...aggrieved GhanaAir staff carry coffin with the inscriptions 'Anane go for AIDS test' MR KEN Anku, head of the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Road Transport, has virtually rubbished the calls for the resignation of Dr. Richard Winfred Anane, the sector minister.
According to Anku, the Road Transport Minister has not done anything to warrant resignation, pointing out that whoever thinks the minister had infringed on their rights, should seek a redress in court.
“The minister has done nothing discretionary, and arbitrary to warrant his resignation”, he insisted.
Speaking on Peace FM, an Accra radio station, on the resurgence of the Ghana Airways crisis, he noted, since Ghana was not under the rule of a jack-boot, the appointing authority, was reasonable, and cannot succumb to uninformed public sentiments.
He wondered why Ghana Airways staff had had emotional attachment to the comatose airline. He, in turn, blamed the marauding staff for the woes of the airline.
Mr. Anku explained that the workers of the airline had no justification in calling for the resignation of the minister, adding that, “the calls are frivolous and unfounded”.
Mr Anku also dismissed the insinuation that there were under-hand dealings during the bidding for Ghana Airways, noting that, all the bidding companies were adequately informed that the debt of the airline would be ring-fenced.
“On February 17, 2004, all the competitors was adequately informed about the plans to ring-fence Ghanair debts”.
He stated that there was no iota of truth that the KLM/Kenya Airways/Fidelity Group was short-changed.
According to him, even though the group topped in the assessment of the proposals, it was not ready to take a risk in the venture, by picking up equity, before the Ghana International Airlines (GIA) was selected. GIA, he indicated, drew up a business-plan, and was willing to take up 30 per cent of the stock in the new airline.
The KLM Group, Anku announced, was interested in management contract, only, which was in contrast to the government's quest for a strategic partner.
He wondered why certain media houses would want to fight KLM's battle for it. “Does it mean that they like KLM more than themselves?” He queried. Anku stated that the intended co-operation between the GIA and Ethiopia Airlines, which generated the hullabaloo, was captured in the business-plan submitted by GIA.
Ghana Airways, at the time of its winding-up, had incurred debts to the tune of $160 million, with a series of assortment of problems, including the suspension of its North American route, for violating US aviation laws and regulations.
Three airplanes had also been seized in Rome, Italy, where a $22 million debt is currently waiting to be settled.
It will be recalled that a section of aggrieved workers of Ghana Airways, at the May Day parade, at Independence Square, called on President Kufuor to relieve Roads Transport Minister, Dr Richard Anane, of his duties at the ministry.
The workers alleged that Dr Anane has failed to facilitate the improvement of their welfare, and should, therefore, be fired.
Workers of Ghana Airways had promised to take advantage of the May Day celebrations to register their displeasure against the delay in reaching a decision on their severance awards, after government's move to wind up the airline.
In addition to bad mouthing, and hurling verbal abuse at the Road Transport Minister, the workers also captured their sentiments on placards, a few of which read, 'Bogus GIA', and 'President Kufuor, shine your eyes'.
The aggrieved staff also carried a coffin with the inscriptions 'To let Anane for burial', 'Anane go for AIDS test' and 'GIA & Co, Rest in Peace'.
The group alleged that members of the Ghana Airways task force are being paid, a per diem, of ¢1 million a day.
They claimed many of them have not been paid for the past four months, whilst a number of them have been unfairly laid, off. Nii Ayi noted that government should respond to their cries to save their families.
“Ghana Airways staff are suffering, our children are sitting in the house, because they have been sacked from school. Our children could not sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) because there is no money for the registration, as well as school fees. So, we are pleading with government to come to our aid”, he stated.
The group has arranged a number of meetings dubbed, “Anane Meetings” to draft out a formal petition to President Kufuor.
Meanwhile, Daily Guide has laid its hands on a forensic audit report which catalogues the genesis of the problems which bedevilled the national carrier. It will hit the newsstands on Monday.