A Letter To The Smear Campaigners Against James Kofi Annan
You offered to give GH¢20,000 to get information about James Kofi Annan, the President of Challenging Heights. Well, as a team, we are happy to give you all such information and accept the money to support the work of Challenging Heights.
We would like to respond to the text messages you have been sending to staff:
“Please we know you have been with Challenging Heights. We are giving you an offer of GH¢10,000.00 for the start, if only you will be prepared to meet us for information needed concerning your former boss Kofi Annan, and after the deal we will offer you another GH¢10,000. You can communicate to us through this e-mail: [email protected]
We are glad to provide you with facts about James Kofi Annan, and look forward to receiving the first installment of GH¢10,000. We would be happy to meet with you in our office should you need more information, and for us to collect the remaining balance of GH¢10,000. As a team we wish to donate the full GH¢20,000 to support our work of Challenging Heights to promote youth and family empowerment and the children’s rights to education and freedom from forced labour.
We understand you are searching for information which will enable you to scandalize the President of Challenging Heights. Well, we have hundreds of information, facts and figures to give you – although we think you will be disappointed to discover that James has nothing to hide. So, for your first donation of GH¢10,000 to Challenging Heights, we would like to tell you about James’s personal history, his business and charity work:
James’ full name is James Kofi Annan. All of us call him Senior James. He worked with Barclays Bank of Ghana for several years, rising through the ranks to become a Manager at the bank.
James started Challenging Heights while still working with Barclays Bank, informally in the year 2003, and registered it in 2005, using his own money for the project until the first ever international donor came in June 2007.
While in the bank he took several loans part of which he used to build his houses, one in Winneba, and the other in Kasoa. He also used part of the loans he took to start a printing press called Challenging Steps Ltd in Accra. This printing press had several big clients such as Barclays Bank, Millennium Development Authority, Stratcom Africa, STB McCan, Amadeus, KEK Insurance, and hundreds of others.
Later after he resigned from the bank, he took further loans from the same Barclays Bank to inject more capital into his printing press business.
In December 2008, James Kofi Annan registered another business called Run-Off Ltd, also in Accra, to offer consultancy services to businesses. Currently among the other strings of businesses James run are Go Ventures, Go Entertainment, Winneba United, and Wishes Ltd.
In September 2008, James was awarded his third international award, the Frederick Douglass award, which came with at least $10,000 for his personal use, and $20,000 for the use of his organization Challenging Heights.
He saved his personal part of the award money, which was $10,000 for his businesses. Later he used this money to buy some parcels of land in Winneba, which he currently uses for his ventures.
In October 2011, James again won an international award, the Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize, which came with $100,000, $50,000 of which was for him personally. He again saved this money for his business.
In January 2012, James established a restaurant with one of his companies, Run-Off restaurant in Winneba.
The capital for Run-Off restaurant, which is the second biggest business James has ever done, were as follows:
1. The $50,000 of the Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize that he won.
2. A $72,000 loan from HFC Bank.
3. A GH¢17,000 loan from HFC Bank.
4. Credits from Wormeco Company (Winneba), Emmalect Ltd (Accra Central), Omega Compu Systems Engineering (Adabraka), Bentum Cement (Winneba), Premium Services (Winneba), and Sabadan Company Ltd (Winneba).
In 2013, James won another award from Tigo Reach for Change which brought him $25,000 per year for three years.
Please kindly note that James has won other international awards and monies such as the World Children’s Prize, which brought $50,000. But we have not made mention of it because that money was not for his personal use. It was for the use of the organization.
James drives a Toyota Fortuner which cost more than $35,000. Please note that James did not buy this car himself. This vehicle was a gift from two individuals, Rick and Jason, who donated it through the Hovde Foundation, USA.
James has been an International Visiting Fellow at Grinnell College in America, teaching First Degree students. He has also had several tens of speaking engagements abroad. Majority of these earns him income.
James takes only half of his salary with Challenging Heights. He reserves the other half for the payment of fees of secondary school and university students, which is outside of the support of Challenging Heights. Currently he is paying for the school fees for a number of secondary school students in T. I. Ahammadiyya Muslim Secondary School in Potsin, Swedru Secondary School, Uncle Rich Secondary School in Winneba, Winneba School of Business, Anyan Denkyira Secondary School, Ideal College Secondary School in Accra, Apam Secondary School, some of who have just completed school. He is also paying for the school fees of six university students; namely a Medical student and a Social Science student in the University of Cape Coast, a Social Science student in the University of Education, Winneba, a Business student in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), a Computer Engineering student at IPMC, and a Development Studies Masters student at the University of Ghana.
In addition, he is providing feeding and other support at cost of GHC800 each month for eight needy children.
A number of us have benefitted personally from the benevolence of James, and we know several of our staff who have personally benefitted from him too. There are several individuals who are employed today because of James’ personal generosity. And here we’re not talking about what Challenging Heights as an organization does. We’re talking here about what James Kofi Annan as an individual uses his personal money for, for the benefit of others. If you will like to know what the achievements of Challenging Heights are, please kindly review our annual reports.
But just a gist of what Challenging Heights has achieved over the years, since 2003, Challenging Heights has provided educational support to nearly 10,000 vulnerable children across 40 communities in Ghana. In addition, the organization has rescued a little over 1,200 children from slavery on Lake Volta, provided them with rehabilitation, and supported them to go to school. Again over 1,100 women have been supported through our livelihood projects, and nearly 600 young persons who have completed JHS/SHS have been supported to access ICT skills, leadership and entrepreneurship training. Challenging Heights is one of only a very few organizations in Ghana to build and run their own rehabilitation shelter.
I guess you know James very well? Have you observed the way he dresses? As staff, a lot of times we have pleaded with him to change his worn out shoes. We have pleaded with him to stop wearing worn out dresses. A very dynamic businessman who has sacrificed everything he ever achieves and owns for the benefit of society.
And please note that James Kofi Annan is first and foremost a businessman. He has registered several companies, some of which he has donated to Challenging Heights. For instance, CH school used to be called Challenging Heights International School Ltd. It was his personal school which he donated to Challenging Heights. In effect, he is known more for Challenging Heights because of the media, but he does more businesses that the general public does not know him for.
We are yet to meet any man who has suffered so much for his sacrifice, like James. It is too much, sometimes even for us to bear, to see him go through all manner of attacks, death threats, insults, and smear campaigns. This is someone who could have led a flamboyant lifestyle. This is someone who could own fleet of cars if he had not chosen to give all that he owns. Yet, this is the same person whose house does not have a kitchen cabinet. The living furniture he purchased in 2001 when he graduated from the University of Ghana is what he still uses in the house.
Please kindly check the records, in 2000/2001, James religiously donated 10% of his monthly National Service Allowances to the Ghana Heart Foundation, in Korle Bu Cardio Thoracic Center, and he did this through the New Town Ghana Commercial Bank branch. This was somebody who was still poor and struggling to survive life in Accra at the time. So James’ generosity did not start from today.
The worst thing that James has done to anybody is to stop fishermen from buying and selling children who they enslave. The worst offence he has committed has been to stop the torture fishermen visit on the children they buy and sell. He may not be a perfect person, but what else do you think he has done wrong?
We know that James is not bothered by any of the scheming to smear him, because he does not pay attention to those. But we would like you to know that if James does not defend himself, we will use all legally appropriate means to defend him. It is obvious that you are in a network, working hard at what you are trying to do. Remember that the laws of Ghana work, and one day it will work for James.
In the meantime, we are excitedly awaiting your donation to Challenging Heights (Ghana Registered Charity G.14, 807) so that we can continue protecting the children of Ghana from human trafficking and give them the educational opportunities they deserve. Please call us now on 0244515761 to arrange the meeting you requested. Thank you!