On November 19, 2020, the Ghanaian Parliament was arm-twisted into rescinding its decision after it had approved a US$100 million contract between the Government of Ghana and Chinese company, Beijing Everywhere Traffic & Lighting Tech. Co for an “Intelligent Traffic Management Project” in Accra.
The U-turn of Parliament is influenced by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta and the Jubilee House for a yet, unknown reason.
The original deal which was signed in 2018, was between the government of Ghana and Beijing Everywhere Traffic & Lighting Tech. Co was hacked off and given to another Chinese company, Huawei-notorious for helping the communist government of China mount invasive surveillance systems on its citizens.
The local operations of Huawei are reportedly linked to certain individuals close to the Presidency.
The contract is a curious plan to install surveillance cameras dubbed “Intelligent Traffic Management system” across Accra. The contract started as far back as 2012 and was reaffirmed in 2018 by the Akufo Addo administration and the Ghanaian Parliament in 2018 and 2019.
On November 19, 2020, the Clerk to Parliament, Cyril K.O Nsiah confirmed the abrogation of the contract. A letter from the Parliamentary Service stated: “This Honourable House rescinds its decision taken on the 22nd December 2018 in respect of the approval of the Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana…and the Beijing Everywhere Traffic & Lighting Tech Co. Ltd…for Engineering, Procurement, Installation and Commissioning of the Accra Metropolitan Area Intelligent Traffic Management Project….”
However, over a year later, on September 28, 2020, when Ken Ofori-Atta wrote to the China Development Bank (CDB) communicating the Akufo Addo government’s decision to insert a Huawei Technologies into the mix and move the mandate of the project into the territory of National Security, the Finance Minister curiously maintained the project cost at US$100 million.
His September 28, 2020 letter was based on an approval he and the National Security Minister had received from the Jubilee House, which also maintained the project cost at US$100 million.
On July 2, 2020, the Nana Asante Bediatuo, the Executive Secretary to President Akufo Addo wrote “ The President has granted executive approval for the Commercial Contract of the Accra Metropolitan Area ICT-Enhanced Traffic Management Project, for an amount of One Hundred Million United States Dollars (US$100,000,000.00), between the Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Ghana and Huawei Technologies Co., Limited (Huawei) and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC), to replace a pending 2012 contract meant to execute a similar project between the Republic of Ghana, acting through the Ministry of Roads and Highways and Beijing Everyway Traffic & Lighting Tech Co., Limited of China.”
Afterwards, Ken Ofori-Atta communicated the insertion of Huawei into the project to the General Manager of CDB, Mr. Zhang Yifan. He wrote: “Referring to the above subject with respect to your letter of March 3, 2020, an Executive Approval has been obtained from the Presidency to change the Owner and EPC contractor of the Accra Metropolitan Area ICT-Enhanced Traffic Management Project from Ministry of Roads and Highways and Beijing Everywhere Traffic & Lighting Tech. Co., Limited to the Ministry of National Security and Huawei Technologies Co. Limited (Huawei) and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC).”
The antics of the Akufo Addo administration in this deal has already triggered questions in Ghana’s legislature.
This is not the first time the Akufo Addo administration had used Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta as a conduit for varying existing contracts in suspicious circumstances that had turned out to have personally benefitted the family and friends of the President.
Similar antics had played out in Ken Ofori-Atta’s failed attempt to capture the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG0 through the fraudulent PDS deal.
Also, the insertion of Quad Energy into the controversial Aker Energy deal was one episode that turned out that owners of Quad Energy were lackeys of Ken Ofori-Atta.
Another similar move was with the Exxon Mobil deal in the rich offshore crude oil fields where the Akufo Addo administration suddenly kicked out Griffon Energy Africa Limited (“Griffon”) owned by Ghanaian mining tycoon, Sir Sam Jonah, and inserted GOIL into the mix.
As it turned out, GOIL’s shareholders include Ken Ofori-Atta, through his private companies, Databank Asset Management Services Ltd and the pension fund Elac Policy Holders Fund.
The latest botched economic coup d’etat was the Agyapa Royalties deal where Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has stated unequivocally that Ken Ofori-Atta fraudulently inserted himself through his Databank Financial Services in a deal that would have ceded control of Ghana’s mineral royalties worth over US$ 2.5 billion.