Olympio loses glass factory

After persistent pressure, backed by series of petitions to almost all the ministries in Accra by the people of Abosso, the government has finally decided to take over the Tropical Glass Factory, formerly Abosso Glass Factory, from Mr.

Gilchrist Olympio, Togolese opposition leader who until recently was resident in the country.

Chronicle sources have revealed that immediately the government take-over decision was communicated to Mr. Olympio, now resident in Paris, he also responded quickly by withdrawing the services of the security men at the factory, thus exposing recently installed heavy machines at the mercy of armed robbers.

The decision by the government to take over the company was based on the fact that the company had accumulated electricity bill to the tune of ¢1.5billion since 1992 when the company was handed over to Olympio on 'a silver platter.'

When the electricity authorities realised that Olympio was not prepared to pay the huge debt, they were compelled to cut off power supply to the company.

Unable to get power to work again, Chronicle gathered, the Togolese opposition leader went and collected all the bottles that had already been produced by the company and sold them. He did not sent even a pesewa to EGC to defray part of the debt.

The Electricity Company of Ghana, who are now itching to increase the electricity tariff, did not also deem it fit to bring any legal action against him to reclaim their money.

Chronicle learnt that sometime in 1992, when Olympio took over the management of the company, he allegedly borrowed 200,000 pound sterling from the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), a London-based organisation, to rehabilitate the company, but has up to date failed to pay the money back to his creditors.

After running out of patience, CDC also went to an Accra High Court and reportedly succeeded in getting judgement in their favour to liquidate the company to enable them get their 408,000 pound sterling, which is the original amount plus the interest that has accrued on it.

Meanwhile, the NDC regime, which handed over the company to him in the name of divestiture, had also negotiated and succeeded in getting a Japanese grant of $2.5 million which was handed over to Olympio to reportedly import machinery to equip the company, commissioned by the late President Kwame Nkrumah in 1965 to produce bottles for the local breweries and also for the export.

Chronicle learnt that though the machines were indeed imported and installed at the factory to boost production, the cutting off of electricity supply to the company that employed over 300 people mostly from the area defeated the whole idea.

Investigations further established that the board of directors of the company was packed with Olympio's men only, without any representative from the then NDC government, thus giving Olympio a free hand to manage the company.

Already, a credit account house based in Accra which also claimed the company owed them that had also stormed the factory site at Abosso, near Tarkwa, and forcibly removed airconditioners, deep freezersand other electrical equipment to defray part of the debt.

It was based on all these problems that Olympio had bequeathed to the company that the people welcomed, as good news, the government decision to take over the company, but surprisingly the problem is now running from bad to worse after the takeover.

Chronicle gathered from reliable sources that no government official, not even those from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which has the company under their jurisdiction, has ever visited the factory to even take stock of the modern sophisticated machines that were installed with the help of the Japanese grant.

This reporter gathered that it is rather the workers of the company who were asked to go home without any severance package.

Some them had worked for the company since its inception, others providing a 24-hour security at the company and still others seeing to the clearing of weeds on the compound.

This reporter who managed to outwit the hungry-looking security men and sneaked into the factory was shocked to see heavy modern equipment and heaps of raw materials that are going waste when people are struggling to get work to do in the country.

It was gathered that an investor had shown interest to bail out the company but the liquidation ruling has put him off. But nothing is being heard from the government, even though the heavy machines at the factory are fast deteriorating.

600450 Olympio loses glass factory glassonweb.com
Date: 2 May 2002
Source: All Africa

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