The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Okudzeto Ablakwa has petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to halt the sale of six Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) hotels to the Minister for Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong.

In a social media post, Okudzeto Ablakwa disclosed that he possesses documents indicating SSNIT’s advanced plans to sell a controlling 60% stake in the hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited, owned by the minister who doubles as the MP for Abetifi

The hotels mentioned in the transaction are Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel, Busua Beach Resort, and Trust Lodge Hotel.

Mr. Acheampong is reported to be the Director and the owner of Rock City Hotel Limited.

In his petition to CHRAJ, Mr. Okudzeto cited serious concerns including conflict of interest, abuse of power, lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism, and graft.

He emphasized violations of Articles 78(3) and 98(2) of the 1992 Constitution, highlighting that Mr. Acheampong has not received the necessary permission from the Speaker of Parliament to hold an office of profit, as confirmed by Parliament’s Committee on Office of Profit.

“Again, it is questionable how SSNIT arrived at its decision to divest 60% of its stake in the hotels within its investment portfolio when some of these hotels are extremely profitable.

“Labadi Beach Hotel, for instance, presented an impressive dividend of GHS25 million to SSNIT in 2023 for the 2022 fiscal year and GHS10 million to SSNIT in 2022 for the 2021 fiscal year.”

The petitioner also drew parallels to a 2008 case involving the late Hon. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, emphasizing the ethical implications of public officials acquiring state assets.

He questioned the rationale behind selling profitable SSNIT hotels and raised concerns about potential job losses should the sale proceed.

“The Petitioner has been consistent in drawing attention to the apparent conflict of interest. abuse of office and unethical conduct when Ministers of State elect to participate in the purchase of state assets being sold by their colleagues in the same government. This is the position canvassed by the petitioner when he and Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah took on Hon. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey in the courts when Hon. Obetsebi Lamptey applied to purchase his official bungalow some 16 years ago”

Okudzeto appealed to CHRAJ’s intervention to prevent what he described as an opaque and unethical transaction, urging Ghanaians to prioritize national interest over state capture.

“That CHRAJ launches a full-scale, impartial investigation into the imminent prospective sale to Hon. Bryan Acheampong of 60% shares of hotels within SNIT’s investment portfolio which raise fundamental concerns bothering on conflict of interest and abuse of power;

“That CHRAJ investigates SSNIT’s conduct and procurement processes regarding this matter, particularly with the view to unraveling what led to the numerous violations of due process and unfair treatment. Investigates the appropriateness and ethical concerns of Hon. Bryan Acheampong who is a director and the sole beneficial owner of Rock City Hotel Limited, to be selected as the sole prospective buyer of 60% of SSNIT’s stake in the hotels within its investment portfolio, albeit under opaque circumstances, by his colleagues in government who were all appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”

Source: Ghana/ Dede