Nana Akufo-Addo during his inauguration ceremony in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday January 7, 2017.

KRL International describes itself as “a boutique consulting firm providing comprehensive, custom-fit services to bridge the divide between Washinton D.C and the world’s emerging markets”.

It was founded by International Consultant K. Riva Levinson in 2007.

Ghana’s Connection

On its website krlinternational.com, it lists “Unseating the incumbent in Ghana’s presidential election” as one of its case studies. The firm claims it was hired by the campaign team of Ghana’s current President, Nana Akufo-Addo as a communications and public consultant in the run-up to the 2016 election.

It details its role on its website as follows

“Through an extended period of embedding on the campaign trail, KRL integrated into operational units of the local team.

KRL consultants helped craft a communications strategy using polling results and other forms of local data, managed local media monitoring and message coordination, arranged interviews with the foreign press, prepared the candidate for speaking events, and helped with outreach efforts to voters and party poll watchers.

KRL also encouraged direct lines of communication between the campaign and election observers to help build confidence among all stakeholders in the process.

Thanks to a combination of international observation, a robust party poll-watching effort, and careful management of internal campaign dynamics, KRL was instrumental in diffusing tensions in the post-election period and helping to manage a peaceful transition.”

Open Source Investigations Probe

Open Source Investigations (OSI) which comprises investigative journalists, researchers and data experts alleges that KRL deployed shady tactics similar to that of Cambridge Analytica of the USA.

This it says involves data mining and data analysis with strategic communication to influence the 2016 election.

OSI in another publication claims KRL was paid with public funds for work it did for the governing NPP. It adds what it claims to be an agreement between the NPP and KRL

OSI alleges that this agreement has been amended post the election. This amended agreement OSI alleges replaces the “I am For Nana Foundation” with “Office of President-elect of Ghana”.

OSI claims this is a desperate attempt to “cover up the fact that for four months (February 27 to June 28, 2017), Ghana’s government paid KRL for services provided on behalf of the NPP.

OSI alleges further that KRL filed documents with the US Department of Justice in August 2017. They also claimed that lobbying services provided by KRL in April 2017 were made on behalf of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Ghana”.

KRL has in a statement denied the allegations. It claims its current work was a different contract with the Finance Ministry.

It explains that it has been engaging stakeholders and media houses for the past three years and supporting the promotion of some government policies including the One District One Factory, Planting for Food and Jobs, and Ghana Beyond Aid initiatives.