The Ghana Consolidated Diamonds (GCD), company limited, popularly called Akwatia Diamonds seems to have reached the end of its operational life due to the lack of political will by state actors to revive it.
The gradual collapse of GCD can clearly be attributed to corruption at the highest level by political actors and their business partners who deliberately milked the state institution and gambled with its future to the detriment of thousands of employees who lost their jobs and livelihoods.
There was joy and Pandemonium in Akwatia in 2019 when the government of Ghana through the state Enterprises Commission took over the management of GCD from the JUSPONG GROUP of companies,( a waste collection company)with the aim of reviving its operations to create and sustain jobs for the people of Akwatia and surrounding Towns but the promise seems to have hit a snag after two years and the diamond mine currently lies in ruins.
The JOSPONG GROUP, a waste collection and management company took over the Diamond Mine in 2011 when it was sold to its owner, Joseph Siaw Agyapong at a cost of USD$17 million under the Atta Mills, John Dramani Mahama’s National Democratic Congress Administration. It immediately changed the name of Ghana Consolidated Diamonds GCD to Great Consolidated Diamonds (GCD) with a promise to revive it into a viable and profitable entity that would employ close to two thousand people.
After about 10 years of taking charge of Ghana’s only diamond company, JOSPONG paid only US$3.2 million to the state of Ghana out of the US$17 million, checks at the Divestiture Implementation Committee reveals.
Three years after the assumption of office by the New Patriotic Party, government took over the management of the diamond company and placed it under the care of the State Enterprises Commission (SEC) in 2019. There was a promise to revive the diamond mine during the period and pay salaries of staff numbering about 200 that were in arrears for many years, retooling of warehouses, rehabilitation of equipment’s and machinery at site and at the company’s only clinic that have broken down for many years.
Robert Bosompem is a native of Akwatia and a tour Guide who always takes this reporter on tour of the GCD facilities whenever he pays a visit.
He tells me that the only thing government is seen to have done is the re-connection of the GCD estate and other facilities to the national grid. Power supply to GCD was disconnected in 2015 under the John Mahama administration, leading to the closure of the GCD clinic. For over two year the GCD estates and its enclave were all disconnected from electricity power supply.
The former managing Director of the GCD, Nana Gabby in an interview stated that an investment of US$100 Million is required o resuscitate it diamond company. he rebuffed allegations that diamonds in GCD concessions were finished.
“It’s not true that the diamonds in GCD’s concession are finished. the huge concession contains both diamonds and gold and other minerals. it is a big concession which stretches as far as Akyem Oda from Akwatia we have thousands of carats and ounces of Gold here. what is required currently is capital investments to purchase equipment, pay workers salary arrears, refurbish the dilapidated facilities and equip the clinic in a bid to bring back GCD to life.
Nana Adwoa Owusua, (Asona Hemaa) Asona Queen mother of Akwatia said prior to the sale Akwatia Diamond Company (GCD) was supplying water to the entire communities within the enclave. ‘The company was giving us electricity as well and gave our children scholarship to study from the primary to the university and other tertiary institutions and did other corporate social activities. Since the company changed hands they have stopped providing us with these facilities. The water is not flowing, we use borehole for wash and cooking and then drink pure water to survive. We pay the light bills ourselves when our children and husbands have been laid off and are unemployed. All the farmlands have been destroyed and turned to mine lands deriving us of our livelihoods.
‘Akwatia Diamonds was established in 1924 and was managed by the colonial masters like the apartheid system in South Africa. They captured and seized huge portions of lands from our forefathers who were illiterates at the time. In spite of that they operated the mines well. They gave us jobs and scholarship and other social amenities like schools, water, electricity, golf course among others. Recently, we heard that government wanted to sell GCD because it wasn’t making profit. Nobody sat with us over it to deliberate over it in 2011 we were there when people came from Accra to celebrate the changeover. I don?t know how it was done and how much it was sold and where the money went. They went ahead to retrenched all the workers and put their own people at post. This is injustice.
The member of parliament for Akwatia constituency Hon Henry Boakye Yiadom has however promised to do his best to help revive the collapsed Ghana Consolidated Diamond Limited.
Speaking to the press at the first 2021 general Assembly meeting of Denkyembour District he said , reviving the collapsed company is his priority.
Great Consolidated Diamonds (GCD), formerly known as Ghana Consolidated Diamonds, is the West African country’s only commercial diamond company. It owns the Akwatia diamond mine, which produced more than 100-million carats of diamonds since the inception of commercial operations in 1924 situated in the Denkyembour District with numerous employees. This created avenue for the people of the town and beyond in terms of employment.
The MP Hon Henry Boakye Yiadom popularly known as Okoyo said, since the inception of the 8th parliament the government has set up ministries to coordinate and work towards reviving the company.
He says unemployment situation in the constituency keeps on increasing due to gradual collapsing of gold/diamond mining in the district because of unhealthy nature of minerals exploitation by the miners. With this, Mr Henry Boakye is yet to form a task force that will be in place to check and regulate mining activities so as to create employment for substantial amount of people in the district.
He moreover noted that, with his interpersonal skills and relationship with the electricity company of Ghana (ECG) he is yet to Organize a consultation meeting with them to provide about 1000 meter’s to the people leaving at GCD Quarter’s and camp to enjoy uninterrupted power supply.
Hon Okoyo revealed that is has come to his notice some staff in the GCD Hospital have not received salaries over a year. Meanwhile he will present a statement on the floor of parliament if they resume.
Hon Henry Boakye Yiadom in his remarks plead with the entire constituents to support him in divers’ ways to bring the town to it’s normal state.
Akwatia district has a population of 95,945, as at the year 2018.
By Kwabena Adu Koranteng