Work on the 500-bed Kumasi Military Hospital in the Ashanti Region, has stalled over US$2,700 million bribe demanded by the main contractor on the US$180 million project; Euroget De invest S. A. of Egypt from Hanisa Forefront Limited; a sub-contractor.
Strangely, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Euroget De invest S. A. of Egypt; Dr. Said Deraz, after collecting the money from the Hanisa Forefront Limited, went ahead and terminated the agreement his company had with the sub-contractor, accusing them of non-performance.
But Hanisa Forefront Limited’s case is that, US$2,700 million collected from them, denied them the needed funds to complete the job.
Dr. Deraz, is reported to have admitted collecting the US$2,700 million, but shared it among two ex-Defense Ministers (names withheld).
The conducts of Dr. Deraz, agents and several of his companies, including Nakia Company Limited, Gold Coast Refinery Limited, Samnort Industries Limited and Bafis S.A, which he variously used as fronts in the deal, have been reported to the Economic and Organized Crime Unit Organization (EOCO) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for further investigations.
The Herald is informed the Police CID yesterday, arrested and charged the Egyptian-born, Dr. Deraz and his treasurer, Sampson Nortey.
The two are to be arraigned before court later this week, for committing a crime. It is not clear yet, whether extortion and possible blackmail, will be part of the criminal charges. At the time of going to press yesterday, the police CID, was held up in a crunch meeting strategizing on Dr. Deraz.
Aside the criminal case, Hanisa Forefront Limited and its sister company, Hanisa Medical Support Services, have also filed a civil case at an Accra High Court – Commercial Division alleged exploitation, extortion, undue influence and a breach of contract.
Hanisa Forefront Limited, which is owned by David Asinah, is asking Accra High Court’s Commercial Court Division, to direct Dr. Deraz and six others, to pay back the monies undeservedly collected and its re-engagement to complete the building of the hospital.
The Kumasi Military Hospital under construction at a Kumasi suburb called Afari in the Atwima Nwabiagya District of the Ashanti Region, begun in March, 2014.
It was expected to be completed within 42 months, but 47 months after the contract was awarded to Euroget De invest S. A. of Egypt, the company is yet to finish the job.
The fact of the matter is that, Euroget De Invest S. A. of Egypt and Hanisa Forefront Limited on March 2, 2014, went into a US$3,945,000.00 contract for the construction of access roads and drains within the site of the 500-bed military hospital in Kumasi.
The contract was signed in the office of Dr. Deraz, by the Executive Chairman of Hanisa Forefront Limited without the benefit of referring the said contract document to the relevant experts, including his lawyers for advice before execution.
This was due to the insistence of Dr. Deraz that his company was behind schedule for the performance of the contact, and the fact that Hanisa Forefront Limited, was in dire need to secure a contract for its sustenance.
Dr. Deraz, is accused of taking undue advantage of the financial challenges that confronted Hanisa Forefront Limited at the time of signing contract, and his knowledge of the said challenges upon his proximate relationship with the Executive Chairman of Hanisa Forefront Limited was consequently used unfairly to his advantage by stampeding the sub-contractors into signing the contract in his office without any advice whatsoever.
On the day of the of the execution of the said contract, Dr. Deraz, promised to facilitate a prompt mobilization of funds to enable Hanisa Forefront Limited move to site in recognition of the sub-contractor’s poor financial situation and lack of job at the material time.
The said mobilization was subsequently advanced by Euroget De invest S. A. of Egypt as promised. But ahead of the mobilization, Dr. Deraz, demanded and indeed, received three post-dated cheques amounting to US$2,700,000.00 in total and drawable in the name of Bafis S.A of Egypt.
The said post-dated cheques, were to be held as guarantee against any default by Hanisa Forefront Limited of a secret commission from payment made to it by Euroget De invest S. A. of Egypt.
Lawyer of the Hanisa Forefront Limited, insist Dr. Deraz, coerced their client to pay the US$2,700.000.00 in total at the end of the completion of performance of the said contract.
Dr. Deraz, had demanded that Hanisa Forefront Limited paid him the sum upon receipt of payment of each Interim Certificate that would be raised by the sub-contractor until the total sum of US$2,700.000.00, he demanded was completed.
This unconscionable demand was reported to the lawyers of Hanisa Forefront Limited who duly alerted the intelligence agents. Hanisa Forefront Limited represented by its executive chairman reported every money transaction between him and the Dr. Deraz to the intelligent agents.
Hanisa Forefront Limited got Hanisa Medical Support Services to issue the said three post-dated cheques in the sum of US$ 900,000.00 each to the Dr. Deraz drawable in the name of Bafis S.A at the direction of the Dr. Deraz.
The Herald learnt that while some of the cheques were handed over to Dr. Deraz personally, other withdrawals were made in the names of Nakia Company Limited and Gold Coast Refinery Limited on his instructions. They two companies are believed to be his.
One Sampson Nortey, who is said to be a worker of Dr. Deraz also at point in time, received the cedi equivalent of US$300, 000.00 in the presence of the Relationship Manager of Hanisa Forefront Limited at a branch of Fidelity Bank in Accra in substitution of the dishonored cheque as result of lack funds.
Hanisa Forefront Limited contends that that due to a delay in the payment of its 2nd Interim certificate and the secret commission demanded and received by the CEO of Euroget De invest S. A, it proceeded slowly in performing the contract thus occasioning the unfair termination of the contract on 5th February 2018.
According to lawyers of Hanisa Forefront Limited, the monies unlawfully demanded to and received by the 1st Dr. Deraz from the proceeds of its Interim Payment Certificate, he directly induced a breach of contract between Hanisa Forefront Limited and Euroget De invest S. A. thus frustrating the contract through loss of money.
Hanisa Forefront Limited states that the said payments coerced by Dr. Deraz made it impossible for the contract to be executed, adding Dr. Deraz has also caused his company to unfairly withhold a sum of US$343,081.39 belonging to Hanisa Forefront Limited.
The lawyers insisted that Dr. Deraz having knowledge of existence of the contract dated 2nd March 2014 yet made those demands and received same, thus he intentionally invaded the contractual rights of Hanisa and turned around to terminate the said contract for non-performance.
They contend that Dr. Deraz’s Euroget De invest S. A having communicated pressure to pay secret commissions has indirectly induced breach of the said contract and ought not to be allowed to turn around to unlawfully terminate the said contract for non-performance.
Dan Soko is a short story author and web content editor. He has work appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including GhanaScoop, Nigeria Daily News and CapitalBay. When he’s not frightening strangers with his post and writing, he’s most likely frightening his wife Mimi and their two mischievous cats: Buttons and Snaps. You can visit him at www.ghananation.com/author/webby.