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EX-SHC MD FOR COURT: ON $1.6M ROBBERY CHARGE

General News

Information available to the Daily Statesman indicates that Mark Ankrah, a former managing director (MD) of State Housing Company Ltd (SHC), will be hauled before the courts soon to face charges of financial malfeasance.

Information available to the Daily Statesman indicates that Mark Ankrah, a former managing director (MD) of State Housing Company Ltd (SHC), will be hauled before the courts soon to face charges of financial malfeasance.

A report by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) suggests that Dr Ankrah stole US$1.6 million. He also faces accusations of causing financial loss to the state and of being involved in money-laundering.

Likely to join him to face charges of stealing and money-laundering is Ali Olmez, managing director of Proteus Company Ltd.

Unilateral decision

The BNI report says that Dr Ankrah contracted Proteus to secure a loan of $2.6m to develop residential apartments in Adenta, a suburb of Accra.

Dr Ankrah is reported to have issued, unilaterally and without board approval, two corporate guarantee agreements (CGAs) on behalf of SHC for Proteus to raise the loan from Eoliem, a consulting firm believed to be based in Dubai.

SHC and Proteus, the report says, signed two corporate guarantee agreements before the CGAs were issued. The deal was that $1m would be used to develop 28 housing units, while $1.6m would cater for 32 separate units.

The BNI concludes that Dr Ankrah’s decision not to seek board approval for the loan guarantee was a deliberate act to avoid scrutiny, especially from certain critical members.

No apartments

The report adds that while there seems to be some housing units to show for the $1m, the 32 flats for which the $1.6m was secured cannot be traced at the site.

Dr Ankrah reportedly claimed that the $1.6m was used for what he describes as a “sister project”. However, the report states there is no evidence available to support the execution of the so-called sister project.

What the evidence shows is that “sister project” refers to a 40-unit block which SHC self-financed and for which it hired Proteus to work as a contractor. Two construction agreements were signed in respect of this project, both dated April 10, 2013.

Dubious account

It was also found that Dr Ankrah and Proteus deliberately ignored a clause in the corporate guarantee agreement to establish a joint-mandate account for the transaction.

Instead, the entire $2.6m was wired through the accounts of Proteus at UMB and UBA banks, which have Ali Olmez, managing director of the firm, as sole signatory. This ostensibly was to avoid any audit trail at SHC.

BNI’s investigations could not confirm the identity of any representative of Eoliem in Ghana or Dubai. Information seen by the Daily Statesman however suggests that the $2.6m loan facility was transferred from Julius Bär bank in Switzerland on Eoliem’s instructions.

The suspicion is that Eoliem is an oil company run by Dr Ankrah and Ali Olmez or people known to them.

Going through the accounts of Proteus at UMB, the BNI reportedly found that monies were transferred in bulk outside the country after the $1.6m was lodged on March 31, 2014.

Shady transfers

On August 11, 2014, Proteus also wrote to inform SHC about the sale of some apartments, four of them with two bedrooms and another four of three bedrooms each, at Little London in Accra. Ali Olmez gave an SHC account at ADB (a pounds sterling account) into which the sum of £353,448 was paid for the properties.

On the same day as the money was lodged, Dr Ankrah reportedly authorised the transfer of the said amount into a dollar account held by Proteus Ltd at UBA.

Again, four months later, on December 29, Proteus notified SHC about the sale of an apartment to one Faustina Amanor at the cost of $113,037.50.

In all these instances, it was expected that the proceeds would be repaid to the lender or lodged in the joint-mandate account. Proteus failed to do so. SHC, for its part, did not bother to ensure safekeeping of the monies.