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30.07.2004 Business & Finance

Former owners of Subin Timber Company Limited take over venture

By GNA

Apowa (W/R), July 30, GNA - The family of Mr Ohene Kwofie, Managing Director of the defunct Subin Timber Company Limited (STCL), has announced a take over of the one time leading timber firm in the country.

Mr Opoku Adabo, eldest son of Mr Kwofie who announced the take over at a press conference at Kwesimintim, a suburb of Takoradi on Thursday said Mr Samir El Masri, and Dr Rex Chachu, directors of the company, after its seizure in 1982, should be held accountable for making the hitherto booming company bankrupt.

The press conference was preceded by a one-hour demonstration by the family at the company's premises.

Dressed in black clothes with red-armed bands, they carried placards some of which read: "We have had enough", "We are here to take what belongs to our father," and "PNDC was illegal including everything it stood for."

Mr Kwofie, the Managing Director had 51 per cent shares in the company while his Italian friend Ivo Fiorini, owned 49 per cent shares. STCL was merged with Western Timber Limited and registered as the Western Veneer and Lumber Company.

The new company was under the management of Dr Chachu and Mr Richard Butt and later Mr El Masri.

At the time of the seizure, STCL was worth 35 million US Dollars in machinery and equipment and had a workforce of more than 3,000 people. Mr Kwofie said the company was heavily indebted to the tune of 82 billion cedis as a result of bureaucracy during the NDC/PNDC era. He said in 1992 when the family appealed to the courts to intervene they were asked to wait for the establishment of the Commission for Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to deal with the matter. The family petitioned the CHRAJ in 1993 and was awaiting its verdict, "even though it acknowledged we have a genuine case and that the confiscation of STCL was erroneous".

"To the best of our knowledge there is no second or third party vested interest in the company and therefore the Government should not find it difficult to restore the company to its owners."

Mr Kwofie said in 2001 a Ministerial Committee that reported on the issue, indicated that officially the merger of STCL never took place.

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