As countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, crisis-hit Egypt and out-of-war Rwanda, continue to fly high their national flags, Ghana has a sad story to tell, owing to a blatant lack of foresight and naked greed by some politicians.
The “mortal remains” of one of Ghana Airways’ treasured aircrafts, DC-10, has been refurbished into a decorated “Chop Bar”, known as La Tante Restaurant DC 10, and situated right opposite the plush Marina Shopping Mall at the Airport City in Accra.
This embarrassing story, comes in the wake of reports that properties including, bungalows, huge plots of land and among others scattered across the country, have been grabbed by elements of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), most of who served in the Kufuor regime.
Those who grabbed the huge Ghana Airways juicy plots, offices and bungalows at Airport Residential Area, Kisseman also in Accra, Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region and others places include, ex-Senior Minister, Joseph Henry Mensah, Ursula Owusu-Akufu, the late Dan Agyemanh, a crony of ex-President Agyekum Kufuor and a certain Nana Kweku Duah, said to be a chief in the Ashanti Region.
It is unclear whether the properties were duly valued before they were dished to the politicians. This took place under the watchful eyes of Dr. Richard Winfred Anane, the then Transport Minister in the Kufuor administration.
In the case of Ursula Owusu-Akufu, who is presently an NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West, she is reported to have gotten a two acre land belonging to the national carrier at the much-fancied Roman Ridge area in Accra.
The land is valued around US$3 million, but it is not clear whether she paid this amount.
Meanwhile, a visit to the place last Saturday, revealed an Italian-Ghanaian owned Civil Engineering Company, De Simone Ghana Limited, has purchased the prime state land and is about to build apartments on it, to be known as “Ridge Heights”.
An imposing signpost erected on the plot, showed that the development when completed, will have luxurious penthouses, swimming pools, children pool, Jacuzzis, fitness centre, Health Spa, business centre, Lush landscape courtyard and Golf privileges, in nearby Achimota as well as a 24-hour Concierge.
Details of Ursula Owusu-Akufu’s arrangement with the developer, De Simone Ghana Limited is not immediately known.
While commending the innovation, the first of its kind in West Africa, Transport Minister Dzifa Aku Attivor expressed sadness “that we cannot boast of our own airline, and that our DC-10 which used to fly high the red, gold, green and the black star is today serving as a restaurant”.
The La Tante DC 10 eatery is fully air-conditioned with a unique ambiance reflecting the La Tante brand and a seating capacity of 118. The chairs and tables have been re-designed to meet high operational standards with separate wash rooms for male and female customers.
Mrs. Attivor commended the proprietress of Vindira Company Limited for the decision to convert the disused aircraft into a world-class restaurant and bar. “This is a manifestation of government creation of an environment conducive for sustained business and growth of the Aviation Industry in Ghana.
Mrs. Attivor, further explained that following the decoupling of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority in 2006, the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) was charged among others to focus on an aggressive commercialization business drive that involved various landslide and terminal commercial activities and developments and that La Tante restaurant fell into the airport commercial programme.
She said, the objective of establishing land slide commercial activities of that nature was to diversify the airport commercial portfolio, not only for economic gain to increase non-aeronautical revenue, but also to create the appropriate unique environment that excites the travelling and general public.
She encouraged the operators of the Restaurant to ensure the highest standard of service and the proper maintenance of the facility, so it would contribute to GACL’s commercial drive.
Ms. Indira Shriyan, Director of Vindira Company Limited, operators of the Restaurant said, about eight years ago, her company formed a strategic partnership in the airport retail food and beverage business with GACL after having won the concession contract to operate a restaurant named La Tante Royale, at the International departures of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
“La Tante Royale experienced success in satisfying the expectations of its customers by providing high quality food with an irresistible appeal. Therefore, it came as no surprise when Vindira Company LTD was given the opportunity to develop and manage the proposed La Tante DC10 Restaurant under the La Tante brand name”, she noted.
Ms. Shriyan said, the new restaurant has a well-stocked bar that provide a wide variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to satisfy the tastes of different customer segments and the food menu reflects a typical African cuisine in addition to a variety of continental dishes.
La Tante DC 10 Restaurant, has facilities for outside catering, parties and other social functions like, wedding receptions etc. It also has a high level security put in place to effectively manage the risks of theft and unauthorized access to the facility. Fire safety systems have been installed with the assistance of KUO Fire to control the risk of any fire-outbreak on the premises.
The restaurant would start operation on Monday November 11 and would be opened to the general public.