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07.05.2007 General News

EDIF rents office for ¢1.1 billion

By myjoyonline

Emerging details from months of meticulous sleuthing by the Heritage reveal that the scandal-spattered Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) is yet again embroiled in an oddity of financial waste and profligacy following a management and board decision to dole out almost a whopping ¢1.1bn for office premises at an up-market location in the capital city.

An insider told The Heritage that, not even the advice of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Trade and Industry could sway away EDIF, an affiliate of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and PSI from renting the office accommodation at that cut-throat price at Fidelity House near Ridge Hospital in Accra.

This paper has gathered that, getting to the end of last year, a decision was taken by the Minister of Trade, Industry and PSI, Mr. Alan Kyeremanteng and the officials of EDIF to move the latter from its current offices at the ministry.

Different suggestions were made on the next possible destination of EDIF, should it vacate its current premises at the Ministry of Trade with the most auspicious one being the construction of its own office accommodation so as to save money and do away with any inconvenience that renting an office could create.

After several marathon meetings, and following advice from the Ag Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. K M Nkrumah, the Board of EDIF, chaired by Dr. Anthony Osei, gave the approval for the renting of an office accommodation at Fidelity House, close to Ridge Hospital.

Ever since the payment, there have been some disquiet at EDIF and many officials of that institution the Heritage interacted with over the matter expressed the view that, the decision was ill-judged and ill-conceived especially coming on the heels of the uproar generated by a similar issue at the Energy Commission.

EDIF is currently making frenetic efforts at putting the newly acquired offices in shape and is on the verge of partitioning the 13th Floor of the Fidelity House before eventually occupying it.

The initial payment of a little over ¢1.1 billion was just to serve as a rent for the first six months of EDIF's occupation of the floor and with the idea of building a new office now thrown away, there will be the need for another ¢1.1b or more for the renewal of the rent, a situation that has raised some eyebrows and outrage among some senior officials of the institution.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, a high level official of EDIF told the paper that there is almost a consensus among those of the professionals at the Fund that, someone or some people at the top echelon stand to benefit financially from the decision to pay such a staggering amount just for office accommodation.

He said, they are disappointed in both the board and the management for failure to channel such huge resources into building an office accom¬modation that they can call theirs and warned in an adage that, "the day that the tide will go down, they will see all those who are swimming naked."

When The Heritage contacted the Head of Legal and Administration of EDIF, Mrs. Barbara Oteng Gyasi, she said she needed to have a discus¬sion with her superiors on the issue before she could respond.

"It is a matter that needs to be discussed, after it is discussed and I am given the go ahead to respond, I would do so," she told the Heritage.

Asked further to confirm if indeed her office had rented a new place for more than a billion cedis, she said she did not have the figures off the cuff and that it was something that was being paid on a monthly basis.

"It is a monthly rent that we are paying and I do not have the figures off my head so if you call me on Monday and I am in the office, I would be able to tell you the figures," she said.

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