Posted: Tuesday 29th April 2014 at 10:42 am

DIC wants mandate to follow up divested properties


The Head of Finance and Administration at the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), Mr Richard Nana Akuffo, has called for the addition of a post-acquisition monitoring power to the mandate of the committee.

That, he explained, would ensure that new owners of divested state properties stuck to the details of the proposals they presented for the acquisition.

He said it was one thing presenting proposals to facilitate acquisition and another living up to the details of the plan of action contained in the proposal.

But the mandate of the DIC, he said, was currently limited to the primary task of overseeing the divestiture, but nothing more thereafter.

The additional mandate,  he said, would ensure that adequate follow-ups were done by the committee to guarantee the viability of the divested property, in line with the plans presented that facilitated the acquisition.

Mr Akuffo made the call when he appeared before the Judgement Debt Commission to answer questions on the divestiture of the Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Company (GCD).

  Wenchi Tomato Factory
While Mr Akuffo was giving evidence, the Sole Commissioner of the commission, Mr Justice Yaw Apau, sought to find out the fate of the Wenchi Tomato Cannery (TOMACAN) which was divested by the DIC in 1996, noting that the place had now been overgrown by weeds.

Mr Justice Apau, who hails from that area, said the factory used to be a viable one that provided employment for the people, adding that although some foreign investors had expressed interest in the cannery, it was sold out to a Ghanaian entity.

He then proceeded to ask why the DIC would sell a property to an entity which lacked the capacity to properly manage it.

In answer to the enquiry, Mr Akuffo said divestiture was often undertaken due to the convincing nature of the proposal presented to the DIC, but beyond that the DIC had no stake.

He expanded that normally when divestiture occurred and the new owner(s) failed to properly manage the property, the DIC moved in to do a re-acquisition.

However, with the Wenchi Tomato Cannery, the managers had written to the DIC that they did not have the needed supply of raw materials for production and, therefore, prayed for some time to enable them to re-strategise.

  Ghana Consolidated Diamonds
On the payment of a judgement debt of $1.8 million to Balaji Gemlast, an Indian company, Mr Akuffo said prior to the divestiture of the GCD, the company had loaned the GCD money to supply it with some diamonds, but the GCD had failed to do so.

That, he said, led to Balaji Gemlast taking up the issue in court.

The DIC, he said, inherited both the assets and liabilities of the GCD and, therefore, had to pay off the indebtedness of the GCD to Balaji Gemlast.

The GCD, Mr Akuffo recounted, was acquired by the owners of Zoomlion Ghana Limited and renamed Great Consolidated Diamonds, with the payment for the acquisition staggered over a period of time.

  Peter Abban and the Attorney-General
Mr Kwesi Bentsi-Entsil, the Head of the Compensation Unit of the Lands Commission, appeared to answer some questions regarding the wrongful payment of compensation to one Peter Abban.

He told the commission that his outfit was tracking two files that were crucial to the case and prayed for extended time to locate those documents in order to appropriately answer the questions posed by the commission.

  Comfort Aboagye and Koforidua Polytechnic
Madam Comfort Aboagye, who was paid compensation following the acquisition of her land for the Koforidua Polytechnic, appeared to explain why she had provided two different identity documents bearing different ages.

After her explanation, the commission was satisfied that she was the same person and had duly received her compensation.

  Penny Lane, Property Lane and Koforidua Polytechnic

The Chief Executive Officer of Penny Lane Real Estate Construction Limited, Mrs Zoana Horn, appeared to answer questions on the linkage the company had with Property Lane Construction Company which had valued Madam Aboagye’s property.

She told the commission that her company had no linkage with Property Lane and had had no business with the Koforidua Polytechnic.

But counsel to the commission, Mr Kofi Dometi Sokpor, explained that in searching for the whereabouts of Property Lane, they had stumbled upon one of their telephone numbers which had also been listed as the telephone number of Penny Lane and that was why the company had been subpoenaed.

He added that they now had fresh leads on Property Lane which they intended pursuing.

  Writer’s email: [email protected]

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