A Nigeria-based Civil Society Organization, Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET), is asking federal authorities to revisit allegations of various financial crimes against Benedict Peters, the man who owns the Frontiers Healthcare services.
Mr. Peters’ Frontier is the company responsible for the dubious COVID-19 test at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) that forces inbound travellers to cough up US$150 each for the test.
Frontier gets to keep about US$ 135 of the fees and shares less US$15 per traveller among three government agencies, despite the tests using resources owned by the agencies: the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), the Ghana Health Services (GHS) and the Noguchi Memorial Medical Research Centres.
In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/239/2021 and filed at the Federal High Court, the CSO Equity and Transparency (CESJET), stated that it had on 15th February 2021 written a petition to the EFCC urging it to revisit the allegations of various economic crimes against Mr. Benedict Peters within seven working days to bring him to book.
The petition was to satisfy the legal requirement that specific demand for the performance of statutory duty must be made on a government agency such as EFCC before the Writ of Mandamus can lie against it,” reports Sunnewsonline.
The petitioners explained that they decided to approach the court, “at this time on the consolation that nobody, no matter how highly placed, is above the law and there is no limitation to criminal prosecution in Nigeria”.
Benedict Peters who is also the Chairman of the Aiteo Group of Companies comprising Aiteo Eastern E & P Company Ltd, Aiteo Energy Limited and Aiteo Energy Resources Ltd, has long been reported to be a fugitive from the law in Nigeria, his home country.
Since 2014 Peters has been accused of crimes ranging from conspiracy to commit fraud, tax evasion, corruption, and money laundering using his Aiteo Group of Companies.
On February 28, 2020, the Abuja division of the Federal High Court was asked to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately arrest and prosecute him.
Incidentally, it was at this same time that he was hired by the Akufo-Addo government hired his company, Frontiers Healthcare Services Limited to sell COVID-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport at a prohibitive US$150 per test.
The high price tag was a source of protest and controversy in the country but the Akufo-Addo government kept the contract on until the ECOWAS Commission announced in 2021 that it wants all member countries to implement a uniform price per test of US$50.
Interestingly, the discovery of the ultimate owner of Frontiers was made by the Ghanaian media as there appeared to have been efforts to keep that information away from the public.
Frontiers, as it was discovered, was at the end of a convoluted ownership structure designed to throw prying eyes off the trail.
For instance, Healthcare Solution Services Limited (HSSL) which was incorporated on June 3, 2020, is wholly owned by another company called The Peters Family Company Ltd incorporated in Dominica.
Suspiciously, Frontier Healthcare Services owned by HSSL was also incorporated in Ghana around the same time (on July 21, 2020) – just 40 days before President Akufo-Addo opened the air borders on 1st September with the conditionality that all travelers into and out of Ghana must have a coronavirus test.
Following the 2020 elections, the Appointments Committee of Parliament has been trying to find out the Ministers who signed the Frontiers contract. But strangely, every Minister interviewed has said he does not know who signed that contract.
Apparently, the contract was signed between Frontier and Yaw Kwakwa, the GACL Managing Director who has been cited for massive corruption.