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A former Deputy Minister for Trades and Industry under the erstwhile National Democratic congress (NDC) administration, Hon. Mohammed Murtala has accused the Akufo-Addo government of a deliberate mission to find fault with all the infrastructural projects former Mahama embarked on.
He says the current government’s plan to hand over the Komenda Sugar Factory to a private investor at a devalued cost of $12 million is worrying, especially as it will cause financial loss to the state.
Kicking against the planned sale of the factory that was revived by the Mahama administration at a cost of $35 million to produce sugar and reduce the importation of sugar estimated at 375,000 tonnes and worth about $75million into the country at the time, the Nanton MP rubbished claims that there was no funds to run the factory.
Mr Murtala who was speaking on Ete Sen on Radio XYZ observed that the comments from President Akufo-Addo and Trades and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen that the previous adminsitration did not plan the project well were “irresponsible” and “ill informed.”
He explained that the Mahama administration left a loan facility of about $24 million to continue with the operations of the factory and wondered why the NPP government had refused to make the factory work.
The former minister accused the Akufo-Addo led administration of only trying to “bastardise the good works of John Mahama” for political expediency.
“Why the rush to selling something that is viable? Is it not shocking that government is devaluing the company to sell it to their foreign friends?” he questioned.
He told host Kwame Minkah had allocated about $24 million to pump into the cultivation of sugar cane on about 300 acres of land thus shutting down the factory and sell the sugarcane plantation to distillers of the local alcoholic beverage popularly known as ‘akpeteshie’ was wrong.
“All the strategic investors are only foreign companies, they [the NPP] should come and deny,” he said while challenging the government to publicise the forensic report showing that the factory had been devalued.
The government has linked the shutdownto financial and technical challenges.
Earlier this month, Trade Minister, Alan Kwadwo kyerematen told Parliament plans of handing over the factory to a new strategic investor by the end of April.
He announced that government had conducted a technical audit into what caused the shutdown of the factory months after it was opened for operations.
“The Ministry in an effort to put the factory in production decided to initiate a new process in consultation with the transaction advisers to attract another strategic investor to acquire the assets of the Komenda Sugar Factory. I envisage that the final decision in respect with this matter will be taken by end of April,” Mr Kyerematen explained.
But Mr Murtala who is angry about the planned sale of the factory said the government’s “unfortunate [and] irresponsible” are “outright lies” that should be ignored.
KEEA MP Angry
Meanwhile the Member of Parliament for Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem Constituency, Mr Samuel Atta Mills, has expressed anger over the devaluation of the $35-million Sugar Factory to $12 million by the government of Ghana.
The brother of late President John Evans Atta Mills does not understand why value off the factory could reduce drastically within a year.
Mr Mills has charged the Auditor-General and the Special Prosecutor’s office to investigate the matter.
“We cannot sit down for these things to happen. If somebody was to steal two goats and a chicken, we all know how many years this person will get [in jail], but I am basing my conclusion on this: that if it is true that it has been valued at $12 million, we need to be very worried in this country,” he said last week.
Meanwhile, former president John Mahama, under whose tenure the plant was revamped has described the decision to hand over the factory to investors as improper.
Speaking to journalists in the Central Region last weekend, Mr. Mahama said the planned sale was not in the interest of Ghanaians and debunked claims that his administration was planning to sell the Komenda Sugar Factory.
It is unacceptable to sell the factory; this is an investment the government made. We can get the expertise and technology to make this factory work. Sugar is one of the products we import a lot…so if we produce part of that sugar here, then it reduces the foreign exchange we have to take outside to import sugar. I will urge the government to follow the path that we took,” he said.