…. President family & its Nigerian friend cited
The Herald, has been digging around the recent fracas between leadership of the staff union of the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) during which board chairman, Paul Adom-Otchere, was warned to stay clear off the Managing Director (MD) Pamela Djamson-Tettey or regret his tenure as the most painful period in his life.
It has emerged that, deeply buried behind the quarrel is a deal in which a Nigerian-owned company is being given out prime state land in the name of Ghana Airports for pittance.
In spite of two valuation reports against a counter offer on the land transaction, the GACL board chair and the Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, are leaving no stone unturned to give out the land to Heaven Builders Limited, who are to be anchor holders and will be leasing the prime lands to private developers.
The Herald’s sources at the Presidency, have revealed Heaven Builders Limited, as owned by Benedict Peters, the owner of Frontier Healthcare Services Limited which deployed a COVID-19 testing facility at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) at the heat of the pandemic, and turned out to be the most expensive testing mechanism in the world.
Benedict Peters, a Nigerian national, very connected to the Akufo-Addo family, has sought to use his connections to bulldoze his way for access to KIA’s juicy land. This has sparked anger amongst workers of GACL and also left the management board led by Mr Adom-Otchere divided.
The Board of directors are; Paul Adom-Otchere, Pamela Djamson–Tettey, Teye Adjirackor, Kwabena Mantey Jectey Nyarko, Philomena Sam, Francis Kofi Nunoo, Grp. Capt. Gervase Wienaa, Kwabena Yeboah and Kodwo Egyir-Danso.
Late August this year, the workers’ union, agitated over reports that, the board Chair is instigating the removal of their MD, Mrs. Djamson-Tettey, because she had refused to cooperate in taking some decisions they believe are inimical to the progress of the organisation.
While, a few greedy members of the board are in favour of the release of the land to Heaven Builders, at the price the Nigerian-owned company wants, many others are against it, despite various financial inducements running into hundreds of thousands of US dollars being thrown at them.
One board member, was said to have been promised some US$4 million to consent to the transaction. Other state officials, are also to get parts of the land in addition to money if they consented to the transaction from Heaven Builders.
Even the workers union, were said to have several times been summoned into meetings with Heaven Builders Limited, but they rejected the monetary inducements.
The Herald’s information is that, shortly after winning a bid, Heaven Builders Limited, made a counter proposal rejecting everything upon receipt of GACL’s terms and conditions.
In their counter term, Heaven Builders, among other things, wanted more lands – 62.14 acres for the amount of US$85 million, exempted from paying ground rent, royalties, and refused to have their books reviewed. This led to a standoff between Heaven Builders and GACL, forcing the latter to consult the Ghana Institution of Engineers.
The Ghana Institution of Engineers, which is the professional body responsible for licensing practicing engineers in Ghana after their review, recommended the release of 39.3 acres GACL for US$85 million, but Heaven Builders refused, insisting on 62.14 acres at the price of US$85 million.
Mrs. Djamson-Tettey, according to insiders, further wrote to another company; Brightwater Properties Investment (BPI) , to carry out another valuation. She submitted the GACL valuation, that of Ghana Institute of Engineers, as well as a counter proposal from the Heaven Builders Limited to BWPI for an independent analysis.
The report came out, saying Heaven Builders Limited should rather get 40 acres for US$85 million. They made some other recommendations which supported the position of the GACL and Institute of Engineers.
Despite these, the MD was pressured to sign the document releasing the land to the Nigerian company based on the 62.14 and at US$85 million, but she refused. Not long after, she was said to have received a call from the Ministry of Transport, threatening her with dismissal.
The Herald is informed that, the GACL MD, told the caller in the face that she was rather on her way to the Ministry with her resignation letter to leave the company, because she was not ready to fleece the country.
Interestingly, she was told to hold on with her resignation until the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was on a trip abroad, returns to Ghana.
The overwhelmed MD, is said to have indicated to the Ministry’s person that she was ready to leave the institution in December when she turns 60 years. She doesn’t want to spend a day more as the MD of Ghana Airport.
The ruling family through the ministry, is said to be waiting and scheming for her to leave in December this year, to enable lands to be given to Heaven Builders Limited on the counter terms described as disadvantageous to the country.
Heaven Builders Limited is supposed to take charge of the land and act as anchor developers leasing out the lands to private companies intending to put up facilities like hotels, banks among others near the airport. They will assume ownership of the land and act as landlords and go into special arrangements with the private developers.
The Herald was informed about how Tony Lithur and others, desperately fought encroachers off the 272-acre airport land. His board moved on to secure a land title to have it preserved for the state for future development. However, the Akufo-Addo family, has other motives for it and rooting their motivation through their Nigerian friend; Benedict Peters.
Out of the 272-acres, 92 acres remain undeveloped. The Tony Lithur-led board had vested the land in the name of the state and got it leased to GACL for 99 years.
Ghana airports wants to give out 38.41 acres of the land to anchor holders at US$85 million for a 45-year period, but the influential Heaven Builders insisted on having 62.14 acres for a 99-year period in its counter proposal which analysts have described as inimical to the interest of the country.
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu Constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has waded into the matter and accused the President and the Minister for Finance of granting approval for the transaction led by the GACL in deal on the blindside of parliament.
“On the blind side of Parliament and the Ghanaian people, President Akufo-Addo and Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta have granted approval for our prime airport lands to be handed over under the most shady of circumstances to a company known as Heaven Builders Limited,” he alleged.
He revealed that Mrs Djamson-Tettey in 2022, through a correspondence with the Managing Director of Heaven Builders, offered some 38.14 acres of the said land at a total cost of US$85,021,340.00.
“In an outrageous sweetheart deal, the GACL assures Heaven Builders that they will become owners of 38.14 acres of prime airport land in the immediate environs of the Kotoka International Airport under the Airport City Phase 2 Project, if they agree to carry out some dubious infrastructure such as roads and drains at a so-called cost of US$85,021,340.00.
“It is most instructive that the offer letter does not provide any independent verification mechanism for really assessing that any claim by Heaven Builders that they have invested US$85million in infrastructure is indeed accurate,” he stated.
The MP noted that the deal strangely failed to disclose how the supposed infrastructure cost was arrived at and that it is more shocking that the GACL would not be allowed to raise its own funding for the supposed development.
Beyond the initial deal, Mr Ablakwa as part of documents shared in his exposé, said the private company has gone ahead to make a counteroffer demanding for double the initial offer for a similar consideration.
“Ghanaians would be more devastated to know that because this is a behind the scenes sleazy sweetheart deal, Heaven Builders have made a counteroffer in a letter dated 23rd January, 2023 signed by Frank Owiredu-Affum, a Director, where they demand more land.
“Heaven Builders is now asking for a massive 62.14 acres for the same consideration. This is almost double what they were initially offered. They are also demanding that the lease period be extended from 45 years to 99 years,” he stated.
While pegging the current commercial value of a land around the Airport enclave at an average of US$4 million per acre, Mr Ablakwa noted that the offer given to Heaven Builders gives the company the chance of making in excess of US$152million profit at the expense of the state.
He also revealed that the situation around the deal has led to a sharp division within the management of GACL with some managers opposing the deal while others are vehemently pushing the deal through.
According to the MP, the managing director of GACL at one point was threatened with dismissal over accusations of attempting to slow down the deal.
He stressed that the minority in parliament will demand an inquiry into the deal and thus warned officials involved in the matter to ready themselves to answer for their roles and actions.
According to the North Tongu MP, Heaven Builders Limited, according to its incorporation documents and insider sources, is being fronted by individuals integral to the “infamous” Frontiers Airport COVID-19 testing company.
“…deep throat unimpeachable sources within the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration have revealed to me that the same ‘lootocratic’ brigands who were behind the infamous Frontiers COVID-19 Airport testing heist are the same promoters of this unconscionable airport land grab.
“The unholy Frontiers-Heaven Builders connection cannot be dismissed as mere conspiracy theory when a careful study of the incorporation documents of both companies reveal that both companies have the same witness in the person of Edward Charles Appiah with the same address. (Frontiers incorporation document is duly attached).
“I shall return to other modus operandi of this same Ghana/Nigeria “lootocratic” picaroons in later publications,” he alleged.
According to Okudzeto Ablakwa, Heaven Builders, which will likely walk away with some US$248.56 million if their proposal to acquire some 62.14 acres of prime land is approved, was acquired and taken over by its current managers on April 17, 2018.
The company, according to the MP, was incorporated with a stated capital of GH₵5,000 (five thousand Ghana Cedis) and an envisaged employee strength of one.
“Strangely, the stated capital for Heaven Builders Limited, which has been made an offer and allocation of prime Airport lands valued in excess of US$150 million, is a paltry GHS5,000.00 (Five Thousand Ghana Cedis).
“From the incorporation documents, Heaven Builders Limited indicates that it envisages to have only one (1) employee.
“With one employee, a stated capital of a measly GHS5,000 and absolutely no track record — President Akufo-Addo, Vice President Bawumia, Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta, and their collaborators at the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) believe Heaven Builders have the best capacity to be Anchor Developers and new owners of 62 acres of prime Airport land,” the MP noted.
Mr Ablakwa revealed that the proposed agreement by the GACL means Heaven Builders will become owners “of 38.14 acres of prime airport land in the immediate environs of the Kotoka International Airport under the Airport City Phase 2 Project if they agree to carry out some dubious infrastructure such as roads and drains at a so-called cost of US$85,021,340.00.”
He adds that the company has since written back to GACL with a counter proposal asking for the land size to be expanded to 62.14 acres under the same terms.
“For the avoidance of doubt and for better appreciation, the 93-acre prime land in issue is bounded on the west by the Airport by-pass road, on the south by the Airport road, on the north by a rail line, and east by the terminals 1 and 2 tarmac.
“Some prominent businesses and celebrated brands in the immediate vicinity of the giveaway prime land to Heaven Builders include Marriott Hotel, Holiday Inn, Accra Mall, Marina Mall, Head Offices of Stanbic, Vodafone, and Nestle,” he stated.
Mr Ablakwa, has further alleged that two survey firms, Brightwater Property Investment Limited and the Ghana Institution of Surveyors, have both disagreed with the terms of the counteroffer following independent assessment.
“I can also confirm today that two reputable independent professional entities have delivered reasoned professional assessments of the Heaven Builders deal to the GACL. They have both vehemently disagreed with the counteroffer of Heaven Builders, wherein they demand 62 acres.
“The two independent professional entities are Brightwater Property Investment Limited and the renowned Ghana Institution of Surveyors,” he stated.
According to the MP, both independent assessments described the valuation of the land as terribly low.
In the case of the Ghana Institute of Surveyors, a 1.7 acre of the land in question was sold for an excess of US$6.3million, as far back as 2019, although Heaven Builders pegged the current value of an acre of the land at US$1.3million on average.