The Minority in Parliament wants the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company, Frances Essiam, surcharged for any possible losses incurred by the company due to the brief protest by the staff.
Madam Essiam reportedly locked out the company’s Board members on Tuesday, and asked the workers to go home, after receiving information that the Board had scheduled a meeting at the company’s premises.
[contextly_sidebar id=”mIho78Oe5cxGtLhdPvqkciW2U5HNJ8U3″]The Board members left the precincts of the company to hold the meeting elsewhere, out of which six of the nine members voted for her to be suspended.
This led to a protest by workers of the company, who said their boss was not being treated fairly. They were however asked by Madam Essiam, who had clearly defied the suspension to return to work, assuring them that she remains at post as the CEO.
However, speaking to Citi News‘ Duke Mensah Opoku, Minority Spokesperson on Mines and Energy, Adams Mutawakilu, said Mrs. Essiam’s directive to the staff to remain at home and their subsequent protest might have already cost the nation some money.
According to him, Mrs. Essiam should be surcharged for the losses incurred from the decision taken by the workers to down their tools in solidarity with their CEO, as she had instigated the protest.
“The CEO took it upon herself and said that [the workers] shouldn’t come. Who pays for that? Assuming we were being paid for output and not just time in Ghana, that means that they would have lost [their salaries] and the workers themselves wouldn’t have agreed. That economic loss should be surcharged to the CEO.”
CEO, Board in tussle
There has been unrest at the company over the CEO’s disregard for some directives issued by the company’s Board.
The Board had queried Madam Essiam over claims that she had mismanaged GCMC, and also awarded some contracts without the approval of the Board or the Energy Ministry, with the discord eventually leading to their vote for her suspension.
A three-member independent committee was subsequently set up by the Energy Ministry in collaboration with the State Enterprises Commission [SEC], to probe the allegations and the subsequent disagreement with the Board.
However, Adam Mutawakilu has described the setting up of the Committee as another attempt to cover up the ‘rot’ at the company, which he says has been the case in a number of other scandals under the current government.
“I see the committee that was set up by the Minister as a cover-up. Why not? We have seen several instances where, in a bid to cover up rots, committees are set up. Let’s take the contaminated fuel saga for instance; the Minister set up a committee and asked that within one month he needed the report. As we speak today, there is no report before the Committee.”
“On the diversion of premix, there was a committee that was set up to investigate and as we speak there is no report; so this is another methodology that they want to use to cover up that rot. The CEO or the suspended CEO must account to us what equipment she sold as scrap. Who approved the 500 million cedis for the payment of salaries? How many contracts were awarded without the Board’s approval?”
Despite the vote by the Board, the Executive Chairman of State Enterprises Commission [SEC], Stephen Asamoah Boateng, refuted claims that Frances Essiam had been suspended.
Mr. Boateng, speaking on Asempa FM’s Eko Sii Sen on Wednesday, said “it is not true that the CEO has been suspended.”
“I am currently working on a report to be given to the appointing authority in the evening before the President who is billed to travel, leaves. I have also spoken to the factions involved. I have spoken to the leaders and there seem to be some form of calm at the moment,” he added.
He was however hopeful that the Committee which is to produce its report in the next two weeks, will do a good job.
By: Edwin Kwakofi/citinewsroom.com/Ghana