General News of Thursday, 15 July 2010
Officials of Ghana International Airlines (GIA), say they have gone bankrupt with less than Two Hundred Ghana Cedis in the company’s account.
The woes of the once thriving Airliner continue to deepen since its operations were suspended by government due to its inability to fly passengers.
An alleged embezzlement of ticket sales by management was blamed for the suspension.
In an interview with Citi News on Thursday July 15, the Head of Cost and Accounting at GIA Mr. John Oduro said GIA employees have not been paid since April 2010.
‘‘What has really worsened our situation has been the withdrawal of government support for the company on May 7, 2010. We had our last flight on May 7 and since then, the Aircraft has been withdrawn because government could not commit itself to the extension of the work-lift arrangement we had with Astraus Air’’ he said.
Mr. Oduro revealed that due to the absence of the Aircraft, the company has about 9,000 passengers stranded in Ghana, and several others in London and New York. He said GIA had spent close to 120,000 dollars hotel bills for the stranded passengers in Accra alone, with expenses on those in New York and London yet to be known.
‘‘Sadly, in the face of all these challenges, both Ministers of Transport and his Deputy went on air and indicated that we were still operating. Those are complete lies. They also said they were investigating some allegations of embezzlement of ticket funds. The manipulations and distortions of the fact out there are quite enormous and that’s why we have decided to clarify things’’.
Mr. John Oduro said GIA’s financial burden was mainly as a result of the type of business module it was operating, and until changes were made, the company cannot be productive.
He was disappointed that government had decided to withdraw its support to the airliner instead of exploring alternative options to deal with their plight. He said it would be a total waste of the tax payers’ money for a company that owes the nation close to 64 million dollars to collapse.
“Investors have come to revive the company but government is not willing and is gradually running down the airline. ‘‘As we speak now, the company has less than 200 Ghana cedis in its account. How can you tell us that such a business is operating? We also want them to pay us our outstanding salaries.” He said.
Some GIA staff who spoke to Citi News said the company was virtually on the threshold of a final collapse since its telephone lines have been disconnected with the internet service soon to follow suit.
They said GIA’s office in Accra may soon be closed since management is unable to pay rental fees.