Former President, John Agyekum Kufuor has been indicted in a recent release of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The expose reveals questionable circumstances under which the Kufuor government signed an agreement with a private foreign company for the development of the five-star Kempinski Hotel.
The leaked document showed that the Kufuor administration signed the agreement on the 15 February 2006 without seeking cabinet’s approval.
Under the accord, the government was to decommission the 300,000 meters square Racecourse Site for the project, while the Cascade Development Company and affiliates construct a five-star hotel, an office building, residential buildings and a shopping mall.
The private developers were also giving tax exemptions and a 50-year sublease on the Racecourse land, something that has been severely questioned by financial analysts, and anti-corruption campaigners.
Suspended chairperson of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Paul Afoko also allegedly received over half a million dollars for fronting as a “nominee director” for the offshore company.
In response to the allegations that President Kufuor and his government broke the law in committing the country to such an agreement arbitrarily, Former Chief of Staff under the Kufuor administration, Kojo Mpiani said, he signed the MOU after carefully considering the terms, and after assessing the seriousness of the Cascade Development Company.
John Kufuor, who was then the President of Ghana, gave an executive approval to the agreement afterward.
Mr. Mpiani explains that the deal didn’t go through cabinet approval because the president had the power to approve such agreements if he was satisfied with the details after review, which explains why the support contract sent to Parliament for approval was given executive approval.
The leaked confidential document from the office of the President dated 21 October 2008 says:
I refer to your request for executive approval on the above subject matter dated 14 October 2008. His Excellency the President has given Executive approval for the support agreement between Government of Ghana and Cascade Development Company for the development of a five-star hotel at the Accra Race Course.