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27.10.2004 General News

VALCO deal draws Minority's anger

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Accra, Oct 27,GNA - The Minority group in Parliament criticised the Presidency for rushing through the deal to take over the 90 per cent share offer of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO).

"This is being rushed through. We know we have to take a decision but we have to know the details before we do so,'' Mr Seidu Adamu, Minority Spokesman on Energy said.

Their anger and frustration was eased by a reconciliatory speech given by Papa Owusu Ankoma, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, who appealed for the group's support for ''a peculiar transaction.'' He said time was essential but Parliament could not have time to look at the deal until all issues have been settled.

The minister said although a memorandum was placed before the house in July, the House's sitting arrangements and other issues pertaining to the deal had brought about this "special circumstances."

Mr Adamu had criticized the government for "fumbling with the negotiations and this has put us in a difficult situation... Some of us are ready to make concessions though."

Mr Doe Adjaho, Minority Chief Whip, asked how five million dollars was paid to VALCO as part of 18 million dollar deal without Parliamentary approval.

He suggested that the intended 9.5 million dollar pay off package for the VALCO workers should be worked into the final agreement of purchase to ensure payment.

Mrs Hannah Tetteh-Kpodar, NDC-Ewutu Senya, said," we are in this deal due to Kaiser bankruptcy rather than our government's ingenuity.'' Kaiser Aluminium and Chemical Corporation, a majority shareholder of VALCO, has offered to sell its shares in the company to the government of Ghana for 18 million dollars.

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