…Suppliers Gang Up Against Ghana Water Board Chair For Sanitising System
There appears to be a grand plot by some suppliers and workers of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to antagonize the Board Chairman of the Company, Alexander Afenyo- Markin for simply sanitizing the operations of the state-owned company, which has been struggling over the years.
Sources say, after assuming the position of Board Chairman, Afenyo Markin gave directives which were in tune with modern corporate governance to enable the company function effectively and also, to undertake value-for money projects. However, some disgruntled staff of GWCL and their collaborators are not enthused about these directives and have decided to launch vitriolic attacks against his (Afenyo-Markin) person through a petition this paper gathered, has been put together to be submitted to the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon. Kofi Adda by the Public Utility Workers Union of GTUC any time soon.
One of the major directives issued by the Board Chairman is that, management must always seek the consent of the Board when it decides to disburse some funds beyond a certain threshold. “This is done everywhere, because it is an accepted corporate measure to ensure checks and balances within the system. It also aims at protecting the public purse, which President Akufo-Addo has been preaching about since assuming office,” a member of the Concerned Workers of the company told this reporter.
“How can we allow the management or the company to just spend or disburse taxpayers’ funds without proper supervision?” the Concerned Worker quizzed.
The workers are said to have captured all their frustration in a five-page petition accusing Afenyo Markin of “interfering with the day-to-day running of the company.”
Below are portions of the petition:
INTERFERENCE WITH DAY TO DAY RUNNING OF COMPANY
The Board Chairman, Honorable Afenyo Markin, at his maiden meeting, directed that, all recruitments, no matter the category of staff, should be centralized at the Head Office and should never be done without his approval. He also unilaterally suspended a negotiated item in the Collective Agreement that caters for retired staff medical bills. This decision was later reversed when he was informed that, it was a negotiated item in the Collective Agreement.
The Board Chairman created an office out of the boardroom for himself at the GWCL Head Office. Hon. Minister, we are very much aware that, he is not an Executive Chairman, so under no circumstances should he have an office within the Company. Under the current development, the Board Chairman is virtually usurping the administrative headship of the Managing Director, a situation that should never be countenanced.
The Board Chairman has turned GWCL into a recruitment Center, where every week he brings not less than five (5) potential workers for employment with most of them not even having the requisite qualification.
He has forced Management to engage a junior staff of around fifty (50) years, which is against the company HR policy, just to mention one.
SIGNATORY TO GWCL OPERATIONAL ACCOUNT
The Board Chairman is now a principal signatory to all GWCL operational accounts.
This has never happened in the history of the Company and it is never a practice in any corporate governance structure. The questions we are asking now: How safe is this Company if the same person who is pushing for contracts to be awarded is also directing payments to be made and finally signing cheques. Where are the checks and balances needed to ensure transparency and accountability?
The position of the Board Chairman on the Desalination contract is strange to workers. The Board Chairman, in his comments on Peace FM Morning Show dubbed Kokrokoo on 16th May 2018, stated that, “a desalination contract is a good contract. If you buy a product at GHC6.5 and sell it at GHC 1.5, is it good business? The project is an albatross on GWCL, because of its huge financial drain.
Reacting to the issues raised, some Concerned Workers this paper spoke to said “we know that, there are some top management staff behind the purported petition to the Minister, but we dare say that, the petition is being sponsored by some greedy and corrupt suppliers, who are in grand conspiracy to destabilize reforms introduced by the Board.
They said, they are aware that, the target of the petition is Hon. Afenyo Markin, whose reforms are causing ripples and destabilizing the nefarious activities of some management members who are in cahoots with some suppliers in raping the company.
This paper has gathered that, in view of the reforms recently introduced by the Afenyo-Markin-led Board, some top management personnel who are uncomfortable, in view of the fact that certain leakages have been blocked, are in league with some suppliers and have teamed up against the Board to scuttle its resolve to sanitise the systems of the Company.
One of their modus operandi, among others that this paper has also gathered, is to influence the Workers’ Union to present a petition to the Minister and to also launch vitriolic attacks on Hon. Afenyo Markin in the media in an attempt to paint him black, a plot they believe, will succeed in getting him and his Board to back down on their reforms.
Meanwhile credible sources within the Company have hinted that, majority members of the management of the Company and some junior staff are unhappy with what they term as “selfish evil plans” of the Union and have vowed to openly fight back should this plot be carried out.
It will be recalled that, since the Rawlings era, any time there were reforms, the mafia both within and outside, used the Union to fight, notable among these were the Aqua Vitens Rand contract under former President Kufuor.
The same Union, this paper has gathered, was also used to frustrate the Mills administration on a number of issues within the Company.
The Concerned Workers, who spoke to this paper, wondered why the Union failed to fight the Mahama-regime when the Desalination project was commissioned and payment actually started.
“Why do they want to attack the Board Chairman for saying the Desalination project is a good project,” the Concerned Workers fumed, adding that, “it is also not true that, the Board Chair signs cheques but the Board has only asked that, expenditures beyond a certain threshold should be referred to it for approval in line with corporate governance practices worldwide.”