General News of Wednesday, 6 December 2017
In what seems to be a disturbing conflict of interest scenario, one man is appointed as a member of the Governing Board of the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), the same man is Chairman of the Entity Tender Committee of the NLA, the same man is also the external retainer lawyer for the NLA and the same man was able to make a cool amount of over GHC89 million as payment of works he did for the NLA between 2013 and 2017.
That is the story of ‘Moneyman’ Kojo Graham, an astute lawyer and smart businessman who is still doing some legit business with the NLA although many have called for a probe into some of his curious financial dealings with the company.
In the year 2016 for instance, while the NLA paid a total amount of some GHC16 million into the Consolidated Fund, Mr. Kojo Graham was able to get paid far more than that amount from the same NLA.
In 2016 he was paid an amount of GHC16, 166,051 for some works his company, LOTS Services, did for the NLA and then he was also paid an additional GHC3,638,888 for some thermal paper roll his company supplied the NLA, raising his cash to over GHC19 Million for that year alone.
The year 2017, seems to be the year the NLA has paid the least amount of money to Mr. Graham, being some GHC8 million for the services provided by LOTS and then some GHC266, 785 for the papers he supplied.
Understandably, there is a new Governing Board and a new Director General for the NLA and it would certainly not be ‘business and usual’ at the NLA as all financial lope holes are being closed and new and more stringent measures adopted to save the tax payer some money.
THE PUBLISHER after placing several phones calls to Mr. Graham could not get him to either pick the calls or even return them.
The newspaper then sent messages through SMS and WhatsApp to his contact number, requesting an appointment with him and telling him the reason for which the paper wanted to reach him.
For days, though the messages were delivered, he never responded until the paper wrote a teaser on its front page then Kojo Graham responds to the four-day old text message at 5:56 am on the day the teaser appeared.
His worry was that the paper, in the teaser, had referred to him as a ‘Money Man’. Since then, he has coiled back and declined all attempts by the paper to reach him.
Trouble Over $60,000
THE PUBLISHER had picked reports that Kojo Graham was in some tussle with the new Director–General of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) over several issues including an amount of $60,000 and that the case was before the Police Headquarters.
Checks by THE PUBLISHER however revealed that the said amount of money was not a bribe as being speculated but rather it was a loan Mr. Graham had given to Osei-Ameyaw.
The loan has however been repaid to Mr. Graham in full, ending the disturbing speculation.
“Oh, the money was paid back here. Yes, we investigated the case and the facts were that it was a loan from Graham and even when he offered to give the loan, that popular journalist on Metro TV who does the evening show (name withheld) was there.
“It was not bribe. How can someone give bribe and then go and tell the Police that he has given bribe so the police should investigate. The misunderstanding was whether the person who went for the money actually delivered to the one it was meant for and once that was established, we all laughed over it and then Osei-Ameyaw decided to repay his loan because it was getting unnecessary attention”, a Police source told THE PUBLISHER.
August 11, 2011, Letter
Though Graham’s critics have raised suspicions of conflict of interest, THE PUBLISHER has sighted a letter he wrote to the Board Chairman of the NLA in August 2011, in which he opted to stay away from all celebrations over tender, bids and contracts.
“For the avoidance of doubt and to ensure transparency, I deem it necessary to avoid participation in any of the Board deliberations relating to selection of the NLA SMS lottery partner. Similarly, I will not participate in the deliberations of the Entity Tender Committee regarding the evaluation of the bids and any ensuing recommendations”, Kojo Graham stated in the said letter.
It however does not mean that he did not continue to occupy the two influential positions while his companies had contracts from the NLA.
THE PUBLISHER could continue with rather disturbing revelations at the NLA and why government, the Presidency and Ministry of Finance for that matter, ought to step in to ensure tighter financial and administrative policies are introduced and adhered to.