First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has denied insinuations that her charity organisation, the Rebecca Foundation, played a role in clinching an agreement between Chinese firm StarTimes and the Government of Ghana.
StarTimes on behalf of the Chinese government, will be extending satellite TV to 300 communities in Ghana, but the move has been widely opposed by the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Apart from the 300 villages’ project, StarTimes has also been awarded a deal by the Ministry of Communication to finish the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Network Platform started by local IT firm K-NET.
K-NET, according to Minister of Communication Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has stalled on the project due to financial constraints, thus, the need to bring in StarTimes to finish it up.
Last week, there were reports indicating that Mrs Akufo-Addo had been allegedly bribed to use her influence to secure that deal for the Chinese firm.
Reacting to the claims, the Rebecca Foundation, in a statement said: “StarTimes has never been, at any time, a partner of the foundation, as has been suggested.”
The statement explained that StarTimes only donated football kit to the Rebecca Foundation to be distributed to the SOS Children’s Village, of which the First Lady is the patron.
Below is the full statement:
RE: THE REBECCA FOUNDATION AND STARTIMES SPONSORSHIP OF FOOTBALL KITS
The attention of the Office of the First Lady has been drawn to a publication in the media, concerning her charity, The Rebecca Foundation, and a Chinese firm operating in Ghana, STARTIMES CORPORATION. This is to offer clarification on the matter.
STARTIMES has never been, at any time, a partner of the foundation, as has been suggested. The Foundation is, however, very grateful to Star Times for offering football kit to be donated through the Foundation to the SOS Children’s Village, where the First Lady is honoured to be a patron.
In 2017, the First Lady, on a trip to China, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Rebecca Foundation and the Licang District Experimental School in Qingdao, to establish an exchange programme between Ghanaian and Chinese school children.
The programme, which seeks to deepen cultural, academic and sports ties between the pupils of the two countries, will see an exchange of 15 pupils each between Ghana and China, annually.
Under the terms of the MOU, Ghanaian pupils will learn martial arts, ping-pong and other disciplines, while Chinese pupils will benefit from football training with their Ghanaian counterparts.
The first group participating this year from Ghana are fifteen (15) children from the SOS Children’s Village.
This experience is anticipated to make a positive impact on the lives of participating children.
STARTIMES CORPORATION offered to provide football kits for the children because of their association with Ghana football. This worthy effort, it must be stated, was not at the instance of the Foundation.
The support was publicly announced and it is purely for charitable purposes. It is worth emphasising that neither the First Lady nor the Foundation has any role to play in any engagement between Star Times and the Government of Ghana, either directly or indirectly.
The Rebecca Foundation is committed to improving the welfare and well-being of women and children, especially the vulnerable in society, and works with various partners who contribute in diverse ways to our vision and mission.
We are forever grateful for the continuous support the charity is receiving from its well-wishers, both in Ghana and abroad.
We wish to assure the general public that the Rebecca Foundation will continue to be guided by the strict principles of honesty, integrity and transparency.