…after sacked by GCMCL Board over massive corruption
As the massive rot uncovered at the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company Limited (GCMCL) shocks many Ghanaians, the woman in the thick of the scandal has added defiance to her sins.
Frances Essiam, the Chief Executive Officer of the GCMLC, has thumped her nose at the Board of Directors of the company, defying her suspension.
In an interview with journalists on the premises of the company, the woman who is notorious for being one of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP)’s Amazons, told journalists that she is still at the helm of affairs.
“I am still the substantive CEO and I am at work…that is all I can say for now.”
According to Frances Essiam, the suspension that the Board had slapped on her yesterday after a crunch meeting is just a figment of the imagination of members of the Board.
The defiance is a piss on the public corporate governance law of Ghana which vests ultimate corporate authority in the Boards of public companies.
The defiance also comes after Madam Essiam, who crossed carpet into the NPP from the opposition NDC in the early 2000s, locked out the entire Board of the GCMCL from the office of the company like a band of rascals, on Tuesday.
The lockout had been carried out by her in attempt to prevent the Board from holding a meeting to consider her suspension over a litany of malpractices, including alleged financial malfeasance and thievish corruption.
Due to the lockout, the Board had been constrained to hold its meeting at a hotel- the Robin Hood Hotel – and then later issued a statement announcing the suspension of the NPP Amazon.
Same Board had also announced that all contracts that the woman had awarded, mostly without the consent of the Board, had been frozen.
But now that Frances Essiam, the woman who had openly called for violence against the opposition NDC during the 2012 election has announced that she is still in charge, it is a signal that those alleged corrupt contracts are still on free wheels. She is said to be stampeding in arrogance because President Akufo-Addo is fully in support of her.
Long before it would become a public battle of wills between Essiam, the NDC turncoat, and the GCMCL Board, President Akufo-Addo is said to have sat on a litany of damning allegations against her.
Some of the allegations have since made their way into the public domain and include the sale of the company’s old machines as scrap without recourse to the Board even though according to law, all assets of state companies are vested in their Boards.
Essiam also stands accused of awarding various construction and purchasing contracts without recourse to the Board which is mandated to approve all contracts. Some of the contracts had been issued before the formation of the Board; even so, she had not notified her sector Ministry, Energy.
An incompetent CEO, Frances Essiam is said to have borrowed to pay the February 2018 salaries of the company’s workers, and she again did so without recourse to the Board.
In a 13th April 2018 letter to her, the Board demanded explanation for her actions and ordered that she stop disbursing a Ghc5m stimulus package that the government had furnished to the company.
Even though the letter was duly served to her, she refused to write back to explain herself. Apparently, her disdain and disrespect for the Board is a longstanding one. In this disrespect, she is said to have the backing of President Akuf0-Addo who allegedly has sat on petitions to him in respect of the issues.
It was after the Board had waited forever without a reply from Madam Essiam that it undertook to hold a meeting on the company premise to consider her suspension.
A popular NPP Amazon, Frances Essiam organized some of the workers of the company to stage a demonstration in response. She also blockaded the whole Board from the company’s premises.
The ‘Essiam Embargo’ constrained the Board to hold their emergency meeting in a hotel before they could safely come up with the decision to suspend her without slaps.
In response to the suspension, the NPP Amazon drove to her office the very next morning, stood before TV cameras and declared: “I am still the substantive CEO and I am at work…that is all I can say for now.”
The story is still unfolding.