New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, Ken Agyepong, who first raised the never-ending Alfred Agbesi Woyome judgment debt saga last year, has charged the security agency and President Mills’ administration to cast its dragnet wider, by arresting Ghanaian-born Italian estate developer, Ernesto Taricone and adding him to the list of persons who have defrauded the country.

According him,Mr. Taricone, who is the owner of Trasacco Group of Companies and the two companies which were represented by Woyome-Waterville and Micheletti- is part of the dirty deal which has led to the loss of GH¢51 million and additional 33 million Euros to the state and therefore, must also be arrested immediately.

Ken Agyapong, made the call on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen current affairs programme, Show hosted by Nana Kwabena Bobie Ansah last week Friday afternoon.

What many people may not know is that Mr. Taricone is not an ordinary man in Ghana. He is indeed, a friend to ex-President John Kufuor. Mr. Taricone is part owner of the plush Villagio apartments next-door to the Mr. Kufuor’s Airport West Residence in Accra, opposite the African Regency Hotel nicknamed “Hotel Kufuor”.

Insiders tells stories of what is suggested to be a cleverly crafted deal between the Kufuor family and Mr. Taricone. It is reported that a substantial portion (60 percent) of the Villagio apartment, which is run under the Trasacco Group of Companies, is owned by the Kufuor dynasty hidden in the name of “Chief Kufuor and family”.

As to how ex-President Kufuor orchestrated the cancellation of Mr. Taricone’s contract, to construct the stadia for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN 2008) awarded his two companies- Waterville and Micheletti- and led to his(Tracone) harvesting of 33 million Euros from state coffers is yet to be explained by Mr. Kufuor.

What is unclear is whether Mr. Kufuor stage-managed the abrogation of the contracts to Ernesto Taricone’s Waterville and Micheletti, and awarded it to the Shanghai Construction Group of China, to enable his government pay quickly the two companies the huge compensation under judgement debt, ostensibly for him (Kufuor) to also take his share.

The shocking thing about the Shanghai Construction Group of China deal is that the transaction did not go to Parliament for approval.

The interim report of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) submitted to President Mills last week, said that the evidence shows that when the decision was to be taken by Mr. Kufuor’s Cabinet to abrogate the tender process, Mr. Osafo-Maafo, the then Minister of Education and Sports, in his memorandum to Cabinet dated July 27, 2005, “warned the Cabinet of the fact that the Shanghai Construction Group did not qualify for the award because the Group had not taken part in the tender, had not been evaluated, had not provided any financial proposals and that the stage the tender process had gotten to, it would be a breach of the Public Procurement Act to abrogate the process”.

Mr. Osafo-Maafo told Cabinet further that “if on the other hand the recommendations arising out of the tender will be set aside, then we should marshal our forces and make a decision which we can defend nationally and internationally”.

In his letter of August 22, 2005, however, Mr. Osafo-Maafo, informed Vamed/Mpowapak of the termination of the tender process, the reasons being the ‘high financial commitments implied in the submissions, the inconclusive and the non-assuring nature of the financial submissions”.

“Subsequent to this letter, Waterville, per the letter written by its lawyer, Colin Russell, datedAugust 27, 2006, protested against the termination, pointing out that the reasons given by MOES was not tenable and the termination illegal. He cited the Public Procurement Act to support Waterville’s case,” the EOCO report said.

Consequently, in an MOU signed and dated 30th of November 2005, Waterville was given the right to commence rehabilitation works on the Kumasi, Accra and El Wak stadia. The MOU stated that a formal contract should be signed within 45 days of the date of the MOU.

Subsequently, per its letter of 6th February, 2006, MOES authorised Waterville to move to site pending the written contract which was eventually signed on 26th April 2006.

“Documents studied so far indicate that these were also terminated and. Waterville put in a claim for a total amount of €21, 569, 946.71, for actual work done and financial engineering. Government then paid an amount of €11,935,706.55 for unexplained reasons, failed to pay the difference of €9,634,240.16. This amount was outstanding until the change of administration in 2009, when Waterville, taking advantage of the dispute settlement clause of its contract with the Government went for mediation and was eventually awarded an amount of €25,000,000.00 to cover its outstanding amount and accumulated interest, among others. This amount was subsequently paid in 2010”.

Kennedy Agyepong on Asempa FM said that Mr. Taricone who owned the Waterville and Micheletti is more corrupt than the man – Mr. Woyome – who he said has duped the state a sum of GH¢51 million.

“Within 24 hours he must be arrested, this is because he knows that government did not owe him any money but he went ahead to demand money that he did not deserve”. Anytime you arrest Woyome, you must arrest Taricone”, he instructed the security.

Mr. Agyepong, said that under no circumstance should the security agency suffer any inferiority complex and exempt the Italian whom he alleged was supported by Mr. Woyome to dupe Ghana almost in the sum of GH¢80 million.

He wondered why Taricone who had received money on behalf of Micheletti would turn round to use Waterville to fraudulently claim money from the state again.

To this end Mr. Agyepong entreated everybody mentioned in the issue, including his colleagues NPP to appear at the Economic and Organize Crime Unit (EOCO) investigation to tell whatever they know with respective to the Woyome judgment debt.

He mentioned in particular that Mr. Osafo-Marfo must endeavor to appear at the office of Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to reveal what he knows about the transaction.

“A lot of people need to be arrested to get to the bottom of the issue. If there is any NPP person that connived with him, that person must be arrested. I hear he said he is going for Osafo-Marfo, I agree he should go for him”, he said.

The laws, he underscored, are presently working and he noted that when the laws are working, he in particular does not mind who is involved provided there are credible and enough evidence to show that they have committed themselves to steal the state.

Mr. Agyepong stressed that now that Mr. Woyome has been arrested, all those who have been implicated in the current government as well as civil servants must all be arrested.

He mentioned names such as the former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Mrs. Betty Mould Idrrisu, and the sitting Deputy Attorney-General, Ebo Bartin Oduro and the state Chief Attorney, Mr. Samuel Nerquay-Tetteh who convinced the minister that the state did not have a case in court, only for an amount of ¢4 billion to be deposited with his wife from Mr. Woyome.

He also demanded the arrest of the Director of Legal Affair at the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Paul Asimenu.

Meanwhile, the Managing Editor of the Ghanaian Lens Mr. Kobby Fiagbe, alleged on the same programme that Mr. Agyapong before speaking on the programme that day had attended a meeting organized by the NPP at Danquah Institute (DI), a think tank organization aimed at promoting the presidential ambition of NPP party flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Mr. Fiagbe alleged that “Unfortunately, Ken Agyepong himself was part of a meeting that was held this afternoon at Danquah Institute where they devised ways to obliterate the issue to the point where we will suppress public interest in the Waterville abrogation and the Osafo Marfo memo.

“I am telling you just this afternoon at Danquah Institute so what he was doing was just in reference to what they went to discuss how to go about it. It is just the first step in this whole thing, you see when he came, they should arrest Taricone?

“But before they do that they should first arrest ex-President Kufuor because if Taricone does not have any claim why did Kufour pay him 21 million Euros in the previous administration before they left the office?

“All these is just a way of confusing the issue so that in the end they will get the pressure off Yaw Osafo Marfo, OB Amoah and NPP cabinet. That is the whole agenda and that was the meeting that was held this afternoon at Danquah Institute and I know the people who were there.

“I just drove from that area and came down here right now, you understand what I am talking about. So trust me, all these, they know that they are the ones who caused all this whole mess to happen in the first place. And now that they know that they are the ones who caused this, the agenda is to find ways to create impression that, go after this, go after that”, he said.

Source: The Herald

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