Occupy Ghana warns SSNIT against funding Woyome project with pension funds

Occupy GhanaPressure group, Occupy Ghana has cautioned the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) against using pension funds to finance what it described as the latest ‘phantom Woyome project’.

According to the group, the government has issued a directive to SSNIT to use Ghana’s pension funds to acquire a 24 per cent stake in the ‘phantom Woyome project’.

This was contained in a press release made available on November 28, 2016.

The release says sometime in 2009, in a scheme similar to the Stadium matters which led to the first scam, Woyome managed to convince government officials that he could establish what he called “Green Townships” in Ghana. This concept, at the time, was allegedly to provide solar power and 20,000 houses for some Urban Renewal Project, which was to be “replicated and adapted to agriculture, mining or manufacturing communities,” the release explained, adding that “the document made fantastic and unsubstantiated claims of providing 12,000 permanent jobs and 30,000 construction jobs for two years, and would “lift over 200,000 people above the poverty line, including residents and workers on the project.”

The release further explained that Woyome managed to get the Finance Minister at the time, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, to write a letter dated December 15, 2009 to “in principle accept participation stake holding of 24 per cent in the joint venture.”

It added that the letter was clear, that the Government was going to subject the proposal to further discussion with relevant stakeholders, leading to formal negotiations towards a definitive agreement. The letter was also clear that a final position on all aspects of the project would only be arrived at after discussions with all stakeholders, subject also to Cabinet and Parliamentary approvals.

The group hinted that the matter cooled off for several years while Woyome battled in court over the GH¢51.2 million that was unconstitutionally and fraudulently paid to him.

“By the time Woyome re-surfaced in 2014, what was a “Green Townships” project had transformed and ballooned into a huge Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project designed to do practically everything under the sun: electricity, deep sea ports, roads, railways, hospitals, factories, agriculture, mining, archaeological findings. You just name the project, and Woyome was going to do it,” the group said.

“On August 19, 2016, Woyome’s consultant, Albert Essamuah Associates Limited, now claiming to have been appointed as the government’s consultants (and we are yet to see evidence of any such appointment), wrote to the Chief of Staff demanding the latter “to issue an urgent directive from your august office, to SSNIT through its Board Chairman, to take up the 24 per cent stakeholding of the Government of Ghana in the Project SEZ on behalf of the people of Ghana.” This letter also revealed that “when the construction of the Port commences the value will escalate to over $25 billion,” it further explained.

Although this letter was disingenuously silent about the value of the alleged 24 per cent stake that SSNIT was to be directed to acquire, what is apparent is that either SSNIT or the government was expected by Woyome to fork out a colossal 24 per cent of $25 billion ($6 billion) for that acquisition,” the group pointed out in the release.

The group indicates further that, what Dr. Duffuor had clearly stated as an “in principle acceptance” with several approval conditions was, after the illegal Framework Agreement was signed between Woyome and Dzifa Attivor, being represented to the Chief of Staff as a firm commitment to acquire a 24 per cent stake in the phantom project.

“We are satisfied to note that the Chief of Staff asked for a legal opinion from the Attorney-General, not on whether or not Ghana had committed to acquire that 24 per cent stake (which would be false), but on whether the government could issue the directive to SSNIT as demanded by Woyome,” the group said.

“We call on the government to declare publicly that it is not bound by this illegal Framework Agreement. We call on the government to publicly renounce and repudiate that document, as well as all other steps that have been taken on the back of it. We call on SSNIT not to consider, even for a moment, to use the pension funds of Ghanaians to fund this latest Woyome project,” they demanded.

Pamela Ofori-Boateng

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