Kufuor Runs From Family’s Hidden Cash

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..To Attack Mahama

News Desk Report

Former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, on Wednesday cleverly fled from discussing his links to the brewing international scandal – “Panama Papers” which has revealed his family, has stashed away some money in Panama by saying Ghana will totally collapse, if President John Mahama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC), are retained at November 7, polls.

He spent time to extol his own virtues and showered praises upon himself for his 8-year rule, while speaking at his Airport West residence in Accra, when the newly elected NPP MP for Abuakwa North, paid a courtesy call on him.

Ex-President Kufuor, whose son; John Addo Kufuor and wife Teresa Kufuor, have been mentioned in connection with the leaked documents, was speaking for the first time since the scandal broke, which has captured the attention of the international media, including the CNN, BBC, Aljazeera and others.

He accused President Mahama and the NDC of dishonesty for saying not much was achieved in the Volta Region under his 8-year regime, cleverly skipping the secret financial dealings, which his family has been connected to.

This is not the first time that one of his children, have been linked to a facility with claims of impropriety. In 2005, Chief Kufuor, another of his sons, purchased a huge property in front of the Kufuor family house at the Airport Residential Area in Accra from Anthony Saoud, a business tycoon, sparking the famous “Hotel De Kufuor” scandal.

Ms. Gizelle Yazji, an Iraqi–American mistress of then President Kufuor, was later to announce that she was sent by him to negotiate for the purchase of the property now bearing the name “The African Regent Hotel”– a 4-star rated 109-room hotel according to its managers.

US$3.5 million was mentioned then as the price the facility was sold to the Kufuor family.

The Ghanaian-born Lebanese Anthony Saoud, was later to build Hotel Robin Hood Inn off the Spintext Road in Accra. He used to be in the timber business in Kumasi- Saoud Timber Company Limited-, and had known Mr. Kufuor, long before he became president.

The comment by ex-President Kufuor, was as though seeking to divert people’s attention or provoking the NDC’s reaction to attract his party; the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) sympathy and defense, thus getting people to forget about the Panama Papers.

The Panamanian firm, Mossack Fonseca, at the centre of huge data leak, exposing the financial secrets of dozens of the world’s elite. The leaked documents, known now as the Panama Papers, mentions the eldest son of former President Kufuor – John Addo Kufuor, as the chief operative in a scheme controlling thousands of dollars with his mother, Theresa Kufuor, as one of the known beneficiaries.

According to the report, in early 2001, shortly after the start of his father’s first presidential term, Kufuor, appointed Mossack Fonseca to manage The Excel 2000 Trust. Later that year, it controlled a bank account in Panama worth $75,000.

In November 2010, an employee of Mossack Fonseca’s compliance office in the British Virgin Islands, suggested to colleagues that, “due to the apparent prevalence of corruption, surrounding Mr. Kufuor we would not recommend us taking him on as a client or continuing business with him.”

It has also been revealed that, companies been operated by young Kufuor, became inactive in 2004 and 2007, both times when Ghana was preparing for elections.

In 2012, Kufuor Jnr. asked Mossack Fonseca to close the trust. Files also connected Kufuor with BVI companies, Fordiant Ltd and Stamford International Investments Group Limited. Both were registered when Kufuor’s father was president of Ghana and became inactive in 2004 and 2007. Mr. Kufuor, did not respond to repeated requests for comment, when investigators spoke to him.

Throughout 2005, local media in Ghana, reported allegations that the former president gained lucrative government contracts, and private sector business deals through paternal connections.

An official commission, later found no evidence of wrongdoing despite revelations by his then party chairman Haruna Esseku that Mr. Kufuor was collecting kickbacks from contractors pocketing some and giving some for the running of the NPP.

Mr. Kufour, said since the beginning of multi-party democracy in1992, the NDC, has had the lion’s share, as far as governance is concerned, but anytime they are given the mandate, life in the country becomes unbearable.

“When we got the chance, there was real development, not the kids’ movies NDC is showing to people now,” he said.

“We are not blowing our own trumpet,” he said, adding that unlike NPP era, when Ghanaians living abroad had the desire to come home and work, “this time it’s different; they don’t want to come home.”

He accused the NDC of squandering money meant for the development of the Volta Region, particularly in their handling of the Keta Sea Defense Project.

“They claim we did nothing in the Volta Region. Let’s start from Keta. The money they acquired for the sea defense wall, they squandered it. It was during my tenure that we constructed the wall.”

He also drew attention to his government’s construction of the Ho Polytechnic and roads from Nkonya through to Dambai.

“Ho Polytechnic was virtually built by us. Even the University of Ghana envies this school. Go to Nkonya through to Dambai. We constructed all those roads in the first term of the NPP.”

The former President, also bemoaned Ghana’s return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to the government’s mismanagement of the economy.

“In three years, we were able to take Ghana from the IMF. Now we are back here again…During my tenure, Ghanaians abroad always wanted to come back home but this is no longer the case.”

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