The US lobby firm, KRL International LLC, has admitted its dealings with the Akufo-Addo government, but tightlipped on details of their agreement which per documents sighted reveal Ghanaian taxpayers are paying US$300, 000 per annum, but attempted to talk about the benefits of the transaction.
KRL International, also revealed its dealings with the Akufo-Addo campaign, since 2008 in the name of “I am for Nana Addo Foundation” registered by Ken Ofori-Atta, but added it now has a “separate contracts to work with the campaign and with the government, which were financed separately, as appropriate, and made available under US laws to the US Department of Justice”.
Interestingly, the scanty details KRL provided, showed that Ghana’s Embassy in America, has currently been rendered useless through the KRL’s US$300, 000 yearly arrangement with the Akufo-Addo government, as the company is doing the jobs reserved for diplomats.
A statement release by Laura Brunts in reaction to media reports on the company, said “the firm has continued to engage international stakeholders and media houses on behalf of the Ministry for the past three years, supporting the promotion of initiatives such as One District One Factory (1D1F), Planting for Food and Jobs, Ghana Beyond Aid, and resource mobilisation for COVID-19”.
The statement denied allegations made by Open Source Investigations (OSI) that President Akufo-Addo “improperly” used public funds to bankroll his political activities.
The statement sought to question the credibility OSI, accusing them of partisan mischief against the Akufo-Addo government, saying “OSI, which presents itself as an international investigative body, is but a partisan blog established in 2015 to publish largely defamatory content about then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo”.
It, however, did not deny the authenticity of the documents posted by the OSI, but said they were “made available under US laws to the US Department of Justice”.
“KRL will be filing a formal Legal Complaint against the site once we can determine its ownership, management, and editorial team”, it said.
Pressure group, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), has since filed an official complaint with the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) against President Akufo-Addo and his Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta for the “misappropriation of public funds, abuse of office, and corruption”, as well as “conflict of interest”, respectively, in connection with an alleged $300,000 per annum PR contract, are:
That on June 1, 2016, American PR firm, KRL, was engaged by the I am For Nana Foundation headed by Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s current Finance Minister, to provide lobbying services for the NPP.
That among other services, KRL, was contracted to; (a) support free and fair elections in Ghana in favour of President Akufo-Addo, herein referred to as the 1st Respondent; (b) advise the 1st Respondent on communication strategies ahead of the elections; (c) provide lobbying services with the US government, donor communities and the media; (d) provide in-country support throughout the electoral process.
That after the elections, and the 1st Respondent assumed power, the arrangement with KRL was then regularised, providing same services at a cost of $300,000 per annum, excluding other miscellaneous costs to President Akufo-Addo and his party, the NPP.
That after the 2017, regularisation of the above arrangements, payments, were made to KRL for the same services directly from the Office of the President, using state funds.
However, KRL International LLC, said in an exclusive statement copied to Class News that: “This was not the case”.
“KRL had separate contracts to work with the campaign and with the government, which were financed separately, as appropriate, and made available under US laws to the US Department of Justice”, it added.
But in response KRL’s statement said “KRL International LLC’s support for the presidential campaign of Nana Akufo-Addo (2016) and the Government of Ghana (2017-present) Washington, D.C., August 26, 2020”.
It said, the “recent article published anonymously on the website Open Source Investigations (OSI) has deliberately misinterpreted public documents which KRL filed with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2016 and 2017 to imply that public funds were improperly used by the Government of Ghana to support political activities”, adding “this was not the case”.
It said “KRL had separate contracts to work with the campaign and with the government, which were financed separately, as appropriate, and made available under US laws to the US Department of Justice.Indeed, KRL’s relationship with Nana Akufo-Addo dates back to his 2008 campaign. It has been transparent and proper”.
“It is also not uncommon for a Washington-based consultant for a presidential candidate to be engaged separately for the government in the event of a successful campaign.Ghana is not at unfamiliar with this”, KRL said.
OSI, which presents itself as an international investigative body, is but a partisan blog established in 2015, to publish largely defamatory content about then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo.
OSI, it said “It was reactivated in 2020 for the same mission, adding “during this recent time frame, KRL has been the subject of three attacks” insisting that “OSI’s reports lack authors, attribution, fact-checking and credibility”.
The statement threatened that “KRL will be filing a formal Legal Complaint against the site once we can determine its ownership, management, and editorial team.None of this information is publicly disclosed”.
It cautioned “Journalists who cite their content should conduct their due diligence or they put their own reputations at risk”.
The statement explained that, “Prior to President Akufo-Addo’s inauguration on January 7, 2017, KRL had a contract with the ‘I Am for Nana Foundation’ in support of his campaign, followed by an agreement with the Office of the President-Elect to offer support during the transition period”.
However, “several months after President Akufo-Addo took office and established a cabinet, KRL signed its first agreement with the Government of Ghana to provide support to the Ministry of Finance.Pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), KRL has always submitted timely and transparent reporting to the U.S. Justice Department on all work with foreign governments and political parties”.
“These reports are submitted twice annually: at the end of August, covering the six-month period of February 1 – July 31, and at the end of February, covering a reporting period from August 1 of the previous year through January 31.The document which OSI cites as a “contract extension” dated 28 February 2017 is, in fact, a reporting document submitted to the Department of Justice on that date”.
“This report refers to a “contract extension in this reporting period [August 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017] between KRL International LLC and the Office of the President-elect for Ghana.”This extension covered support provided by KRL between the end of the campaign and the president’s inauguration”.
Other documents filed at this time also refer to the Office of the President-Elect because KRL performed work for this client during the reporting period (August 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017).
This documentation does not indicate that KRL performed work for or was paid by “the President-Elect” past the date of President Akufo-Addo’s inauguration; in any event, this agreement would have been null after the inauguration, as the entity of the “Office of the President-Elect” no longer existed.
KRL is proud of its work in support of President Akufo-Addo’s 2016 campaign and its ongoing support to the Ministry of Finance.
The firm has continued to engage international stakeholders and media houses on behalf of the Ministry for the past three years, supporting the promotion of initiatives such as One District One Factory (1D1F), Planting for Food and Jobs, Ghana Beyond Aid, and resource mobilisation for COVID-19.
The Akufo-Addo government, is yet to speak on its dealings with the KRL.
More to come!