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Rock City Hotel won an international competitive bid for 4 hotels – SSNIT clarifies

The SSNIT hotels in question are the Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, and Ridge Royal Hotel

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has clarified that the Rock City Hotel participated in a legitimate bid and emerged as the winner following their presentation of the best and strongest technical and financial proposal amongst those received by the Trust.

Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, in a recent post on his social media handles after a television discussion on Metro TV indicated that he has lodged a formal petition with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate allegations surrounding the sale of six hotels by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to the Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr Bryan Acheampong.

In his petition, Mr Ablakwa asserts that there are ongoing plans to sell a controlling 60% stake in six hotels owned by SSNIT to Rock City Hotel Limited, a company reportedly owned by Dr Bryan Acheampong, who serves as the MP for Abetifi.

The hotels under scrutiny in the petition include Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel, Busua Beach Resort, and the Trust Lodge Hotel.

However, SSNIT in a statement issued by her management on Sunday, 19 May 2024, the Trust said its “attention has been drawn to a discussion on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana, Programme on Friday, 17 May 2024, which partly covered SSNIT’s strategic decision to divest 60% of its stake in the six (6) hotels in its investment portfolio.”

“The Management of SSNIT wishes to comment as follows: SSNIT responds to Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’s comments on the sale of hotels The Trust is seeking to partner with a strategic investor to raise capital to invest in the hotels, and also assist in their management.

“The primary objective of finding a strategic investor is to increase efficiency, profitability, shareholder value, and the long-term sustainability of the SSNIT Pension Scheme. Accordingly, SSNIT went through International Competitive Tendering (ICT) processes as prescribed by the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (ACT 663), as amended by ACT 914, for the selection of a strategic investor.

“The Trust commenced the process with the engagement of a Transaction Advisor through the ICT method of procurement, with the publication of advertisements in the Daily Graphic on 14 November 2018 and in the Ghanaian Times on 15 November 2018,” the SSNIT statement read.

“The advertisement was also published in an international magazine, The Economist in its January 5-11, 2019 edition. As of the 16 January 2019 deadline, fifteen (15) firms had expressed interest in submitting bids. Of these, six (6) were shortlisted and issued with Request for Proposal (RFP) documents. Approval was sought from the Central Tender Review Committee (CTRC) for the selection of a Transaction Advisor on 12 December 2019 and that was granted on 24 December 2019.

“Following the selection of the independent Transaction Advisor to guide the selection of a Strategic investor amongst others, further advertisements for an Expression of Interest (EOI) for a Strategic Partner for the SSNIT Hotels were placed in the Daily Graphic on 3 February 2022 and in the Ghanaian Times on 7 February 2022.

“The advertisement was also published in The Economist Magazine on 26 February 2022. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Issued by Management A total of nine (9) companies responded to the advertisements by submitting proposals on the 23 March 2022 deadline.

“Six (6) out of the nine (9) were then shortlisted and issued with Request for Proposal (RFP) documents. The qualifying firms were invited for the opening of their financial proposals. Based on the technical and financial evaluation, the Rock City Hotel emerged the best,” the statement further read.

“Based on the criteria set out in the RFP, Rock City Hotel submitted the best and strongest technical and financial proposal amongst those received. Consequently, it is in negotiation with SSNIT to buy a 60% stake in each of the four (4) hotels (Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel, and Elmina Beach Resort).

“Bids for Busua Beach Resort and the Trust Lodge were considered to be unsuccessful so they are no longer part of the hotels covered in this process. The process of getting a strategic investor is in its final stages and therefore not yet concluded.

“It was mentioned on the Metro TV discussion that the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has been petitioned to conduct a full-scale investigation into the sale of SSNIT hotels. Given the impending investigation by CHRAJ, the Management of SSNIT will not comment further.

“SSNIT will cooperate fully with CHRAJ throughout its investigation process. SSNIT further wishes to assure pensioners, contributors and the public of its commitment to managing the affairs of the Trust prudently for the sustainability of the Pension Scheme” the SSNIT statement concluded.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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