Litany Of Corrupt Acts Raised…
By Gifty Arthur
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company (GCMC), has been hauled before the Office of the Special Prosecutor, over a litany of corrupt cases and possible case of causing financial loss to the state.
Among other things, she is accused of using her name to borrow money from saving and loans companies on behalf of GCMC to pay workers salaries, and subsequently issuing company cheques in her personal name to cash and payback the loans to the financial institutions she singlehandedly negotiated with.
Questions have also been raised about Frances Asiam’s award of contracts at GCMC with claims that, procurement laws were sidestepped.
Her accuser, who happens to be her sacked Finance and Accounts Manager of the company, has drawn linkage between the CEO’s questionable activities and his sacking months ago ostensibly because, he had the guts to challenge some of the decisions she had taken.
Julius Opuni Asamoah, is seeking justice and possible prosecution, as he provided evidential documents and listed the various actions and infractions of Madam Asiam in his petition to Mr Martin Amidu.
According to the Chartered Accountant’s four-page document, the CEO, has since her appointment last year, blatantly sidestepped all rules governing the procurement law, anytime she purchased or transacted business on behalf of the company.
She neither consults the Board of all her procurement activities since 2017.
Madam Asaim, is also accused of engaging suppliers and contractors of her choice, leading to procurement breaches and value for money lapses.
These contractors the former Finance and Accounts and Manager alleged, were the CEO’s in-laws, raising possible case of conflict of interest.
Mr Opuni Asamoah, who boast of a 27-year work experience as Chartered Accountant says, his last encounter with Madam Asiam which led to his removal, was when she instructed him to approve a deal and he refused.
He said, the 400 pieces of 6kg LPG cylinders transaction “That she Frances instructed me to approve as protocol for Honourable Member of Parliament, Nana Amoako (a Board Member) and I declined, ignited consistent wrangling between me and the CEO”.
Unhappy with him, the CEO allegedly concocted lies about him and in the case of giving a dog bad name just to hang it, she unilaterally terminated his appointment without express approval from the Board.
“Consistently, Francis Asiam terminated my appointment without the approval of the Board of Directors. My appointment was terminated because I stood against corruption but Francis Asiam fabricated non-existing and unfounded charges to enable her terminate my appointment”, the petition said.
He mentioned some of the “shady” deals Madam Asiam indulged him while he was still at post as the procurement of Office Furniture from K Asenso Limited costing some GH¢250, 430, procumbent of Hand Gloves by Dz and Coff Co limited amounting GHc26, 537. 38 and retailership from Ankomah Sey and Associates at pegged GH¢500 a month.
Others were the construction of Office Canteen by TDK Atlantic Limited costing GH¢484, 575.59, the construction of additional offices by TDK Atlantic Limited GH¢373, 339.50; extension of Factory Building by the same TDK Atlantic limited totaling GH¢2, 539. 027.95, renovation of GCMC Staff Bungalow by TDK limited Atlantic limited costing the taxpayer some GHc127, 341.90 as well as the renovation of Factory Block and Warehouse by TDK Atlantic at GHc164, 976. 40.
Then, there was the engagement of Financial Consultant, Sydney Casely-Hayford at GH¢70, 000, GCMC’s Warehouse development by Ebien Studies (CEO’s in-law) for GH¢23, 500 and a new plant and Machinery being supplied by Africano Electric also pegged at GHc26, 4million.
The procurement processes in the above mentioned transactions involving huge amounts of moneys are yet to be made know as everything was done under the whims and caprices of Madam Asiam. “The contract sums are exorbitant and were over-bloated and not transacted at arm’s length”, he lamented.
In February this year, it is alleged that the CEO brought in physical cash of GHc150, 000 and when asked by the sacked Manager, the source of the said money, she answered it was a loan from a micro finance company.
Though she was cautioned that public institutions do not contract loans in that manner, she threw caution to the wind and went ahead to deposit the money into the company’s Bank Account and after the month expired; that money was used to pay the workers.
“Frances Asiam never provided any documentation to signify that she really took a loan of Ghc150, 000 from a micro finance company. When we were paying back the loan, cheques thereon were written in the name of Frances Asiam. In the end the refund of the GHc150, 000 was paid to the CEO direct and it against the Public Financial Management Act”.
There is a case of her unilaterally scrapping GCMC’s giant factory machinery at a GHc20, 000 without due process. Her action again offends procedure for the disposal of Public Assets but she went ahead.
Mr Opuni Asamoah argued, all the procurements entered into, “Have the intention of willfully causing financial loss to the state, because she knew GCMC did not have source of funding for the above procurements but she went ahead and committed the Company into unwarranted liabilities”.
He said the CEO’s decision to use GCMC’s Creditor’s money to start procurements has impoverished the Company to the extent that it cannot pay its immediate liabilities (suppliers of raw materials).
According to Mr Opuni Asamoah, as at March this year, the company owned its main suppliers of raw materials, Ansun Trading, a whopping US$1.5million and already, the company is threatening to sue the Cylinder Company, adding the money which should have been paid to the supplier has been used by Madam Asiam to do over-invoiced and unapproved procurements.
“As at 31st March 2018, GCMC was heavily indebted to the tune of GHc30 million. Therefore, why should Frances Asiam single-handedly sign a contract of GHc 28.4 million to procure a new Production Machine?
Just like the loan and the buying of the new Production Machine, “there was not even a single procurement that Frances Asiam did that have approval from the Board or Ministry of Energy (GCMC’s mother Ministry). Frances Asiam did not mind the various thresholds spelt out in the Procurement Act”.