A business mogul who is also a major financier of President Akufo-Addo’s election campaigns, Mr Kwabena Boateng Aidoo, investigations by The aL-hAJJ revealed, was the brain behind the importation of the controversial nine million dollar specialized armor-plated vehicles for Ghana’s Presidency.
Mr Boateng Aidoo, The aL-hAJJ’s finding uncovered, owns a number of businesses and, has been executing government of Ghana contracts since 2005. Most of these contracts were later to become subject of investigations due to their questionable nature.
Those who know him say “although he is a well-known financier of the ruling New Patriotic Party, he maneuvered to be in the good books of Mills and Mahama administrations.”
According to sources at the Flag Staff House, contrary to claims by officials and communicators of government that they have no hand in the purchase and importation of the said vehicles, “the request to purchase the vehicles was indeed made by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta on behalf of the then President-elect, Akufo-Addo, who had already been “sold” the idea by Mr Aidoo”.
The source further disclosed that the now National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, then NPP member on the transition team in charge of security, and Ken Ofori Atta were both tasked to liaise with the outgoing Mahama government, which had agreed to the request in principle-in implementing the deal.
This subsequently led to the award of the contract for the importation of the vehicles to one of Mr Aidoo’s company “since he has been a financier of the NPP and will work in the best interest of the NPP by importing vehicles that will suit the specification of government,” the source disclosed.
Aside Mr Aidoo’s dalliance with the NPP, the business magnate, The aL-hAJJ has also gathered, has had a good working relationship with the Kufour and former National Democratic Congress administrations which earned two of his companies and other affiliates major contracts. Apex Consulting Services and Santa Baron Ventures Limited, both companies belonging to Mr. Aidoo won several contracts during the Kufuor, Mills and Mahama administrations.
Mr. Aidoo’s Apex Consulting Services and Santa Baron Ventures Limited, our investigation revealed, are noted for impropriety in their previous dealings with past governments, hence the brouhaha surrounding the purchase of these specialized vehicles by one of his affiliate companies, a source at the seat of government told The aL-hAJJ.
“Most of the contracts he did under the previous Kufuor and NDC administrations generated lots of controversies over alleged exploitation. Some were related to wrongful payments, breach of contracts, importation of expired chemicals etc.,” the source noted.
In February 2013, a committee setup by then Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, found Mr Aidoo’s company, Santa Baron Ventures Limited, guilty of importing expired 12,000 metric tons of Aluminum Sulphate (alum) for water treatment by Ghana Water Company Limited and Ghana Urban Water Limited.
This was after Mr Aidoo vehemently denied his company imported expired alum for GWCL. “I drink Ghana water so do the President and all Ghanaians, I will not do anything or import expired chemicals to cause mayhem in the country. I promise Ghanaians that, all our chemicals supply to the GWCL are authentic. We are ready to prove with documents if the government set up any committee and invite us for query,” he stated.
Ahead of the 2016 elections, the semi-mouthpiece of then opposition New Patriotic Party, The New Statesman, reported that Mr Kwabena Boateng Aidoo’s company, Santa Baron Ventures Limited was embroiled in another scandal relating to “contract for the improvement of Ghana’s Security Infrastructure Request”. The contract was valued at a huge Two Hundred and Ninety-Seven million Four Hundred and Seventy-Five Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty-Eight dollars (US$297,475,628.00).
The contract, according to The New Statesman, was ostensibly for the supply of “various security equipment, surveillance systems, software and technical training…” The shipment date for the said goods was stated as November 30, 2016, with China, Dubai, South Africa, USA, UK and Hungary, stated as countries of origin.
The New Statesman quoted sources at the Interior Minister to have said “there is no basis for this contract, and we know that it would definitely be a prime case for criminal investigations if there is a change of government this (2016) year. It is reckless, heartless and totally irresponsible.”
In 2007, another company belonging to Mr Aidoo, Apex Consulting Services, was also caught in a GH¢602,209.50 scandal leading to the Mills government paying over GH¢2.8million in a judgment debt settlement in 2009 to NDK Financial Services.
It will be recalled that, in December 2005 Apex Consulting Services won a bid to supply 5310 pairs of combat boots for the Ghana Prisons Services (GPS) at a total cost of GH¢308,378.25.
To cover the cost of procuring the boots, Apex applied for a loan of GH¢128,236.50 (¢1,282,365,000) from NDK in January, 2006 using letters of guarantee from GPS and Ministry of Finance. The GPS’s guarantee letter stated that, payment for the boots will be in the joint names of NDK and Apex. The guarantee was made under the condition that GPS would pay the contract sum of GH¢308,378 in the joint names of NDK Financial Services and Apex.
However, following GPS’s rejection of the goods delivered by Apex, citing substandard, Apex was reported to have defaulted in the repayment of its loan as arranged. Unable to recover its loan, NDK then sued both Apex and GPS, praying the Court to order the payment of GH¢602,609.50, being the purported balance on the loan as of June 30, 2007, interest at the rate of 5% per month and additional costs. The court upheld NDK’s application. The GH¢602,209.50, which later skyrocketed to GH¢ 2,800,000.00 (¢28 billion), was subsequently paid to NDK in what was said to be “a very suspicious manner”, raising questions of impropriety.
But, sources at the seat of government told this paper that, while government is yet to identify any impropriety with regards to the importation of the now ballooned 55 specialized presidential fleet, President Akufo-Addo’s order of “no more purchase of new vehicles for MDAs” is what is making it difficult for the NPP government to take possession of the vehicles, which are currently stuck in Dubai.
Another source told this paper “it will be a stab in the back if the Akufo-Addo government does not accept the vehicles because Mr Aidoo has long been one of us, and rejecting the vehicles means we are being ungrateful…this is not how to pay him back after all the things he did for us to win power.”
There are reports that soon after the NPP’s victory; Mr Aidoo sponsored some leading members of the ruling party, including Sammy Awuku, Anthony Karbo, Hopeson Adorye, and Perry Okudzeto among others to Dubai for vacation.
He is also alleged to have bought a brand new V8 and a saloon car for an award-winning radio morning show host in Accra and his wife.