The
management of JOSPONG Group of Companies has described government’s
recent takeover of the Great Consolidated Diamonds Ghana Limited (GCDGL)
over contract breaches as unlawful.

According
to the company, the facts presented by government for the seizure are
inaccurate and a misrepresentation of the terms of the agreement
executed between the parties.

In a statement copied to Adomonline.com, the company said “The action by SIGA [State Interest and Governance Authority] is illegal, unconstitutional and regrettable in a nation that is governed by the tenets of democracy.

“We
emphasize our position that the conduct of SIGA amounts to total
disregard for rule of law and good governance,” the statement added.

The
Acting Director-General of State Interest and Governance Authority,
Stephen Asamoah Boateng led the takeover last week, renaming it Ghana
Consolidated Diamond Limited (GCDL).

He
cited Clause (13) of the Mining Law as the authority which permits
government to takeover a company that has failed to fulfill contract
obligations.

But
the management of JOSPONG disagree. They said since their acquisition
of the “completely run down” mine, millions of dollars have been
invested into to revive it.

“In
the development plan to revive the mine to full-scale operations, we
have undertaken numerous feasibility studies and development activities
amounting to over 20 million USD.

“The
GCDGL and its strategic partners have reached an advanced stage to
execute a 50 million USD investment to operationalize the mine of which a
memorandum of understanding has been signed,” the statement said.

They
said government’s conduct “created pandemonium in the rather peaceful
community and deprived the community of the very livelihood the facility
had given them over these few years.

“Consequently, the appointment of the Interim Management Committee by SIGA is void and has no legal basis.”

The company said since the matter is already before a court, they will await a final determination from there but assured its stakeholders “including the chiefs and people of Akwatia and the workers that it is doing everything possible to resolve this matter using the appropriate legal remedies.

Below is a full copy of the statement:

JOSPONG’S RESPONSE TO GOVERNMENT’S HOSTILE AND ILLEGAL TAKEOVER OF AKWATIA MINE.

The
attention of the management of the Jospong Group of Companies (JGC) has
been drawn to a publication by the Daily Graphic newspaper on Friday
September 20, 2019 and also in other media platforms on the abrogation
of the Great Consolidated Diamonds Ghana Limited (GCDGL) contract by the
Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) due to the GCDGL’s alleged
inability to meet the contract terms.

We
wish to state that the facts contained in the publication are not
accurate and are a misrepresentation of the terms of the agreement
executed between the parties.

Background

JGC
took ownership of GCDGL from government’s Divestiture Implementation
Committee (DIC) in the year 2011. At the time of acquisition, the
company had been closed down with its premises in a dilapidated state
with obsolete machinery and equipment. 

Upon
the assumption of ownership of the mine in 2011, and immediately after
the execution of the Agreement between DIC and GCDGL, substantial
investments were made in an attempt to revive the mine and make it
commercially viable. Subsequently, GCDGL has also focused on meeting the
necessary regulatory, engineering and restructuring works necessary to
achieve this objective. We wish to state that
all due processes, guidelines and regulations provided by DIC to
regulate the said transaction were duly followed.

Consequently, we hereby address the pertinent issues raised in the publication as follows:

  1. Abrogation of contract by Government
    – Following the acquisition of the mine, GCDGL and the JGC have made
    several attempts to make the mine commercially viable, albeit not yet
    entirely successful. This led to series of communication with the DIC
    with the aim of reaching a mutually satisfactory direction on how to
    proceed with same.

Despite these attempts, the Government acting through DIC by a letter dated 9th
April 2019 purported to abrogate the agreement between the parties
without following due process. GCDGL through their lawyers drew the
attention of DIC’s lawyers to the illegality of the intended action of
the DIC, and proceeded to issue a writ of Summons and an accompanying
Statement of Claim to protect the interest of the company. It is
therefore unfortunate that Government, after filing a Statement of
Defense in the aforementioned suit, proceeded to take over the
management of the company without recourse to the law and tenets of good
governance.

  1. Payment of Consideration-

GCDGL, has
since the acquisition made payments on account, and through its
principal shareholder been in dialogue with Government with the aim of
settling the outstanding liability by way of a set-off from Government’s
liability to the shareholder. Government is yet to respond to this
proposal despite repeated overtures.

  1. Refurbishment of the Akwatia Mine and Hospital

Management
states that since the acquisition of the mine, millions of dollars have
been invested into the mine which had been completely run down at the
time of acquisition. In the development plan to revive the mine to
full-scale operations, we have undertaken numerous feasibility studies
and development activities amounting to over 20 million USD. The GCDGL
and its strategic partners have reached an advanced stage to execute a
50 million USD investment to operationalize the mine of which a
memorandum of understanding has been signed.  

  1. Illegal and Hostile takeover of Mine

The
action by SIGA is illegal, unconstitutional and regrettable in a nation
that is governed by the tenets of democracy. On Thursday 18th
of September 2019, Executives of SIGA assisted by the BNI and military
apparatus illegally entered GCDGL premises, took over the security of
the mine, closed down all the offices, seized staff vehicles and mobile
phones, threatened staff, and closed down the only hospital which serves
the community without regard for the patients who were receiving
treatment. We wish to state that at all times, due notice was not served
on the company.

Their
conduct created pandemonium in the rather peaceful community and
deprived the community of the very livelihood the facility had given
them over these few years. Consequently, the appointment of the Interim
Management Committee by SIGA is void and has no legal basis.

We
emphasize our position that the conduct of SIGA amounts to total
disregard for rule of law and good governance.  As a responsible
company, we reiterate the fact that the matter is presently before a
court of competent jurisdiction and we will, therefore, wait for the
final determination of the matter.

Management
wishes to assure all its stakeholders including the chiefs and people
of Akwatia and the workers that it is doing everything possible to
resolve this matter using the appropriate legal remedies.

The Jospong Group of Companies currently employs over 50,000 people and remains committed to continued contribution to national development through the provision of jobs.

END

COMMUNICATION DIRECTORATE, JOSPONG GROUP OF COMPANIES