and Management of Platinum Technologies Co. Ltd writes to officially relieve you of your duty"

"Please note that this is a necessary business decision that has been taken to save the company from further accrual of debt in Salaries and overhead cost. Management will call upon you if it is able to secure any contract and is in the position to finance salaries. Management has been able to secure funds to pay off all salary arrears." Sheila and her husband wrote to their staff.

Interestingly, one of the cardinal objectives of the objectives of the facility was to create employment for Ghanaians. Platinum was doing the opposite by dismissing all their workers.

SCANDAL 3

Three months after paying billions to Bartels's daughter, the chips were beginning to fall and the reality that the government and the fund managers had been short changed was becoming more evident.

Three months after the money was paid to Platinum Technologies, General Leasing, the fund managers wrote to Platinum Technologies on September 30, 2005 saying "Following the disbursement of funds allocated to you under the Trade and Investment Reform Program and subsequent delivery of your equipment, we forward a schedule in respect of your payment to us. Your monthly payment will commence on January 25, 2006 and end on June 25, 2008."

"You are kindly requested to issue cheques to us, to cover your first six rentals.

You would be required to replenish these cheques until the facility is fully retired." General Leasing said.

Two days before they were expected to make their first payment, specifically January 23, 2006, Nana Ayitey Sam, acting as Operations Manager of Platinum Technologies now replied General Leasing's letter of September 30, 2005 saying " I write on behalf of Platinum Technologies to request additional 5 months moratorium period to May 25, 2006. This request has become necessary due to the fact that the company has not yet started billable work and will be due to start in the month of May 2006."

Meanwhile, when the facility was given to Platinum Technologies, the Ministry was emphatic that "beneficiaries must ensure that they have sufficiently viable concerns and projects before taking this facility as repayments will be strictly enforced in accordance with the payment terms. Excuses aimed at rescheduling of payments will NOT be entertained"

On September 13, Nana Ayitey Sam dropped the most explosive bombshell in a letter to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service, Adabraka.

According to him that Platinum Technologies were in so much difficulties that "Our company ceased operating from January to December 2004 and has since not carried out any activity". What this means is that 11 months before Platinum Technology was awarded the 2 billion facility, the company had collapsed.

Nana Ayittey Sam told the IRS that in May 2005, they "received a facility from General Leasing and Finance Company Ltd through the Ministry of Finance to revive our operations"

Exactly a year after they received the money, on May 16, 2006, the company was so broke that they had to rely on Kwamena Bartels to inject them with his usual dose of financial support. Bartels, according to Bank records, issued a cheque of 18 million on May 16, 2006 to Platinum Technologies, part of which was used to pay an internet service provider called Net Afrique who was on their neck for the money.

SHEILA BARTELS AND NANA AYITEY SAM.

Sheila Bartels, when contact by The Enquirer refused to talk "I will not grant you any interview, if you have anything, go ahead and write your story."

When The Enquirer contacted Nana Ayitey Sam, he initially agreed to talk but on the appointed date and time, when The Enquirer called his phone, his wife Sheila said "He is in a meeting, call later"

When The Enquirer called Nana Sam again, Sheila picked up the phone and said his husband was driving and couldn't talk adding "Mr. Archer, I say we won't grant you any interview, if you say you have any information go ahead and publish it" she then hanged up the phone.

KWAMENA BARTELS

When The Enquirer spoke to Kwamena Bartels regarding his role in asking Dr. Adusei of the United States to help his daughter and son-in-law in respect of business process outsourcing, he admitted that he knew Dr. Adusei adding that someone had introduced him as person who could help his daughter. When asked whether he had discussions with Dr. Adusei regarding the business process outsourcing for his daughter, Minister Bartels initially denied having a discussion with the said Dr. Adusei concerning his daughter's company but later admitted upon persistent questioning that he indeed talked to him and asked him to help his daughter.

"The gentleman has been introduced to me as somebody who could help my daughter with the business, naturally I will talk to him and say talk to my daughter and the others and help them." Bartels said.

Bartels who was Minister for Private Sector Development at that time said he knows Dr. Adusei had been talking to them (son-in-law and daughter) adding that "but everything fell apart, it collapsed"

GENERAL LEASING

When, The Enquirer went to General Leasing, last year, for more insights as to how everything happened and why they allowed a dead company like Platinum Technologies to benefit from the facility , they said they were unable to comment on the Issue. The managing Director, Mr. William A. Yeboah directed The Enquirer to the Ministry of Finance.

When The Enquirer went to the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Akoto Osei spoke and explained the objects of the fund was to assist the private sector adding that one of the signposts of the program was the ability of the company to repay on time.

"If you don't pay back the facility and pay on time, others will be blocked from benefiting from the facility"

According the Finance Minister who was speaking generally on the operations of the fund, the money was given by the US government and adding that there is no additional money, we give it you, you pay back so that other people can benefit"

Dr. Akoto, who spoke in a very polite voice said it is only when those who take the facility pay back and on time that the fund can run successfully"