By Kwabena Adu Koranteng
The JOSPONG Group of companies, owned by Mr Joseph Siaw Agyapong has reacted to the ongoing investigations into the sale of Ghana Consolidated Diamonds which has been described by experts as lacking transparency.
The statement reacts to a questionnaire submitted by this Journalist to the company as part of the investigations to clarify issues related to the sales of the company.
The three page statement signed? by? Mrs Barbara Mensah, Head of Corporate Affairs and Marketing with the? JOSPONG Group of Companies? said the agreement for the purchase of Ghana Consolidated Diamonds was agreed with the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC).
?We assure you that we followed due process, guidelines and regulations provided to regulate the sale and purchase of divested state companies. We are determined to use this opportunity to turn around this company to make it a vibrant and profitable organization that will once again create jobs and impact livelihoods of the communities in the company?s jurisdiction.
?We are happy to have been given the opportunity to challenge our expertise to rejuvenate GCDGL and unearth its potentials. Indeed since we took over the mine in 2011 a lot of investment has been made on our part to resuscitate the mine and bring it up to international standards.
GCDGL has also focused on meeting the necessary regulatory, engineering and restructuring works necessary for? bringing the old mine back to life. All local and international certifications that are required to facilitate the operation of the mine as a world-class mine have been regularized
?Our goal is to regularize, modernize and upgrade GCDGL?s mining credentials and certifications to internationally accepted levels. This is an important step in the successful operation of any viable mine. As part of engineering works ongoing, GCDGL has replaced many old and obsolete equipment and machinery at the mine. As successful mining is largely dependent on equipment and machinery, we are investing heavily in upgrading equipment on the mine to achieve production successes?, the statement noted.
?Our current activities regarding the mine go beyond the mine itself. We are excited about what we are also achieving with the former employees of the mine, some of them have been successfully re-engaged. As part of our resettlement plan for retrenched employees, GCDGL has supported many former workers of the mine and residents of surrounding communities to undertake alternative sources of livelihood.
We however believe that putting the mine on the right footing to generate taxes for government, create employment and support the surrounding communities should be of interest to you
The statement indicated that ?Since we acquired the mine in 2011, Great Consolidated Diamonds Ghana Limited has followed a five-year development plan to bring the mine on full stream. Milestones under this plan include; undertaking feasibility studies which is now completed re-evaluation of the resource rehabilitation of offices and accommodation, rehabilitation of the plant for processing of Tailings Developing regulations and structures for product purchase from small scale diamond miners etc. In the community, efforts are ongoing to rehabilitate the Akwatia Government Hospital to serve the town and its surrounding communities ?
?The last phase of the plan is to bring the entire mine on-stream and undertake development of farms and other non-mining projects. Our commitment to turning the mine around for the benefit of the communities and other stakeholders. We wish to state that we are excited to have had the opportunity to turn the company around ?
According to the statement ?We expressed our interest in the company at a time when it had been closed down and was under care and maintenance. It will interest you to note that the Company was put on divestiture in 1987 and after numerous unsuccessful attempts by the GoG to sell; it was closed down in 2007. In 2011, the GoG accepted the bid by Great Consolidated Diamonds Ghana Limited to buy the company. We believe that such a great national asset can be turned around but will require a lot of investment to achieve that We are determined to make the mine successful and we are working towards that. Since its acquisition, the company has undergone tremendous changes and has commenced the journey to being the leading homegrown and sustainable mining concern operating to world-class standards?.
?We remain committed to our values of Responsibility, Integrity, Excellence, Innovation and People-centered which guide the way we operate. We also remain committed to maximizing land-use to benefit our Business, the Communities and other Stakeholders during and beyond mining. We appreciate the interest you demonstrated in our organization. We are able to provide the following responses to your questionnaire and request you publish same. Regarding figures, we suggest you contact the Divestiture Implementation Committee? it noted.
Interestingly, the statement fails to tell the value and the cost of the state enterprise at the time it was purchased by the JOSPONG Group.? In the final part of this investigation, this journalist will tell the general public the real cost of the state enterprise at the time it was purchased by JOSPONG, the real shareholders of the company, including majority and minority shareholders? and the incoming Chinese investors , stay tuned.