General News of Wed, 31 Jan 20184
Probe rot at Prestea Sankofa Gold - Group appeals to Akufo-Addo
Human Advocacy Youth Network (HAYN) in the Prestea Huni-Valley of the Western Region has appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to immediately order for an investigation into the complete shutdown of the Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited (PSGL), which resulted in the sack of about three hundred (300) workers.
According to the group, a probe of the matter by the Office of the Independent State Prosecutor, Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), National Security and Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) would unravel the truth, and as well reveal the perpetrators in the financial malfeasance, which caused the shutdown of the state-owned gold mining company.
“We are encouraging the government, media and especially the office of the Independent State Prosecutor to fully cause investigations into the rot at Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited and bring the defaulters to book.”
“Someone may ask what caused the shutdown of the company? Even though it has become necessary for pressure groups to appeal and encourage government to revamp the company, it is also necessary for government to fully investigate the financial malfeasances surrounding the collapse of the company and bring the perpetrators to book,” the group stressed.
In a statement issued and signed by the leadership of the network including Addo Kwame Kyei, Benjamin Quaicoe and Daniel French and copied to Today in Accra yesterday: it cited what they described as “heart-breaking” financial malfeasance” in the company for the past four years.
The group expressed worry over President Akufo-Addo’s government seeming quietness over the state of Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited (PSGL), the only state gold mining company in Ghana.
It explained that the company, which employs close to 300 direct workers, with averagely 1200 dependents and 200 indirect workers and contractors has suffered a massive blow due to mismanagement and huge financial malfeasance on the part of the immediate past board of directors of PSGL.
It pointed out that President Akufo-Addo in August 2016, during a campaign tour at Prestea was briefed about the situation, and he promised the people of Prestea that, when given the nod, he will revive the PSGL.
“Several communiqués and releases, including going to the head office of Economic and Organised Crime (EOCO) has all been pursued by Himan Advocacy Youth Network, yet we are shocked that officialdom at the Presidency or Ministry or GNPC or Ministry of Energy have turned a blind eye to all the information at their disposal,” it explained.
It noted that the revamp of the company, according to the group, has become necessary because, since the ban on illegal small scale mining activities in Prestea and its environs, life has become very difficult for residents of Himan-Prestea whose whole lives have been built around mining.
“We have observed with keen interest the controversies surrounding the operations of Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited. We must say that we are fully aware of government’s intervention to salvage the situation at hand.
“…the desire and willingness to engage in illegal mining in the area is largely attributed to the inability of mining companies operating in the area to absorb the unemployed youth who largely have the desire of mining,” Himan Advocacy Youth Network said in the statement.
The statement noted that the plight of the people of Prestea comes at a point where their means of lively has been banned and the only state mining company which employs about 500 direct workers with averagely 1200 dependents, 200 indirect workers and contractors have been shut down.
According to the statement, workers of PSGL can no longer take care of their immediate families and dependents since they have not been paid for the past nine months.
It revealed that the company’s current situation was very devastating with GH¢4 million residual ore debt, six months unpaid salaries of junior staff, 7 months unpaid salaries of senior staff, 33 months Provident Fund arrears, unpaid SSNIT contribution of workers and so on.
The statement asserted: “This is purely administrative mismanagement which government needs to fully investigate and prosecute those involved.”
The statement further encouraged the government to deal with top management who are found guilty of misappropriation of funds to serve as deterrent to CEOs, boards members and general managers of state-owned institutions.