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04.03.2005 Business & Finance

False Start For Ghana International Airline

By Palaver
False Start For Ghana International Airline
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President John Agyekum Kufuor officially announced the “death” of Ghana Airways in his 2005 'State of the Nation' Address, and also took the opportunity to announce the imminent “birth” of a new “Ghana International Airlines” (GIA). According to industry sources, the new Airline is to be owned jointly by the Government of Ghana (70%) and a Mormon Group from the USA (30%).

Snippets of information coming in from Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Mormon Group is based, however reveal that the new Airline is already off to a false start. According to our sources, the GIA has a total of two staff, both Mormons from the USA, who have been lobbying Ghanaian Companies such as Databank Ltd and the Fidelity Group and other Companies, to invest in the GIA.

No International Investors for GIA Our sources also state that the two Mormons have not been able to find any international investors for the GIS except Ethiopian Airlines who will only invest if they can have the Accra-Baltimore and Accra-New York routes to themselves.

GIA Finances Ghana Palaver has also learnt that GIA has a foreign exchange account with the Standard Chartered Bank in Accra, and that the account is in credit to the tune of US$2.9 million. However, the amount in the account came from royalties due to the bankrupted Ghana Airways, and that instead of using the funds to pay Ghana Airways' creditors, such as staff wages, the amount was diverted into the GIA's account on the orders of the Minister of Road Transport, Dr. Richard “Condom Free” Anane. We are further informed that the Mormon partners of the GIA have not paid any significant funds into the Company yet, and that indeed under the agreement signed with the Minister of Road Transport, Dr. Richard “Condom Free” Anane, the Mormons who will have 30% of the GIA shares do not have to invest themselves. Sources within the Ghana Airways staff have also informed Ghana Palaver that all of the staff and benefits claims of Ghana Airways amount to about US$40 million, but that the Government has offered to pay them only US$2 million, which they have rejected.

Our further information is that to date, the staff have not been legally notified of the termination of their appointments because of the Government's inability to pay them their entitled severance awards and terminal benefits, and because the little money available has been diverted from Ghana Airways to the GIA's bank account. GCAA Downgraded In a related development, and in a typical case of what the Akans describe as “kotere kodi mako ma aponkyereni firi nfifire” (the lizard goes to eat his pepper and it is rather the frog who sweats), one Roger Ramjet, who writes with some authority on Ghana Airways and GIA affairs, has posted on the Internet that with the grounding of Ghana Airways in New York and the revocation of its licenses to operate to the USA, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) was immediately downgraded from being Class 1 country status for Civil Aviation to a Class 2 country according to International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) standards. When GCAA was a Class 1 country for Civil Aviation, it meant that, as of right, all of Ghana's airlines were deemed acceptable to operate into other Class 1 countries in Europe and the USA and countries like South Africa, and Ghana's certificates were acceptable on face value without the need for further inspections of Ghana's airlines and its Civil Aviation Authority's oversight and supervision of its airlines was in effect “trusted”.

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) of the USA noted that it was the first time that it had ever cancelled the license of a National Airline. It was done because of persistent breaches of safety regulations, illegally operating its obsolete DC10 aircraft in contravention of maintenance regulations and maintenance not being done or reported in the log books as required and operating with two expired licenses.

According to Mr. Roger Ramjet, the buck in all this stops with Dr. Richard “Condom Free” Anane, who personally oversaw the demise of Ghana Airways, the mismanagement and subsequent downgrading of the GCAA through his persistent politicising of what are essentially highly technical fields, which incidentally have nothing to do with Gynaecology, his trained speciality. The Ghanair Takeover Imbroglio — THE CHARACTERS BEHIND GHANA INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE Ghana Palaver can today reveal the identities of the three American Mormon characters behind the Ghana International Airlines (GIA), the alleged “strategic partner” to the Government of Ghana, and they give real cause for concern. Ralph Atkin, the first Mormon, allegedly tries to bask in the glory of the US Airline, Skywest, as if he was responsible for Skywest's success. Our information however is that though Atkin used to work with Skywest, he was long gone from operation responsibility, when Skywest started operating United's feeder operation in California, and that Skywest became the airline it is now after Ralph Atkin left. The next American Mormon behind GIA is Albert Vitale of Florida who passes himself off as an ex-Pan Am pilot, but the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) only knows of issuing him a pilot's license in 1993, but only for single-engine aircraft on flights over land. It is known, however, that Pan Am went out of business in 1991. Albert Vitale is reported to be currently in some role with Chalk Airways in Florida, which operates Grumman seaplanes between Miami and Bahamas. Finally, there is Sean Mendis, whose only experience in airline management is that his parents are ex-Air India cabin crew. Mendis however has allegedly boasted to Albert Vitale and others that his father was a management pilot on the 744 fleet. Mendis also allegedly passes himself off as an Aviation Consultant in Canada and India – after getting deported from the USA due to visa violations. This is the “great management team” with “lengthy and successful” track records in commercial air management and operations that Richard “Condom Free” Anane and the NPP Government have contracted to take over Ghana Airways and partner the Government of Ghana to run the new Ghana International Airlines

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