GIPC CEO moves entity out of free public accommodation to pay high rent in private property

Yoofi Grant

The CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Reginald Yoofi Grant, has been mentioned to have taken an expensive decision that is costing the Centre and the state. He has moved the entity from a public facility which came at no cost to a private commercial property costing an arm and a leg.

Some GIPC workers believe that the current state of affairs at the organization is due to the CEO’s decision, describing the relocation plan to the private commercial facility as a bad deal for the funds-starved company that is also struggling to pay its workers’ salaries.

Information obtained from our investigations indicates that the 65-year-old Grant persuaded the board of directors of the GIPC to relocate their office accommodation to a private property at Cantonments in Accra, which is owned by real estate tycoon, Kwaku Bediako of GoldKey Properties Limited who is said to be Grant’s friend, where the GIPC is paying a colossal amount of money in rent.

As we tried to find out the reasons why Mr. Grant convinced the board of directors to vacate the free accommodation government provided in the Public Services Commission (PSC) building to pay rent to a private commercial business at Cantonments, a written response by the Right To Information Officer, Jonas Danquah said, “the need to move to a new office was not solely the preserve of the CEO as even prior to his appointment, there had been pressure to relocate due to the inappropriateness of the old office which had run down considerably.”

Then we asked further whether they had paid for the rent in Kumasi, the official said “the rent of $14,000 for the Kumasi regional office is outstanding. The delay in payment is due to liquidity challenges that are being resolved.”

The workers who asked for anonymity because they fear they could be victimized, indicated that the office space at the private property is smaller than the free office accommodation that the GIPC was occupying in the PSC building, adjacent to the Ministry of Finance at the Ministries enclave.

In their view, the huge amount paid in rent and its ancillary works, is one of the major reasons why the GIPC is in financial difficulties, and unable to pay salaries on time. For instance, February salaries were paid on April 3, 2024, stressing that “after paying this rent amount, we had to spend a lot more money to partition this smaller facility.”

“As of 7th March 2024, GIPC staff salaries had not been paid, due to cashflow delays, resulting from a client payment which did not come through on the due date. The matter has been resolved and February salaries have been paid.”  This was the feedback when we asked to know why as of the 7th of March, February salaries had not been paid.

The GIPC is paying GoldKey Properties Limited incremental rent from GH¢3.25 million in 2020 to GH¢7.6 million, way above 100 per cent increment within three years, without taking the Rent Control Act into consideration.

Available figures on the yearly rent paid so far showed that in 2020, the rent was GH¢3,255,840.00; in 2021 it was GH¢3,594,777.73; in 2022 it went up to GH¢4,086,296.06 and then astronomically shot up to GH¢7,594,213.00.

Meanwhile, the Rent Control Department (RCD) says property owners do not have the right to increase their rent charges without permission from the Department, and that, rent can only be increased after the Department has conducted an assessment of the property and issued a certificate of satisfaction.

Under Ghana’s Rent Control Act, 1963, Act 220, the RCD has the authority to regulate rent and provide guidelines for rent increases. The Act provides guidelines for setting rent charges, including the maximum percentage that landlords can increase and the frequency of rent increases. The Act says that rent increases can only be made once every two years and are limited to a maximum of 10% of the existing rent.

In 2021, there were news reports stating that Mr. Grant under the auspices of the Board, decided to move from a free office accommodation at the PSC building to a rented property at Cantonments, which is smaller than the free one, even though the Centre could not afford it.

According to some aggrieved staff of the GIPC then, the move by the management of the Centre, led by Mr. Grant to expend that staggering amount of money on rent for its new Head Office, had become a matter of concern, especially, in these difficult times. They also averred that the GIPC’s expenditure in the year 2020, exceeded its income, as a result of these spendings and excessive travels by top management.

“The tenancy agreement was shrouded in secrecy, and was largely between the CEO, Board Chairman and few others, without the involvement of our senior staff,” they said.

Surprisingly, what has become like a tradition is that, the GIPC first occupied the PSC building for some years before moving out during President Kuffour’s regime, and returned during the Atta-Mills’s administration before going out again in 2020.

The aggrieved staff have further raised concerns about their over-aged boss, and are calling on the President to do the needful by replacing him with a younger person who can help revive the Centre.

Article 199 of the 1992 Constitution is explicit on the retirement age and pensions of public officers, which makes Grant’s contract automatically coming to an end without the legal possibility of a renewal or extension after reaching 65 years on March 20, 2024. But Grant’s contract has been extended to the end of the year even though he has crossed the legal obligatory age of 65 years.

Whilst clause 1 of Article 199 states that “A public officer shall, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, retire from the public service on attaining the age of sixty years,” clause 4 says “Notwithstanding clause (1) of this Article, a public officer who has retired from the public service after, attaining the age of sixty years may, where the exigencies of the service require, be engaged for a limited period of not more than two years at a time but not exceeding five years in all and upon such other terms and conditions as the appointing authority shall determine.”

In spite of that, Mr. Grant, who is now 65 years old, surpassing the legal age limit for the position, is still at post and when a question was posed to find out about his birthdate and when his current employment contract ends, the RTI Officer said “the birthdate of GIPC’s CEO is 20th March 1959. The Information on the end of employment contract lies within the jurisdiction of the Office of the President.”

Meanwhile, on August 5, 2022, Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare signed a letter, which referenced the 2022 Budget statement and Economic Policy, suspending approval of post-retirement contract appointments, except in cases where the retiring officer’s skills are in short supply and unavoidably needed.

By Innocent Samuel Appiah

1 Comment
  1. Inno says

    Ghana paa nie?

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