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General News of Thursday, 13 September 2007

Source: CRUSADING GUIDE

Scancem/Diamond Cement Bribery


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Alleged Attempt To Bribe Nana Konadu And Abodakpi – A “Cock And Bull” Story!

Following the publication of the Scancem bribery scandal, various people including former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, apparently one of the characters in the eye of the bull - so far as the story is concerned – tried to make comments challenging the credibility of the story.

Speaking on “Joy FM”, a private radio station in Accra and elsewhere, Nana Konadu submitted to the effect that the bribery allegation made against them – herself, J.J. Rawlings and P.V. Obeng – was because of the monopoly status denied Scancem due to the establishment of a rival cement factory - Diamond Cement, in Aflao.

However, this paper’s investigations have proved Nana Konadu’s assertion as false. According to the records, as at 1991, Government of Ghana’s (GoG’s) share in Ghana Cement Works Ltd. (GHACEM), was 75 percent. The rest 25 percent was held by Scancem of Oslo, Norway, (24.5%) together with Dr. J.A. Addison (0.5%).

By August 12, 1992, Scancem had bought 45 percent shares of the GoG’s 75 percent shares in GHACEM. US$4,074,000.00 was the money the GoG received for the 45 percent shares.

And, before the year 1999 run out, GoG sold the rest of its shares in GHACEM to Scancem for USD 17 million.

However, Diamond Cement (Ghana) Limited received its certificate of incorporation on 3rd August, 1998 and commenced business in April, 2000.

Even then, as our investigations revealed, Diamond Cement at that time had not started manufacturing cement, rather, it started off by importing 30,000 tonnes of cement monthly from Togo, which was distributed to agents for the Ghanaian market.

According to documents sighted by this paper, the company had acquired 30 acres of land at Akporkploe, Aflao, in the Volta Region, for the construction of the factory, which was to start “on 13th June, 2000 and it is anticipated to be completed by August 2001, and production of cement will start in September, 2001”.

Investigations have it that Diamond Cement Ghana Ltd, was registered with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and given certificate to that effect on 11th February, 2000.

The address at which the Company could be reached was stated as C/o Mobile House, 4th Floor, 25 Liberia Road, Accra. Location: R.S. Agbenoto & Associates, 4th Floor, Mobile House.

Readers will recall that R.S. Agbenoto was Captain Kojo Tsikata’s counsel at the National Reconciliation Commission’s (NRC’s) hearings. He is a retired army officer of the Legal Directorate.

The company was issued with a Registration Certificate number 80798/0932. The warehouse was located within the yard of West Coast Spinning Industry, Tema, and the factory at Aflao.

There were two foreign shareholders who also constituted the first two directors, who had invested an initial US$ 350,000 as foreign equity.

Readers will recall that the sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of the factory was performed by the then Vice President, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, on 13 March, 2000.

It will also be recalled that one Henry Ametefe, a former District Chief Executive (DCE) of Ketu in the Volta Region, was heard on “Citi FM”, an Accra-based radio station recently making comments in support of Nana Konadu’s assertions pertaining to the Scancem bribery and monopoly of the cement industry.

According to him (Ametefe), Mr. Dan Abodakpi, a former Minister for Trade in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta Constituency, one morning called him and queried him for dragging his (Ametefe’s) feet in the acquisition of land for the construction of the Diamond Cement factory at Aflao.

The ex-DCE said Abodakpi said the GHACEM officials did not like the idea that a rival cement factory was going to be sited in the country – Aflao – and hence they had gone to see Nana Konadu with 500m to stop the construction and operation of the factory.

According to him, Abodakpi said Nana Konadu had turned down the offer.

The ex-DCE said Abodakpi expressed fears that the GHACEM officials could come down to Aflao and bribe the people not to give out any land for the construction of the factory.

Ametefe said Dan Abodakpi’s fears stemmed from the fact that the GHACEM officials had come to see him to stop the construction of the cement factory in Aflao, after they could not influence Nana Konadu to do same.

When we tried to reach the ex-DCE to elaborate on the interview he granted “Citi FM” sometime ago, he refused to make any comment, saying he had nothing to say anymore on the issue since he had already talked to our Editor-In-Chief, Kweku Baako Jnr., who is on leave.

Our Editor-In-Chief, however, told us that in a brief interaction with the ex-DCE over phone, he (DCE) said the bribery attempt happened in March, 2000. The money intended for the bribery was 500m; but the ex-DCE could not say whether it was in cedis or dollars, he rather asked Baako to check from “The Enquirer”, a private newspaper based in Accra, whom he (ex-DCE) had talked to on the matter.

According to Baako, the ex-DCE insisted that the GHACEM officials could not bribe Abodakpi and Nana Konadu. He (ex-DCE) refused to further answer any questions, saying Baako had the tendency of misquoting people in his submissions on radio and television.

You may please turn to page two where we have scanned some supporting documents for your perusal.

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