Who Got STX $8 Million?

The New Statesman can exclusively reveal that the reason for which the Korean counterparts in the abortive STX housing project failed to show up on the November 24, 2011 at the Accra Commercial Court was because they considered the settlement package being offered to be “too small”. The paper is reliably informed that BK Asamoah, CEO of GKA Airports Company Limited, made a categorical settlement offer of $8 million dollars to the Korean counterparts which he hoped would bring an end to the impasse that had stalled the $1.5 billion housing project ever since it was approved by parliament. However, information available indicates the Koreans deem this amount to be derisory and are holding out for “double figures”. What seems to have infuriated the Koreans most was the payment plan for the proposed $8 million settlement package. According to our sources, BK Asamoah proposed that he pay off the Koreans by March 2012, a duration within which he may have secured new partners for the $1.5 billion housing project. Analysts have questioned the rationale behind the $8 million settlement package proposed by BK Asamoah and the counter request made by the Koreans as their stay inGhana has been relatively short “with nothing to show on the ground.” Analysts believe that the expenses incurred by the Koreans within this period cannot be more than $2.5 million leaving them to ask the question “who benefitted from the huge remainder of $5.5 million?” going by the $8 million offered by BK Asamoah. The Koreans could only have incurred expenditure on the following: rent for offices and accommodation; buying and or renting of vehicles; salaries of staff; travel arrangements for some Members of Parliament to visit Korea; legal fees; consultancy fees; and the cost of flight tickets travelling back and forth to Korea. Rent for their office space at Airport could not have been more than $4,000. Thus, assuming rent of $4,000 a month for a period of 20 months, considering the fact that the STX deal was approved in August 2010, the Koreans could paid not more than $80,000 as rent. The cost of renting accommodation at Trasacco, which is pegged at about $4,000 a month, is assumed as the benchmark accommodation the Koreans would opt for during their stay in Ghana. Thus assuming a total delegation of 10 Korean officials, each staying in a Trasacco apartment each for 20 months, $800,000 would be the amount spent on accommodation. Flight tickets and per diems for the parliamentary select committee on works and housing, made up of only four members, who travelled to Abu Dhabi, under the auspices of the Koreans, and ended up inspecting ships and not houses built by STX Korea, could not have exceeded $150,000. Vehicles purchased for use by the Koreans officials cost a further $500,000, it is assumed that is if a combination of 4x4 and saloon vehicles are purchased. Legal fees and consultancy fees, resulting from the brouhaha with the local partners, in Ghana would most likely not go beyond $300,000. Salaries of staff over the assumed 20 month period would also not exceed $500,000. Feeding and other related costs spanning the 20 month period could also not have exceeded $170,000. All in all, the Koreans could not have spent more than $2.5 million dollars in Ghana during this brief period. The huge remainder of $5.5 million is still unaccounted for as this could perhaps have served as a means of “chop chop” for officials who had a vested interest in seeing the fruition of this project. In a related development, the court yesterday put a repossession order on the house purchased by BK Asamoah located on the Spintex road. Mr Asamoah purchased the house for a total sum of $120,000, paying an initial deposit of $40,000. Mr Asamoah spent a whopping $150,000 to refurbish the house, neglecting the arrears of $80,000 he owed his landlord. The owner of the house took the matter to court and got the court to rule in his favour, obtaining a court order for the repossession of his house. Ironically, the man who brought a team to Ghana to build houses failed to build a house himself.