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10.04.2006 Press Review

Editorial: After Ghana Airways, GIA Too?

By Chronicle

Not too long ago, Government officials were praising the management and the board of directors of the new national carrier, Ghana International Airlines (GIA) for a job well done by replacing Ghana Airways with a viable airline. That was at a time when workers of the former national carrier, Ghana Airways, were directly holding political leaders responsible for the problems that grounded the airline, citing unbridled interferences and appointment of management personnel some of whom ended up more of liability.

That was against the back drop of Ghana Airways having had five different Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) within a relatively short time. We seem not to have learnt anything, and forgotten everything.

The message sent out by political interference in businesses, in a manner as of “I'll show you where power lies,” has often sent a loud message to the business community that the environment is not clear enough for them to operate freely without let or hindrance.

In all civilized societies, the rule of law is held paramount and particularly persons who hold public offices, are expected to be the foremost upholders of these laws which guarantee their offices.

It therefore beats our understanding that in this day and age, especially, in the reign of a government that has declared a 'Golden age of Business,' a public official, specifically the Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, who has oversight responsibility for Aviation, would, in a military-junta fashion, seek to change the management of a company with international shareholders, by declaring its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) sacked from office.

There is no doubt that even if the CEO had committed a criminal offence, for a minister of state to physically restrain him from accessing his office and sacking him orally, without offering any legitimate basis, would not serve the interest of the country.

Already, our address as an African country does not help us very much in our investment drive. We still are struggling to have a sustainable and reliable infrastructure for the supply of power and water.

Even as others would be wondering what happened to respect for the rule of law and our claim to having a conducive investment climate, The Chronicle believes that the handling of what appears to be the first open rift between government and the management of Ghana International Airline (GIA) does not portray us as a serious nation.

What would foreign investors think about the country?

The action by government is also inconsistent with Section 185(1) of the Companies Code, which states that “a company may by ordinary resolution at any general meeting remove from office all or any of the directors notwithstanding any thing in its regulations or in any agreement with any director.”

Foreign investors would no doubt have second thoughts and feel unprotected, investing in businesses in which the Government of Ghana has an interest. It is the nation as a whole that would suffer the consequences.

It is important that government officials learned to follow due process in taking decisions that have far-reaching effects such as the firing of the CEO of a company in which the state has an interest.

The Chronicle finds government's handling of the affairs of state airline so far, very disappointing, and hopes that it is not for the selfish interest of a few individuals that the nation is being disgraced before the international business community!

The Chronicle would only want to appeal to the government that so much financial loss has been caused to the state, even if no one has been prosecuted for that. We believe that it is too early to send GIA the way Ghana Airways went.

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