Verbal Appointment Made, Office Broken Into, Locks and Keys Changed
There is a massive power play in the Ministry of Roads, which has led to the Minister, Kwesi Amoako Atta, kicking and locking out the Chief Executive of Ghana Highways Authority, Victor Owusu, out of office.
While the Highways Authority Board, chaired by Francis Achampong, wants Victor Owusu to remain in office, the Road Minister, has kicked him out and has since engaged a carpenter, who broke into his office, changed the locks and keys, and placed Kingsley Jojo Arthur in the office.
The Roads Minister, is one of the many cousins to President Nana Akufo-Addo, serving in government with an aura of audacity around them.
Interestingly, Jojo Arthur’s audacious appointment, is only by his word of mouth unlike Mr. Owusu, whose appointment letter dated April 20, 2017, was specifically signed by the President himself. The Herald, has a copy of that letter.
Mr. Owusu insists, his appointment has not been revoked by President Akufo-Addo, although he is due for retirement, and The Herald has also seen another letter dated October 2, 2017, signed by the Board Chairman, recommending an extension of Mr. Owusu’s stay in office by two years.
Francis Achampong’s letter, which was copied to the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare said “Mr. Victor Owusu assumed duty as the Acting Chief Executive on Friday 28th April, 2017 and has since conducted himself creditably and diligently in pursuing the objectives of the Authority. He is scheduled for retirement in November”.
He explained that, “at its 103rd Meeting held in the Board Room on Thursday 28th Semptember, 2017the Board approved of a two (2) year extention of tenure of office for Mr. Victor Owusu subjectto the final approval by His Excellency the President”.
Indeed, there are reports that Flagstaff House is unaware of the sacking of the Ghana Highways Authority boss and the appointment of Jojo Arthur, who is Director, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Roads and Highways.
The appointment is said to be a verbal appointment, and it has since thrown the Ghana Highways Authority into a state of confusion.
According to Mr. Owusu, he reported for work at Thursday 7:30 am, to find a carpenter and the Estate manager changing the locks.
Days before, he had received a letter from the Ministry of Roads and Highways, recommending Jojo Arthur as the new Chief Executive.
The second paragraph of the letter, however, stated a formal appointment letter is yet to be issued to the purported new boss.
“If you don’t have an appointment letter why come and take over”, he queried and revealed he asked the new boss who openly told admitted he is yet to receive an appointment letter from the Flagstaff House.
Mr. Owusu said, the new boss, has been ‘paraded’ before the staff last Wednesday, and has also parked his car at his parking space.
But the Board chairman, he said, has insisted the CEO stays in the absence of an official letter from the Presidency appointing Mr. Arthur.
The CEO said, the Highway Authority Act, makes him a political appointee of the president, who may renew his tenure despite reaching retirement age two days earlier.
“We want to serve our nation. We are also patriotic citizens” he said adding “It is the President who appoints and approves. It is not any sector minister or whatever,” he quoted Section 18(1) of the Ghana Highways Authority Act 1997.
“The president hasn’t revoked that appointment yet so technically I am still the Chief Executive,” he said dismissing the Minister’s act to relieve him of his post.
He said, after the forceful lock-out last Thursday morning, ‘I came home and prayed’.
Reacting to the forceful removal from office, the Deputy Roads and Highways Minister, Anthony Abayifa Karbo, told Joy FM that he found media discussion of the incident unfortunate.
He suggested the matter not be discussed on air and said the ministry and the CEO, will use internal processes to resolve any misunderstanding.