The High Commissioner of Ghana to the United Kingdom (UK), has been reduced to tears over the attachment of the properties of the Government of Ghana in the country (UK) to be sold due to a failure to pay a US$140 million judgement debt owed GPGC, a subsidiary of international commodities company, Trafigura.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah, who served as Attorney General and Minister of Justice in the Kufuor administration, indicated that, so far, only one property of the Government of Ghana, has been attached, with the remaining being covered by diplomatic immunity.
The government is under intense pressure to cough up a US$140 million arbitral award, as Ghana’s assets in the UK, are targeted to defray a judgement debt owed Damian Duncan, a nephew of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Also in the loop for causing the judgment debt, is the President’s powerful younger brother, Edward ”Bumpty” Akufo-Addo, who has been very active in the energy sector with Glencore Ghana and a couple of Russian multinational energy companies, including Lukoil, Gazprom and Rosneft Oil Company.
Speaking in an interview on JoyNews on October 23, 2023, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, added that he is ashamed that the situation has gotten to this point, because the Government of Ghana is cash-strapped at the moment and is unable to pay its debt.
“As far as I am aware, it’s only Regina House which is used for commercial purposes because it’s been rented by the Ghana International Bank, two other banks, and another commercial entity. That is the one that has been attached. All other properties are diplomatic properties and covered by immunity. I heard you talk about the High Commissioner’s residence, but that’s being used for diplomatic purposes; likewise, the other building you’re talking about, that’s the chancery, has not been attached. But I am sure the government is taking steps to liquidate that debt.
“It’s embarrassing; I am embarrassed as High Commissioner for this thing to appear on the internet and everything and be a subject matter of discussion in Ghana and in the Ghanaian media here. It’s serious, but even for those in private business, it gets to a stage where you have to prioritize payments when you don’t have access to credit and the monies being generated do not meet your obligations, you prioritise,” he said.
The high commission, however, clarified that the Regina House would not be sold soon because it is currently on lease, and the creditor made the move to put pressure on the government of Ghana.
He assured that the Ministry of Finance is working tirelessly to ensure that an agreement is reached with the creditor so that no property of Ghana is sold.
But behind the $140 million judgement debt are the names of New Patriotic Party (NPP) stalwart, Fred Oware and Bumpty’s wife, with reports that the two had attempted to sell a parcel of land at East Legon to Damian Duncan, but the deal went bad, leading to a protracted police case in which Bumpty’s wife was arrested.