A US public relations firm has rejected an investigative report accusing the company of illegally receiving payments from a foreign government.
The Director of KRL International, Laura Brunts, admitted being contracted for services in relation to Nana Akufo-Addo’s 2016 election victory.
However, the firm explained that there were separate contracts for the ‘I am for Nana Foundation’ prior to the 2016 elections and the Office of the President-elect for Ghana in 2017.
The firm was reacting to a publication by Open Source Investigations (OSI), a website which says it is made up of investigative journalists, researchers, fact-checkers, activists and data experts who have teamed up to provide in-depth research behind political stories.
The website stated in a report that: “Despite Ghanaian laws, Ghana’s government paid KRL International for services provided for the [governing] New Patriotic Party”.
“Despite US laws, KRL International provided services for a foreign political party, while being paid by the government of a foreign country,” it added, backing the allegations with documents filed by the firm with the U.S. Department of Justice.
OSI disclosed that “the fee specified in the contract was 7,500 USD per month without expenses, but the payments were much higher. By January 31, 2017, I Am For Nana Foundation had already paid KRL more than 100,000 USD for ‘consulting services and travel-related expenses’”.
Laura stated in a release by the firm on August 26 stated that OSI had “deliberately misinterpreted public documents” to imply that public funds were improperly used by the Ghana government to support political activities”, emphasising “this was not the case”.
Explaining further, the company’s representative said several months after President Akufo-Addo took office and established a cabinet, KRL signed its first agreement with the Ghana government “to provide support to the Ministry of Finance”.
As required by US regulations, KRL stated that it submits timely and transparent reports twice a year to the US government on its services for scrutiny.
This is done at the end of August, covering the six-month period of February 1 – July 31, and at the end of February, covering a reporting period from August 1 of the previous year through January 31.
“The document which OSI cites as a ‘contract extension’ dated 28 February 2017 is, in fact, a reporting document submitted to the Department of Justice on that date. This report refers to a ‘contract extension in this reporting period [August 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017] between KRL International LLC and the Office of the President-elect for Ghana.’ This extension covered support provided by KRL between the end of the campaign and the president’s inauguration,” KRL explained.
The firm observed that other documents filed at the same time also refer to the Office of the President-Elect because KRL performed work for the client during the reporting period (August 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017).
“This documentation does not indicate that KRL performed work for or was paid by “the President-Elect” past the date of President Akufo-Addo’s inauguration; in any event, this agreement would have been null after the inauguration, as the entity of the “Office of the President-Elect” no longer existed,” the company defended.
KRL further went ahead to claim that OSI was on a smear-campaign against the Nana-Addo government and would sue the firm once it unveils the faces operating the portal.
“OSI’s reports lack authors, attribution, fact-checking and credibility. KRL will be filing a formal legal complaint against the site once we can determine its ownership, management, and editorial team,” Laura stated in the press release.