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Achimota Brewery To Return To Owners

The Government is likely to return the Achimota Brewery Company Limited to successors of the original owner of the one time biggest brewery in the whole of West Africa.

The much lobbied for and awaited de-confiscation has become imminent following Government’s announcement to pay compensation to all those roughened up and to return property seized under Ghana’s unconstitutional regimes.

In the probable event of the A.B.C Ltd being returned to the successors of the founder, two purposes would be served: Government would have given meaning to its long quest for reconciliation and restoration of confidence in local business owners to intensify their activities without fear of losing their hard earned wealth. The de-confiscation will, also, finally put to rest proposed taking over of the A.B.C. by Guinness Ghana which seemed all wrapped up until recently when the deal hit the rocks.

The Achimota Brewery that was seized by the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council was established in the late 1960s by Joshua Kwabeana Siaw and christened Tata Brewery Limited, the biggest of its kind at the time in the whole sub region. In addition to the brewery, the military junta that seized power at the dawn of 1982 confiscated buildings, cars, jewelry and cash belonging to Mr. Siaw, presumably because he owned too much in a supposedly poor country.

In the light of the imminent handover, the family of the late Kwahu businessman and philanthropist, popularly known as J.K.Siaw, has commended the government for its desire to heal the wounds of the country and properly reconcile the people.

It says, judging from the way many people were victimized and properties unlawfully seized in the name of a revolution, it takes such a bold step to appease the victims.

The late Siaw’s family was reacting to recent announcements by the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, J. Ayikoi Otoo, and the current one, Joe Gharty, that the government intends to implement the recommendations of the National Reconciliation Commission that victims of atrocities be compensated and seized assets returned to their rightful owners. These statements were given wide publicity in the media last week

The spokesman for the family, Joseph Apeadu Siaw, who is the eldest son of the late J.K. Saiw, praised both the government and the members of the N.R.C. for good work done and anticipated that the compensation and restoration would bring smiles back on the faces of the numerous Ghanaians who had been devastated by the so-called revolutionists.

He recalled that his father who toiled over years to give employment to many Ghanaians, assisted the needy and helped in the development of his community and the country as a whole, lost all his hard-won fortunes; was portrayed as a national wrecker, victimized and died a pauper in a foreign land. He mentioned some of the seized properties aside of Tata Brewery, now Achimota Brewery, as the Goil Head Office building at Adabraka and other edifices in other parts of Accra, Kumasi and Nkawkaw as well as plots of land in those towns and elsewhere in addition to a fleet of vehicles, bank accounts, equipment, household valuables and cash.

Touching on the minister’s difficulty in identifying the right owners of the seized properties, as captured in some of the media reports, Mr. Apeadu Siaw said he had documentary proof and other pieces of critical evidence to prove that his late father owned all those properties.

According to him, he made those proofs available to the N.R.C. when he appeared before it and was ever prepared to assist the minister and the authorities concerned to identify the properties and their actual owners.

The late J.K.Siaw was one of several Ghanaian business tycoons who suffered during the period of the revolution and virtually lost all properties toiled for over the years.

George Antwi

The Heritage - 30 August 2006
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