Some State Attorney’s at the Attorney General’s Department (AG) are reportedly having nostalgic reminisce about the sternness of former Attorney General Gloria Akuffo who had reportedly resisted attempts to use state structures to fleece the country as is being alleged in the latest US$170 million judgment debt saga.
Gloria Akufo is noted for standing her ground when Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta attempted to “fraudulently” short-change Ghana in the Agyapa Royalty deal.
Ms. Akuffo described the deal as “unconscionable” amidst strong disagreement with the champions of some aspects of the dubious deal that sought to vest Ghana’s entire mineral royalties in the hands of a few faceless private investors in the guise of “monetising” it.
Meanwhile, it is emerging that the biggest beneficiaries of the scandalous US$170 million Judgment debt against Ghana are family members of President Akufo Addo.
The comedy of errors by Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, the successor to Gloria Akufo and a group of international lawyers is reinforcing speculations that the exit of Ms. Akuffo has opened the floodgates of state capture from the using the resources of the AG’s department.
The gargantuan judgment debt to Ghana Power Generation Company (GPGC) reveals that the company is co-owned by President Akufo Addo’s direct nephew, Damian J. Duncan, who is the son of the President’s direct cousin-the 65-year-old Mrs. Adelaide Duncan Olagbaju.
Mrs. Olagbaju was destooled as Queen-mother of the Bekai Stool in Akwamufie under curious circumstances. Her stool name was Nana Asaa Safoa II and was known to have been close to President Akufo Addo’s mother, Adeline Akufo Addo.
Damian Duncan is the Country Representative of the company that the convenient negligence of the Godfred Dame caused the US$ 170 million judgment debt against Ghana.
The entire process leading to Ghana’s loss of US$170 million has been described as a clever orchestration by the kitchen cabinet of President Akufo Addo.
Documents from the London-based United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Tribunal which awarded the hefty judgment clearly show that Damian Duncan is a director of GCGP.
Documents presented to the court to help Ghana’s case were reportedly heavily redacted to make a win practically impossible for Ghana.
According to former Energy Minister, John Jinapor, when the GCGP was awarded the power plant contract in 2015 following the power crisis that hit the John Dramani Mahama administration, the company did not meet the needed condition precedent, forcing the John Mahama administration to negotiate a cancellation of the contract with the company.
A committee was reportedly set up to be chaired by then Energy Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkoh.
Eventually, both parties reportedly agreed that GCGP should be paid US$ 18 million as a settlement for the cancelled contract.
However, the Mahama administration was kicked out in 2016 and the Akufo Addo administration which took over power delegated Godfred Dame and the then-Attorney General Gloria Akufo to dig up the ghost of GCGP.
Consequently, the two, acting under the instruction of a cabinet chaired by President Akufo Addo unilaterally dismissed the settled case to pay GCGP US$ 18 million and “abrogated” the contract again without informing the Ghanaian parliament.
It was all done in a way that gave GCPC an impetus to announce that it will opt for arbitration.
The newly sworn-in Akufo Addo administration did not resist nor revert to the recommendations by the Dr. Donkoh committee to pay off GCPC with US$18 million. Rather, the government contracted London-based Omnia Strategy, a law firm owned by Cherie Blair CBE, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Whatsup News gathered that Omnia that advised the Akufo Addo administration to stand its ground and challenge GCGP in the arbitration court.
While these discussions were ongoing, Tony Blair had made frequent trips to Ghana on private missions and had had closed-door meetings with President Akufo Addo. The entire discussions between the two cannot be independently ascertained.
The tussle over the GCGP contract abrogation was happening in the background, Damian Duncans and the Akufo Addos have reportedly engaged in other deals together. Some turned sour while others resulted in mutual benefits, Whatsup News gathered.
Meanwhile, even though Omnia Strategy was the one that advised the Akufo Addo to head for international arbitration and was appointed as one of the government’s legal representatives, Omnia in collusion with Godfred Yeboah Dame practically abandoned the case at the UNCITRAL in what has reaffirmed suspicions that all along, they were not exactly committed to fighting for a better deal for Ghana at the arbitration court.
Consequently, on June 8, 2021, UNCITRAL awarded US$170 million in damages to Duncan’s GPGC.
Details from the proceedings indicate that after protracted foot-dragging, the court had granted the Ghanaian side a 28-day window to finalise their argument, however, Mrs. Blair’s law firm appeared at the UNCITRAL on Day 25 of the 28-day window and asked for an extension of 56 days. The court granted part of the days asked and set March 8, 2021, as the new deadline in what the court considered enough concession for the Ghanaian side.
However, on the deadline, the Attorney-General of Ghana and his expensive team of international lawyers refused to show up. They rather showed up on April Fool’s Day, citing COVID-19 as their excuse for failing to meet the deadline.
The judge in the case did not find this amusing and shut the door on their faces, describing their delay tactics as “significant and substantial” and that their excuse for failing to meet the deadline was “unreasonable and intrinsically weak”.
In pronouncing its verdict, the UNCITRA Tribunal slammed the impressive team of lawyers of the government of Ghana saying it had no sympathies for them in losing the case, and that the excuses proffered by AG Dame and his team were unreasonable and “intrinsically weak.”
The presiding judge, Justice Butcher said the Akufo Addo government’s delay was “significant and substantial”.