An investigation by SaharaReporters has discovered that Kevin Okyere, a Ghanaian oil tycoon tied to shady oil deals in Nigeria with embattled former Minister for Petroleum Resources, Alison Diezani-Madueke, has illegally purchased a brand new 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG S-Class GTS coupe with VIN#:WDDYJ7JA6GA002426. It is estimated that this luxury sports car costs between $150,000 and $250,000, according to similar purchases.
SaharaReporters exclusively obtained photographs of the luxury Mercedes-Benz car shipped to Accra, Ghana with Georgia license plates PZM 3849. The images were taken at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.
SaharaReporters also learned that Mr. Okyere’s Mercedes-Benz sports luxury car arrived on South African Airways flight 210 to Kotoka International Airport in Accra at 8:35 GMT on the morning of Wednesday, December 16th, 2015.
SaharaReporters had disclosed in earlier reports that Mr. Okyere’s company, Springfield Energy Ltd, received several dubious petroleum contracts, conservatively valued at $4 billion, from Mrs. Alison-Madueke. A law enforcement source in the UK disclosed to SaharaReporters that agents of the National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested and questioned Mr. Okyere’s wife, Melanie Spencer, and Mrs. Alison-Madueke on October 2, 2015. Ms. Spencer was arrested at 14A St. Johns Wood Road, NW8 8RE in London, a property purchased by Mr. Okyere in 2014 for £4.5 million. A few days after Ms. Spencer’s arrest, a Southwark Crown Court ordered the confiscation of monies found in her possession.
A source in Ghana told our correspondent that Mr. Okyere’s newly acquired car was driven away from the Accra airport cargo shed by Ghanaian security officials under the direction of the oil tycoon.
An investigation by SaharaReporters found that the car’s license plate, PZM 3849, was registered in DeKalb County, GA to a David Owusu, who also has a property in Atlanta, GA. A Georgian motor vehicle licensing official told Saharareporters that the license plate had been suspended for insurance purpose since January. Mr. Owusu has a company in Atlanta named “Andimax Marketing Ltd,” with a second address in Accra, Ghana. The company has been used in the past to ship items internationally, according to records obtained by our reporters.
When contacted by our correspondent, Mr. Owusu, who apparently was vacationing in Ghana, confirmed that he imported the Mercedes Benz car with a Georgia license plate. In an interview with our reporter, Mr. Owusu admitted that the Mercedes car was for Mr. Okyere.
Mr. Owusu categorically denied that he paid for the car. He revealed that the title of the car was transferred to his name, even though it had not been purchased in his name. He also reassured our correspondent that he was not lying about the fact that the car was arranged by and for Mr. Okyere. In the course of the interview, Mr. Owusu also stated that the title of the Mercedes-Benz was put in his name in August of 2015, disclosing that it cost about $800 to switch names.
When asked why he would agree to transfer the legal title of the car to his name for Mr. Okyere he said, “He [Mr. Okyere] is a childhood friend of mine, and he needed to transfer the title to my name” since the oil businessman “was not in town at that time.”
Mr. Okyere’s resort to using a front to bring in such an expensive new car raises questions about the legality of the freighting of the car into Ghana, said a Ghanaian anti-corruption activist. The source said it was “imperative that the government should investigate all the circumstances of the car’s arrival in Ghana. They should also ascertain whether appropriate duties were paid before the car was removed from the airport.”
SaharaReporters previously reported that Mr. Okyere had close ties to Ghanaian political powerbroker of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo. Mr. Okyere’s wife, who is now trapped in the UK, is a niece to Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the wife of the NPP presidential candidate.
A senior journalist at one of Ghana’s biggest newspapers told SaharaReporters that Mr. Okyere had used his sizeable wealth and political influence to effectively suppress Ghanaian media reports on his questionable ties to Mrs. Alison-Madueke. Mr. Okyere used threats of legal action to force such Ghanaian publications as The New Statesman, The Al-Hajj, the Herald and The Republic to retract their coverage of his and his wife’s connection with Mrs. Alison-Madueke and financial crimes in Nigeria.
However, an editor at one of the above-named publications told SaharaReporters that their apology to Mr. Okyere was “merely a cosmetic one.”
A source in Ghana also told SaharaReporters that Mr. Okyere has not visited the UK since authorities there arrested both his wife, Melanie Spencer and Mrs. Alison-Madueke. “His wife, Mrs. Melanie Spencer, delivered a baby shortly after her brush with the British law enforcement, but he [Okyere] has not been able to see his baby in London,” the source disclosed.
Another source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Okyere had made strenuous, but futile, efforts to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari during the Nigerian leader’s recent trip to Ghana. “He tried every possible means to meet President Buhari to plead his case, but he did not succeed,” said the source.
In one desperate instance, Mr. Okyere reportedly made a daring move to see Mr. Buhari at Kotoka International Airport but was stopped by security operatives. He next attempted to see President Buhari at the Peduase Presidential Lodge but was again blocked.