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General News of Sunday, 13 May 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Frances Essiam had no power to fire Board member without approval - Board chair

The Chief Executive of the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company (GCMC) Frances Essiam's decision to sack the Finance and Accounts manager, a move that has triggered a power struggle in the struggling state company, has been criticised as wrong.

The Board Chair of GCMC, Frank Boakye Agyen, told Joy News, the Finance manager, Julius Opuni Asamoah, who is a Board member was approved by the Board and could only be sacked when the Board approves the decision to do so.

Frances Essiam has said the Finance manager was on probation and therefore could be sacked if performance was unsatisfactory.

Her decision, she said, was backed by the company's condition of service.

But the Board also moved to suspend the CEO after she tried to block a Board meeting on the decision to sack Julius Opuni Asamoah.

He told Joy News that assuming without admitting that the CEO is clothed with this power, it was good governance practice to discuss the decision with the Board first.

"If in her opinion, the Finance manager has overstepped his bounds it is proper to inform us," Boakye Agyen said.

'Don't you think that the CEO should give her findings to the board before firing him? he wanted to know.

He explained that at a Board meeting where the Finance manager was present, the CEO was authorised to appoint him after the candidate had been interviewed.

It, therefore, means that his sack needed the Board's approval, he explained. He said even the CEO was confirmed by the Board which can also suspend her.

He said although the president nominated Frances Essiam in May 2017, the Board had to confirm the nomination and also determine her conditions of service.

The Board chair has also said the CEO's belief that the Board which confirmed her needed her approval to hold Board meetings was wrong.

"It is not right that the CEO has to by all means to be consulted for her to dictate whether the Board should meet or not".

"The CEO thought that if she doesn't give approval for board meeting it cannot come on", he said.

The struggle at the state-owned cylinder manufacturer, described as a clash of egos has been condemned as counter-productive.



Veteran journalist Kweku Baako Jnr said leadership is not about qualifications alone but also temperament.

If the "noises" at the GCMC continues, the President may have to redeploy his appointees, he said. The State Enterprises Commission is investigating the disagreements at the company. It has meanwhile revoked the Board's suspension of Frances Essiam.

The power struggle at a struggling Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company is evidence of a public administration system gone wrong hence the need to change the law, a professor has observed.

Professor Justice Bawole of the University of Ghana has indicated CEOs appear emboldened to stand up to the company's Board because they pre-exist the Boards meant to check their work.