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16.06.2005 General News

Konadu, Others For Trial

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Former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and other directors of the 31st DWM-sponsored Caridem Development Company Limited, are due to be charged for court for their roles in the divestiture and take-over of the former Nsawam Cannery, GYE NYAME CONCORD gathered this week.

Information gathered by this paper suggests that Mrs. Rawlings and a host of other directors have already been invited for questioning by the police in relation to alleged criminal aspects of the case.

They have however reportedly declined to honour the official police invitation, suggesting that they could not understand the basis for the police action since they had issued a civil writ on the case in court against the Ghana government.

Sources say their non-compliance has compelled the police to contemplate arresting them over the issue last week.

But by press time yesterday, Gye Nyame Concord could not reach the police to find out what the position was, though unofficially this paper gathered that they might be arrested and charged over the issue before next weekend.

Recent media reports have also indicated that the Auditor-General, Mr. Edward Dua Agyeman, has also written to the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), over the issue.

He is reported to have questioned the basis for the take-over of the Cannery to Caridem when it was evident that they did not have the wherewithal to meet the terms of payment for the purchase of the once-buoyant food plant they themselves proposed.

Caridem is wholly owned by former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and her 31st December Women's Movement (31DWM).

In his letter, written late last month and headed “DIVESTITURE OF GIHOC NSAWAM CANNERY”, the Auditor-General said “the terms of sale in the DIC offer letter were varied by Caridem in the acceptance letter”.

Caridem, however, failed to keep to their self-varied terms of payment, leading to the accumulation of the principal amount and interest to the tune of ¢8,378,558,799 as of December, 2000 out of which they paid ¢1,319,930,400 on February 12, 2001 “and claimed that the payment was the final settlement of their indebtedness”.

Subsequently, “Asset Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA), was signed between DIC and Caridem on 5th October 2002, the terms of which are inconsistent with the terms of the sale in the DIC offer letter dated 16th January 1995”, the letter said.

This was despite the fact that the offer letter from DIC to Caridem approving the proposal to offload the Cannery to Caridem stated the cost of the assets at ¢2,789,846,000, whereas the agreed terms of payment for the divested plant were that a “ten percent non-refundable commitment fee of ¢278,894,600 shall be received by the Secretariat together with your letter of acceptance not later than Tuesday, January 31, 1995.

Further, “Fifty percent of the purchase price i.e. ¢1,394,923,000.00 shall be paid to the Secretariat upon the execution of Sale and Purchase Agreement detailing out the terms of this offer which shall not be later than Friday, March 3, 1995. The property would be then handed over to you.

“The final payment of twenty percent of the purchase price ¢557,696,200.00 shall be paid to the Secretariat within 12 (twelve) months after the date of execution of the Sale and Purchase Agreement”.

And finally “the deferred payments would attract interest at the Treasury Bill rate”.

Caridem was thereby notified to indicate its “acceptance of the offer and its terms by Tuesday, January 31, 1995”.

The letter stated that in the event of Caridem's failure to indicate its acceptance of the offer together with the payment of the non-refundable commitment fee by the deadline, DIC would automatically withdraw the offer.”

Though Caridem in its acceptance letter agreed to pay the ¢2,789,846,000.00 for the assets, it requested that the terms should be reconsidered so “that the ten percent non refundable commitment fee of ¢278,984,600.00 be paid not later than 28th February, 1995”, with the explanation that the offer letter was late in reaching them.