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26.11.2002 General News

Fraud Office Investigating Irregular Expenditure At FZB

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The Ministry of Trade and Industry says the Serious Fraud Office is investigating allegations of irregular expenditure of about two billion cedis on the renovation of the offices and residence of the former Acting Director of Ghana Free Zones Board.

A statement issued in Accra in reaction to allegation made by the Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, in respect of expenditure made by the then Acting Director of the Ghana Free Zones Board said the Ministry would take the necessary action after the completion of investigations.

The Ministry said the expenditure was incurred without the prior approval of the Ministry and the Board, which is chaired by the Minister.

The statement said the Acting Director, who was on secondment from the Trade Ministry has been recalled to the Ministry, while investigations by the Auditor-General Department and the Serious Fraud Office are currently underway.

It said the Minister of Trade does not have any personal representative at the Free Zones Board as was being peddled around.

Meanwhile, the Free Zones Board is to adopt a land use plan that would ensure that companies producing similar goods are grouped together in the same location within the export enclave.

In this connection, the Board is to redesign the original plan of the export zones to conform to the new vision to allow for the smooth implementation of the programme.

Mr Andy Appiah-Kubi, the Acting Director of the Free Zones Board, announced this during a visit of the Board to the project site on Monday to inspect the progress of work. According to him, the provision of various infrastructure and services such as good roads, drains, electricity and water is key to making the zone attractive for potential investors to locate their companies there.

Mr Appiah-Kubi said the government's disposition towards the growth of the private sector and the offer of generous concessions and incentives unparalleled in the sub-region could help boost interest in the operations of the zones to enhance employment.

The Board members inspected the progress of construction work on the dual carriage way to the zones, the drains, water reservoir and treatment plants.

The World Bank is financing the water supply and drainage system and the roads at the total cost of about 102 billion cedis.

Nana Asafo-Boakye, Co-ordinator of the project, said work on the roads and drains is expected to be completed in January 2003 and the water reservoir construction, in June.

Mr Dennis Vormawor, a Board Member, said he was satisfied with the progress of work at the offshore site but said the provision of water to the zone is one of the critical issues that government had to deal with.

He said appropriate steps need to be taken to ensure that water supply to the Tema township and nearby communities is not affected.He said one way to prevent that situation is to build a water reservoir at Michel Camp, saying the Board would do all it could to ensure that this is carried out.Mr Vormawor said the Volta River Authority and the Electricity Company of Ghana would extend electricity to the companies and expressed the hope that they would enjoy unimpeded services.

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