Ken Ofori-Atta

Ken Ofori-Atta

Attempts by Ken Ofori-Atta of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), to explain away controversies generated over the GHC 2 million debt owed Prudential Bank Limited to fund the party?s 2012 presidential campaign, has further raised serious questions threatening Ken Ofori-Atta and the NPP?s sincerity in the matter.

Serious questions are being raised about the exact principal borrower of the money and what collaterals were used to guarantee the huge facility. It is yet unclear if the debt is an NPP debt or a Ken Ofori-Atta (the Chairman of investment firm Databank) debt on behalf of the NPP.

Some of the questions raised by critics, as gathered by the Republic Newspaper include queries such as: if the debt was the liability of Ken Ofori-Atta, why was the letterhead of the NPP used to write the application for the facility, and why did Keli Gadzekpo and Ken Ofori-Atta signed the letter on NPP letterhead when they were not officially recognized as executives of the party?

In a reaction to heated debate over the debt, Mr. Ofori-Atta, a cousin of the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo, issued a statement saying he was ??personally liable for any obligation that arises from this transaction and not in any way the New Patriotic Party.

However, since this rebuttal, the immediate past General Secretary of the NPP, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John) has contravened Ofori-Atta?s saying the Paul Afoko-led NPP administration should accept responsibility of the debt and settles it.

?Ideally the party must take the debt?.So I think those who are at the helm of affairs today ?.Ideally will not even allow Ken Ofori Atta to say he will pay, they should have taken that responsibility on themselves as leaders of the party,? he told the media last Thursday, adding that the money was used to procure bicycles, motorbikes, T-shirts and cars to help the party and the presidential campaign during the 2012 elections.

Meanwhile, terms and conditions of the overdraft have also come under close scrutiny by critics, given the fact that the overdraft secured around 2012 was given at approximately 20% interest rate when the market rates for such lending were much higher.

There are also rife speculations that Ken-Ofori-Atta whose firm operates several mutual funds, could possibly have used the private funds to guarantee such a huge amount for political party activities because Keli-Gadzekpo who is the CEO of Databank-operators of the mutual funds- and who was not originally a signatory to the NPP account upon which the overdraft at Prudential bank was drawn, suddenly became a signatory.

Critics such as the Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwasi Pratt and others are calling for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bank of Ghana (BOG) to investigate the the facility to ensure due diligence, ?Is this a prudent investment?Bank of Ghana is supposed to be the regulator, I hope the Bank of Ghana is listening and has seen this letter?so if you deposit money at Prudential bank, this is what they do with the money?? Kwesi Pratt queried on Adom FM last Thursday

Unraveling the truth around the debt gets even murkier given the fact that peeved bank referred to the debt as being granted to the NPP.

The leaked letter from Prudential Bank dating April, 21, 2015, reminding party of its indebtedness and threatening legal action, stated: ?We refer to out letter dated 5th January in which we requested you to arrange and pay off the overdraft facility of GHC1.5 million granted the New Patriotic Party?.?

The Bank is said to have met with the both the current and past administration of the NPP Paul Afoko/Kwabena Agyapong and Jake Obetsebi Lamptey and Sir John respectively to try to make a case for debt to be settled, upon which both administrations claimed they had not particular knowledge of how the bank facility was secured.

The current administration of Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong are reported to have argued against the NPP settling the debt because the circumstance around the contracting of the debt was not officially sanctioned by the NPP.

The Republic Newspaper can report that this issue is one main issue that has driven a wedge in the relationship between Akufo Addo who was a beneficiary of the campaign funds (being the party?s presidential candidate in 2012) and the current top executives; Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong.

Apparently, in 2012, Akufo Addo had raised and blown a whopping GHC 57 million on his presidential campaign. The funds were managed by his cousin Ken Ofori-Atta and his partner Keli Gadzekpo who co-own Databank, an investment firm that has recently been rocked by controversies about how they

Databank is involved in the infamous Obotan scandal where it reportedly used its influence in the then NPP government to infiltrate the Social Security and National Investment Fund (SSNIT) to skim off a whopping US$2.24 from pensioner?s fund.

A forensic audit initiated by then administration of John Agyekum Kufour described it as a scandalous investment.

The forensic report recommended the criminal prosecution of the NPP flagbearer?s cousin Ken Ofori-Atta and five others but that recommendation has since been ignored, allowing the workers? US$ 2. 244 million pension money to disappear into thin air. Although Data bank, in 2002 when the Obotan deal became an open secret allegedly declined comments on the matter, Ken Ofori Atta would almost a decade after deny any complicity on the part of the investment bank and its associate insurance company, ?Enterprise Insurance Groups?.

A few years after this scandal, Databank  became the money bag for Nana Addo?s 2008 election campaign, according to Arthur Kennedy?s book, ?Chasing The Elephant Into the Bush: The Politics of Complacency?. Ken Ofori-Atta became the campaign fund manager of the Akufo Addo campaign.

Source: The Republic


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