The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) Ghana has asked the Energy Ministry to publish the report of the three-member investigatory committee it set up to probe the impasse at the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company Limited (GCMCL).
The energy think-tank is also calling for the immediate sacking of Frances Essiam as the CEO of the Cylinder Manufacturing Company.
Madam Essiam is being accused of awarding several contracts worth millions of Ghana Cedis without recourse to the governing Board of the GCMCL—an allegation she vehemently denied.
Speaking to Starr News in May, Madam Essiam said she is a woman of “substance” and “incorruptible” describing the allegations as a “barrage of lies” and “borne out of hatred and malice.”
The allegations led to her suspension by the GCMCL Board appointing the Technical Director of the company, Mr. Ezekiel Mensah to act in the absence of Madam Essiam.
The directive of the Board, however, was suspended by the Energy Ministry, during a meeting between officials of the Ministry and members of the Board.
The Ministry subsequently in a statement announced the constitution of a three-member investigatory committee to probe the impasse at the GCMCL.
COPEC’s demand follows the dissolution of the Board of the Cylinder Manufacturing Company on the orders of President Akufo-Addo Wednesday.
In a statement Thursday the Executive Secretary of COPEC Duncan Amoah said: “…Ghanaians will want closure on this matter and will be happy for the Ntrakwa Committee Report to be published immediately.”
Madam Essiam, Mr. Amoah added must also “face a stiffer sanction as anything other than this has the huge tendency to gag all other Governing Boards of SOEs across the country and will render their use ineffective going forward.”
Below is the full statement
CHAMBER OF PETROLEUM CONSUMERS-GHANA
GCMC BOARD DESOLUTION:
SACK GCMC MD TOO IMMEDIATELY OR PUBLISH REPORT.
The Current state of the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company (GCMC) indeed leaves a lot to be desired following from the recent impasse between the Governing Board and the Managing Director.
Accusations bothering on financial malfeasance and procurement breaches against the MD in respect of a $5million equipment procurement and some GH¢ 2.5 million sole sourced expansion works within the company as well several other unilateral decisions without any regard or recourse to the governing board got to a head in May this year when the company had to be locked up full day to prevent the Seven-Member Board from holding a board meeting inside the premises of GCMC.
This then forced the Board to convene the meeting outside the premises of the company at which they unanimously agreed to suspend the MD who they believe was acting against good corporate governance practices.
This suspension decision will be subsequently also suspended and a three Member Ntrakwa Committee constituted to probe all the issues and submit a report in two weeks.
The said Committee has submitted its findings or report on the matter which has subsequently led to a decision to so far suspend only the BOARD.
As a precursor and a precedent to good corporate governance of all other State Owned Companies (SOEs) across the country, one would have expected the report or outcome of the committee’s findings will be published to detail whatever the real issues are though our private checks indicate the report did not in any way vindicate the CEO of the allegations but the public who followed these developments so far are only being given a communique to the effect of a dissolution of the Board.
One is tempted to ask is this latest action to indicate the CEO has been cleared of all charges? or rather another vile attempt to cover up whatever the alleged rots, stealing and breaches that has been occasioned at the company for which the Board raised issues?
Do we take it as another case of protecting the Government’s favorite whiles the real issues are swept under the carpet as this might also send a wrong signal to all other State Owned Companies across the country such that the supervisory functions of the Board as vividly captured in the 2016 Public Financial Management Act 926 page 90.
Corporate Ghana and indeed the ordinary public is looking keenly as to the eventual outcomes of this particular development and whether the functions of the Governing Boards of other SOEs will not suffer negatively going forward following from the outcomes of this particular issue.
Even though the government is under no obligation to state reasons for its recent actions or decision we believe it will be prudent to clear the myriad of issues arising from the numerous accusations bothering on malfeasance and procurement breaches.
Where the Board having found evidence of wrong doing and procurement breaches which they have uncovered and duly petitioned on same to the Ministry and having subsequently gone ahead to invoke their jurisdiction to sanction an offending member i.e. the MD rather gets dissolved whiles the CEO whose activities remain suspicious remains at post.
We believe Ghanaians will want closure on this matter and will be happy for the Ntrakwa Committee Report to be published immediately or the CEO also face a stiffer sanction as anything other than this has the huge tendency to gag all other Governing Boards of SOEs across the country and will render their use ineffective going forward.