FONAA INSTITUTE PRESENTS
PERSON OF THE WEEK
Nana Bediatuo Asante
Lawyer, fashionista, chief, family man
One of such persons is Nana Bediatuo Asante, a flamboyant, well-known lawyer in the country who never fails to seize the moment to impress.
That flair for bespoke fashion is just one manifestation of his creative instincts. What most people do not know is that he is as versatile litigating in court as he is performing on stage and on set while engaging in his other passions — music, dance and acting.
On Monday afternoon, The Mirror visited Nana Bediatuo at his Ampem Chambers, located at Kanda Estates in Accra. Minutes after The Mirror team got to his chambers, he returned from court, driving a flashy, black Chrysler 300 sedan with customised registration number.
His appearance in a well-cut suit with a hat and a vintage leather bag to match was a typical day at work and, indeed, explained why he is known as a stylish man.
He always pays attention to detail to ensure he looks debonair and exudes confidence whether representing his client in court, attending black-tie event or even partying with friends.
Asked why Nana Bediatuo always wants to appear good no matter the occasion, he explained that his deep sense of fashion were passed on while growing up by his father who had a lot of classic style, while his mother was also into fashion. Socialisation then, is the answer.
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“My grandparents were well-suited gentlemen, so I grew up seeing great style and presentation. What your parents put on you while you were a child, and the way they teach you to be well presented, always inspires you always to look good,” pointed out.
According to him, he doesn’t like what everybody does; for instance, just following the trend is not his approach. For him, it is always important to be unique; therefore, he has tried over the years to develop his own style.
“If you get dressed up and look yourself in the mirror and say to yourself, ‘oh they are going to love this’, then you have the wrong attitude towards fashion. But if you say, ‘oh, I love how I look’, then you are certainly happy within yourself,” he stressed.
Asked how Nana Bediatuo gets his trendy stuff, he explained that he liked having things done for him - bespoke. “The Okunoren Twins in Lagos make my suits now. I have some tailors in Dubai who make my shirts. However, I like [Salvatore] Ferragamo, Etro and Mark Marengo on Savile Row [London]. I buy my socks from Duchcamp in London. Besides, if I like something, as long as it meets my quality standards, I don’t care who made it.”
He further made it clear that because body types were individually unique, some designer suits fit better on him than others. Ideally, he said the best was to have your clothes tailor-made.
Nana Bediatuo believes that sometimes Ghanaian men do not dress appropriately to formal events.
"When somebody says he is having a black-tie dinner and you show up in Bubu or in shirt and trouser. It is just not appropriate."
Nana Bediatuo as a lawyer
He started his legal career as an attorney at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrrison, one of the most prestigious law firms on the iconic Wall Street in New York. After years of working 14 hours a day, he decided to take a leave of absence from Paul Weiss and took up a consultancy with the African Development Bank in Abidjan.
Being so close to Ghana and visiting regularly, he decided to move back home permanently.
“Databank offered me a job as a general counsel. We did a lot of things that had never been done in Ghana. We were the first to set up a Mutual Fund; the first hostile takeover and a lot of interesting transactions that hadn’t been done before. As a result, I had a great time there”.
Nana Bediatuo said after a while he wanted to do something on his own so he set up Faith Brothers, a small boutique investment banking firm with his friend, Mawuli Ababio, then the boss of the Ghana Venture Capital Fund, who also had weighty international financial experience.
"We did a number of transactions and advisory work and as a result, we acquired a small savings and loans company called City Savings and Loans, which later morphed into Access Bank. I had few international clients as well, so I decided to concentrate on my profession and became a full-time lawyer.”
Currently, his outfit represents corporations, companies and high net worth individuals.
He also does public interest work, especially involving constitutional law and encourages the folks in his firm to do pro bono work (free legal work) as well.
“That’s how I was trained when I was with Paul Weiss.”
Nana Bediatuo into arts and entertainment
In addition to being a lawyer and chief, Nana Bediatuo is neck deep in the arts. He is a playwright, screenwriter, songwriter and musician whose works have been showcased locally and internationally.
He has been performing on various platforms. For instance, he recently performed at the 2014 Legends and Legacy Ball that honoured Kojo Antwi, singing with dexterity the hit song ‘Me Dofo Pa’ much to the amazement and delight of the audience; at Kwabena Kwabena’s Concert last weekend, and at the wedding of Radio and TV star, KOD and Ophenia Crossland, among other events.
Nana Bediatuo disclosed that he had been performing since he was a child. “When I was in Prempeh College in Kumasi, I was in different pop bands, had my own band and the senior pop band. We performed at the Anasekrom pop chain competition and I was also in the church choir in London.”
He also starred in the film ‘Double’ — a movie by KSM featuring Anima Misa and Naa Ashorkor.
Nana Bediatuo, who is married to Naana Asante, speaks passionately about his children. He said his eldest son, Nana Twum, lives in London. His older daughter, Bempomaa, is in her final year at the University of Pittsburg. Oyikwan is also in Suffield Academy in Connecticut, while the youngest, Nhyira, is in Deerfield Academy, also in America.