Business

Attempts to stain image of Free Zones boss Okyere Baafi falls flat

The Ghana Free Zones Authority has parried allegations regarding some internal issues at the state institution following a media report online.

According to a press statement from the management of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, there is a grand scheme in motion well calculated to stain and further tarnish the image of the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, Mr. Michael Okyere Baafi

This comes on the back of a publication on GhanaNewsOnline.com.gh captioned “Corruption: Tension Mounts at Ghana Free Zones Over Executive Director’s ‘Chop Chop’’.

The Free Zones Authority management through the press statement has described the news publication as an empty and non-factual publication by the GhanaNewsOnline.com.gh.

Below is the full statement from the Free Zones Authority setting the records right on the issues raised in the publication

REBUTTAL

The Management of the Ghana Free Zones Authority’s attention has been drawn to a publication in Ghana News Online.com.gh captioned ‘’ Corruption: Tension Mounts at Ghana Free Zones over Executive Director’s ‘Chop Chop’’

The management wishes to state categorically that the publication is nonfactual and aimed at tarnishing the image of the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Michael Okyere Baafi and the Authority.

The Facts

The Ghana Free Zones Authority in compliance with the Pensions Act, 2008, (Act 766) in the year 2013, commenced implementation of the 3 Tier System of pensions. Contributions for Tiers 1 and 2 were accordingly placed with SSNIT and a Fund Manager, Pensions Alliance respectively, as prescribed by the Act.

Pending the appointment of a substantive Fund Manager, the existing Staff Provident Fund was temporarily placed with Fidelity Bank and invested by the Bank. The intent being to accrue interest on the funds through a low-risk investment while Management went through the process of appointing a Fund Manager to whom the funds would then be transferred. At no point in time was the staff pension funds invested with All-Time Capital and Ideal Finance as stated in the publication.

In June 2018, Management withdrew the funds from Fidelity Bank Ltd (at the instance of Staff) and prudently placed the funds with a state institution, SIC Financial Services Limited.

The decision to withdraw the funds from Fidelity Bank was on the back of the agitation of Members of Staff for better management and returns on their contributions. SIC Financial Services at that material time, offered relatively better returns on investments. Being an institution of the state, Management was confident of the security of the investment, while expediting the process of engaging a substantive Fund Manager in accordance with the Act.

In December 2018, Axis Pensions Trust Limited, a duly registered fund manager was appointed as Fund Manager for GFZA Tier 3 contributions. As of date, the GFZA Tier 3 Pension Funds continue to be duly managed by the competent fund manager according to the provisions of the Pensions Act.

Management is committed to retrieving the funds lodged with SIC Financial Services Limited and in December 2018, 50% of the monies invested with SIC Financial Services Limited was redeemed and paid to Staff. As of date, SIC Financial Services Limited is still being engaged by Management to disinvest the outstanding balance of GH?1,336,000.00 and the amount paid out to Staff.

The facts as stated above are verifiable. The publication, therefore, is a total misrepresentation of the facts aimed at dragging the name of the CEO and the Authority into disrepute and Management demands a retraction and an apology immediately failing which the Authority will advise itself on the next course of action.

Issued By

Management

Ghana Free Zones Authority

Source: William Beeko

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