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10.08.2004 General News

Ghana Airways charged £25,000 For Tea & Coffee

By The Independent
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As the fortunes of Ghana Airways continues to plummet, documents available to newsmen have once again reinforced the long held axiom that inappropriate management practices have been the major cause of the airline's current problems.

One of the clearest instances of the above is a £25,000 ($36,375) charge that was debited to the airline's loan account with KBC for coffee and tea supposedly consumed by the airline's officials who negotiated just a $2.5 million tranche of a total $55 million loan facility granted the airline by KBC Bank N.V. of England during the tenure of office of E.L. Quartey Jnr. as Chief Executive.

In the midst of efforts to retrieve some $5 million which Ghana Airways believes was overcharged on the $55 million, the airline's Deputy Head of Finance, David Nortey, who was mandated and leading efforts to claim $5 million from KBC Bank NV has been directed to stop. A complaint the airline sent to the some regulatory agencies, notably the UK's Department of Trade and Industry, the UK Department for International Development, the Belgium Federal Public Service and the UK's Financial Services Authority which draws attention to the asphyxiating terms and conditions of the loan facility and the ridiculous has had to be withdrawn at the insurance of the airline's Acting CEO, Mrs Akua Frimpongmaa Sarpong. A directive which has set tongues wagging.

Sorties into the White Avenue offices of Ghana Airways yielded information that at least one board member of Ghana Airways is closely linked to the KBC racket hence the decision to abort attempts claim any money from KBC. The complaint against KBC, which is in our possession, raises issue with various charges slapped on Ghanair on the KBC facility.

On the $2.5 million tranche of the $55 million loan facility which was obtained March 2001, for example, the Ghana airways complaint states thus “KBC is also yet to supply Ghana Airways with all other loan expense debits to our Collection Bank Account. On the additional US$2.5 million loan in March 2001 for example, KBC debited Ghana Airways Collection Bank Account with a round sum of GBP25,000 (USD 36,375) and described it as 'Out of Pocket Expenses.' That was on top of the USD700,000 in loan fees, USD 100,000 in Management Fees and USD 165,000 in Legal Fees (all paid at source from the USD 2.5m). Ghana Airways staff were already provided fro in terms of per diem, hotel and all other travelling expenses.

Ghana Airways therefore sees this GP25,000 debit as KBC's charge for Ghana Airways staff having consumed KBC's tea and coffee during that London visit. KBC was able to do that simply because it controlled Ghana Airways' collection Bank Account and cold pay itself at will and with whatever amount and without any invoice simply by debiting the said Bank Account. This is a clear case of breach of trust.”