SSNIT on why it is selling 60% stake of four hotels to Rock City and says processes started in 2018
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SSNIT on why it is selling 60% stake of four hotels to Rock City and says processes started in 2018

The management of SSNIT in an explanation on why it is in a process to partner a strategic investor to raise capital to invest in its hotels, and also assist in their management has said, the Rock City Hotel Limited submitted the best and strongest technical and financial proposal among all the bids received.

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Bryan Acheampong the current Member of Parliament for Abetifi and Minister of Food and Agriculture is a director and beneficial owner of Rock City Hotel Limited, located at Kwahu in the Eastern Region.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu has questioned SSNIT's decision to partner Rock City.

He has subsequently gone to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) with a petition, to stop SSNIT from going ahead to partner Rock City.

Ablakwa's argument is that, Bryan Acheampong, as a minister of state, should not be allowed to use his Rock City Hotel to partner SSNIT.

It is his case that it is a matter that bothers on "conflict of interest, abuse of power, lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism, and graft." 

"I have also drawn attention to blatant violations of Article 78(3) and 98(2) of the 1992 Constitution as diligent checks from Parliament's Committee on Office of Profit reveal that Hon. Bryan Acheampong has not applied and does not have the permission of the Speaker of Parliament to hold an office of profit," Ablakwa alleged.

Ablakwa last Friday [May 17, 2024] said he had petitioned CHRAJ to investigate and stop what he alleged was a "sale of SSNIT's hotels to Bryan Acheampong." 

He claimed that documents in his possession, some of which he has published on Facebook confirm that "SSNIT is far advanced in selling a controlling 60% stake in six of its hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited owned by Bryan Acheampong, the MP for Abetifi and Minister for Food and Agriculture."

SSNIT's reaction and explanation 

In a statement issued on Sunday evening [May 19, 2024], the management of SSNIT offered an explanation for the partnership and said the process started in 2018 and was in its final stages and therefore not yet concluded.

According to the management, since Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has mentioned that the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has been petitioned to conduct a full-scale investigation into the sale of SSNIT hotels, it will not comment further, given the impending investigation by CHRAJ.

It said the management of SSNIT will cooperate fully with CHRAJ throughout its investigation process.

It however clarified that it was rather four of the hotels and not six as alleged by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

They are Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel and Elmina Beach Resort).

It added that Bids for Busua Beach Resort and the Trust Lodge were considered to be unsuccessful so they are no longer part of the hotels covered in this process.

The management of SSNIT said based on the criteria set out in the Request for Proposal (RFP), Rock City Hotel submitted the best and strongest technical and financial proposal amongst those received.

Attached below is the full response from SSNIT management

The attention of the Management of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has been drawn to a discussion on Metro TV's Good Morning Ghana Programme on Friday, 17th May, 2024.

The discussion partly covered SSNIT's strategic decision to divest 60% of its stake in the six (6) hotels in its investment portfolio.

The Management of SSNIT wishes to comment as follows:

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  1. The Trust is seeking to partner a strategic investor to raise capital to invest in the hotels, and also assist in their management.
  2. The primary objective of finding a strategic investor is to increase efficiency, profitability, shareholder value, and the long-term sustainability of the SSNIT Pension Scheme.
  3. Accordingly, SSNIT went through International Competitive Tendering (ICT) processes as prescribed by the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (ACT 663), as amended by ACT 914, for the selection of a strategic investor.
  4. The Trust commenced the process with the engagement of a Transaction Advisor through the ICT method of procurement, with publication of advertisements in the Daily Graphic on 14th November, 2018 and in the Ghanaian Times on 15th November, 2018. The advertisement was also published in an international magazine, The Economist in its January 5-11, 2019 edition.
  5. As of January 16th, 2019 deadline, fifteen (15) firms had expressed interest in submitting bids. Of these, six (6) were shortlisted and issued with Request for Proposal (RFP) documents.
  6. Approval was sought from the Central Tender Review Committee (CTRC) for the selection of a Transaction Advisor on 12th December, 2019 and that was granted on 24th December, 2019.
  7. Following the selection of the independent Transaction Advisor to guide the selection of a Strategic investor amongst others, further advertisements for an Expression of Interest (EOl) for a Strategic Partner for the SSNIT Hotels were placed in the Daily Graphic on 3rd February, 2022 and in the Ghanaian Times on 7th February, 2022. The advertisement was also published in The Economist Magazine on 26th February, 2022.
  8. A total of nine (9) companies responded to the advertisements by submitting proposals on the 23rd March, 2022 deadline. Six (6) out of the nine (9) were then shortlisted and issued with Request for Proposal (RFP) documents.
  9. The qualifying firms were invited for the opening of their financial proposals.
  10. Based on the technical and financial evaluation, the Rock City Hotel emerged the best.
    Based on the criteria set out in the RFP, Rock City Hotel submitted the best and strongest technical and financial proposal amongst those received.
    Consequently, it is in negotiation with SSNIT to buy a 60% stake in each of the four (4) hotels (Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel and Elmina Beach Resort). Bids for Busua Beach Resort and the Trust Lodge were considered to be unsuccessful so they are no longer part of the hotels covered in this process.
  11. The process of getting a strategic investor is in its final stages and therefore not yet concluded.
  12. It was mentioned on the Metro TV discussion that the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has been petitioned to conduct a full-scale investigation into the sale of SSNIT hotels.
  13. Given the impending investigation by CHRAJ, Management of SSNIT will not comment further. SSNIT will cooperate fully with CHRAJ throughout its investigation process.

SSNIT further wishes to assure pensioners, contributors and the public of its commitment to managing the affairs of the Trust prudently for the sustainability of the Pension Scheme.
Thank You
SSNIT, WE DELIVER ON OUR PROMISE
Issued by Management

Ablakwa's allegation and petition

As I earlier disclosed on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana programme, I have today successfully petitioned CHRAJ to investigate and stop the sale of SSNIT's hotels to the Hon. Bryan Acheampong. 

Intercepted documents in my possession confirm that SSNIT is far advanced in selling a controlling 60% stake in six of its hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited owned by Hon. Bryan Acheampong, the MP for Abetifi and Minister for Food and Agriculture. 
Hon. Acheampong is a director and the sole beneficial owner of Rock City Hotel Limited.

The six SSNIT hotels being sold are:

• Labadi Beach Hotel
• La Palm Royal Beach Resort
• Elmina Beach Resort
• Ridge Royal Hotel
• Busua Beach Resort
• Trust Lodge Hotel

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In my petition, I am inviting CHRAJ to investigate grave matters bothering on conflict of interest, abuse of power, lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism, and graft. 

I have also drawn attention to blatant violations of Article 78(3) and 98(2) of the 1992 Constitution as diligent checks from Parliament's Committee on Office of Profit reveal that Hon. Bryan Acheampong has not applied and does not have the permission of the Speaker of Parliament to hold an office of profit.

Since 2008, when Dr. Omane Boamah and I dragged the late Hon. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey to court over attempts to buy his official bungalow, I have always maintained that it is wrong, unethical and reprehensible for public officials, particularly, Ministers of State to participate in the purchase of state assets. It is a matter of principle. 

Also, a number of these SSNIT hotels are very profitable and one wonders the rationale for the sale.

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I am additionally worried about potential job losses if this sale to Bryan Acheampong is finalised. 

May God help us to defeat state capture, and to scuttle this opaque and unethical transaction, which is certainly not in the national interest. 
For God and Country. 
Ghana First

Writer's email: [email protected] 

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