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Government settles all ticket claims of GIAL passengers

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The government has settled all validated claims for refund of passengers and travellers who purchased tickets but could not travel on the defunct Ghana International Airlines Limited (GIAL).

A statement issued by the Ministry of Transport in Accra on Monday said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, under the directive of President John Evans Atta Mills, had released GH¢1,306,077.89 for the settlement of the remaining validated claims.

“A directive to that effect, signed by Dr Kwabena Duffour, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on March 18, 2011, authorised the Controller and Accountant General to release the amount to enable the Ministry of Transport to pay validated outstanding refund to Travel and Tour Operators for onward payment of the cost of ticket to the affected passengers,” the statement signed by Mr Kweku Sersah-Johnson, Public Affairs Director, said.

Since GIAL ceased operations in May last year, stranded passengers in and out of Ghana who did not benefit from Government’s initial refund packages have been demonstrating especially at the Ghana High Commission in London demanding their refund.

The statement said GH¢3,664,099.81 had so far been released to meet the refund of all claims validated by the Interim Management Committee set up by the Ministry of Transport to handle the exercise.

“All the claims of about 2,600 passengers have been met as well as payments by Government to other Airlines which were contracted to transport some of the stranded passengers to their various destinations in the wake of the end of the operations of the GIAL.

“With this recent release…the Ministry of transport is of the hope that all outstanding validated claims would have been covered and/or catered for and that this should bring to an end all attendant agitations,” the statement said.

Three former Ministers and a former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of New Patriotic Party (NPP) appeared in court in March last year charged with various counts for the various roles they played in the formation of GIAL and subsequent liquidation of the national carrier, Ghana Airways.

The four are Richard Anane, former Minister of Transport, Anthony Akoto Osei, former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, former Chief of Staff and Samuel Crabbe, former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of NPP.

The four have been charged with stealing, causing financial loss to the State, fraud and deceit of public officer, regarding the roles they played in the formation of GIAL and the subsequent liquidation of Ghana Airways.

Five others were expected to appear with them but they were not present in court. They are Mr Ralf Atkins, Kirk Heaton, Albert Vitali and Brain Brisby, all Former Directors of GIAL and Professor Gyan Baffour, former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

Anane and Crabbe, who is also President of Unger Oaks Limited, minority shareholders of the GIAL, have been additionally charged with wilfully causing financial loss to the State to the tune of $4.9 million.

Akoto Osei was also charged with six additional counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the State, fraud and deceit of public officer.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to self- recognizance bail of GH¢300,000 each.

Source: GNA

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