SSNIT Director-General dismisses Freddie Blay’s $200 million hotel bid claim

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The Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Kofi Bosompem Osafo-Maafo, has dismissed allegations made by former National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay, about a USD200 million bid by his son to acquire a 60 per cent stake in SSNIT’s hotels.

At a press briefing on Monday, 8 July 2024, Mr. Osafo-Maafo clarified that the bid from Mr. Blay’s son’s company, Spartan Ives, did not pass the initial evaluation stage and, thus, the financial proposal envelope was never opened.

“The claim that has been made by Mr. Freddie Blay that his son’s company, Spartan Ives, bid 150 to 200 million dollars and SSNIT turned it down cannot be substantiated,” stated Mr. Osafo-Maafo.

He explained that: “For the process, you first go through an evaluation panel and score. Once scored and you get past the pass mark, we then assess your financial proposal.

“That is the process, and that is what the law requires us to do.”

He emphasised that Spartan Ives’ proposal failed to meet the required technical criteria.

“Spartan Ives did not get past the evaluation stage. Their technical proposal was weak, and they scored below the required 50 percent, so their financial proposal was not even assessed. The envelope was not even opened. It was returned to them. That is what the law requires us to do. So, to say that SSNIT received an offer of 150 to 200 million dollars and turned it down is not accurate because the offer was never made, the offer was never opened.”

The former NPP National Chairman, had confirmed in an interview that his 34-year-old son, Kwaw Blay, bid up to USD200 million for the SSNIT hotels through Spartan Ives Limited but was denied the opportunity by the Trust.

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Meanwhile, Mr. Osafo-Maafo defended SSNIT’s decision to sell 60 per cent of its shares in four hotels to a private investor, describing it as the only viable option to revive the hotels’ fortunes.

The hotels involved are Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, and Ridge Royal Hotel.

“We’ve been through quite a lengthy process to do so. Bear in mind, we’ve also tried having external management companies running the SSNIT hotels, and that hasn’t resolved the problem either,” Mr. Osafo-Maafo revealed.

He continued that: “Consistent losses by almost all of our hotels. I know you are aware that Labadi doesn’t make a profit, but the returns are below [par]. They haven’t paid us any dividends with the exception of Labadi. Labadi Beach Resort only started paying dividends for the last two years. They haven’t from inception.”

Mr. Osafo-Maafo also stressed that introducing a strategic investor was essential to address the ongoing financial issues and ensure the hotels’ sustainability.