Red flags are going off in Ghana’s aviation industry as Daniel McKorley (McDan), the CEO of McDan Aviation recently outdoored his US$ 30 million Bombardier Challenger 604 jetliner, despite owing some GHC 37 million to several state institutions.
This has sparked wild speculations that the jetliner may be a front for his friends at the Jubilee House. McDan is a close buddy to Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the notorious cousin of President Akufo Addo. He is also close to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta who is incidentally another close family member of President Akufo Addo.
Indeed, the First Family reportedly visits McDan in his home around Emmanuel Eye clinic in East Legon. He once remarked that “Gabby has told me that I will be a fool not to capture Ghana Cocoa Board”. His close relations with the President and Gabby is alleged to be responsible for his appointment to the board of the Ghana Trade Fair Company.
The fact that aircraft was registered in a tax haven on the Isle of Man under suspicious circumstances had given some credence to the speculations that he could be fronting for some of his powerful friends in the questionable transportation services that the new aircraft would be used for.
Even more profound reports of his businesses being neck-deep in debts to state organisations. McDan has reportedly been complaining that his inability to settle his debt obligations is due to the COVID-19 pandemic that had hit his businesses hard.
The aircraft bought by McDan cost an estimated US$ 30 million apiece and only one is currently in Ghana. But GACL insiders tell Whatsup News that McDan had indicated that there is a second jet on its way.
McDan’s first aircraft with serial number 5319 was registered in the Isle of Man, a notorious tax haven in the British islands where politicians, business tycoons and drug cartels register their business interests to escape tax regimes in their countries and to launder money.
The Isle of Man is a known money-laundering haven raising questions about why he would choose such a destination to register his aircraft.
Being a tax haven, the Isle of Man also allows registered interest on the island to hide the true owners, which makes it a favourite centre for politicians seeking to hide their amassed wealth from their home countries.
When Whatsup News run a trace on the aircraft, it revealed that it initially had a tail identification of “M-Look” and was under the ownership of the UK-based aerospace company Kessington Limited. But around late August 2021, the aircraft was flown to Farmborough in the UK-a popular aircraft servicing centre.
On August 23, 2021, the aircraft which had now been given a new tail number “MCDAN” was spotted by aircraft tracking systems doing several hops to Bournemouth, Guernsey and Isle of Man in what is believed to have been part of its registration process.
It finally arrived in Accra on September 7, 2021, from Zurich and by September 13, 2021, it had already started flying to Cape Verde and the USA.
Meanwhile McDan, through his shipping line, MacDan Shipping owes the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) some GHC 10 million when the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, in 2017, sole-sourced a questionable contract for him at the COCOBOD.
Also, McDan whom the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) had contentiously handed him lease agreement for a sizeable part of the Terminal 1 of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to operate a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) has been cited by reports debts reportedly totalling some GACL some GHC 18 million for several years in rent and fees.
Investigations by Whatsup News into these debt reveals that since 2019 when the KIA Terminal 1 was handed over to him, his company had accumulated unpaid rent totalling GHC2,130,798.67; Concession Fee of GHC 3, 889,816.7 and Premium For Freight Forwarders Office at GHC 2,116,640.63.
Other debt includes the non-payment of some GHC 360,000 on Logistics Centre/Warehouse at the Counter enclave and Land allocation at Spintex GHC: 168,850.00. Additionally, he owes the GACL some GHC 18 million.
McDan is also reportedly involved in a tussle with the defunct Republic Bank over the repayment of over GHC 3,000,000.
Inside sources have told Whatsup News that McDan has close business relationships with Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, the notorious cousin of President Akufo Addo, and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta who is incidentally a nephew to the President.
A few months ago, Whatsup News had contacted Dr. McKorley about his reported debt problem, but he simply, said the reports were not true, and that Whatsup News should “investigate well”.
“Please it’s not true. Investigate well. I’m just a tenant there and paying rent? When will we learn to appreciate our own?” He queried
He later went on to play the victim, saying “Do you think if it’s a foreigner renting that terminal all this will go on? When will we get the opportunity to control our own country? I have worked at the airport for 30yrs. I started as a messenger,” he lamented to Whatsup News.
However, when he was contacted a few days ago after his new aircraft was publicised in the state-owned Daily Graphic, Whatsup News reached out to him once more to bring some clarity to the ongoing speculations, but he ignored our inquiry.