Skeletons Found In Sir John’s Cupboard

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The Herald has landed dirty secrets of why and how the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, alias Sir John was fired from Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), while serving as the Deputy Managing Director in-charge of Administration, before vying for his present job.

According to a report of a Board Subcommittee, he was driven out of the GNPC over his illicit sexual affairs with his females subordinates, as well as, an attempt to dupe Gaddafi’s Libyan government, with a fraudulent claim that the Ghanaian government, led by John Agyekum Kufuor needed money for various projects it was undertaken.

The NPP General Secretary, who is seeking re-election, also criminally impersonated some officials at GNPC and using letterheads of the Corporation without the knowledge and authority of the Managing Director (MD), Moses O Boateng, who according to the report Sir John, had grossly disrespected.

The Board subcommittee was purposely setup by the then GNPC Board, chaired by Stephen Sekyere-Abankwa, to investigate causes of deteriorating top management relationship at GNPC and discovered that Mr. Owusu-Afriyie, was the main bug eating up the prestigious Corporation, and demanded he resigned or get fired from his lucrative job.

A very embarrassed Lawyer Owusu-Afriyie, the report said with a speed of light signed his letter of resignation on March 8, 2004, leaving without receiving any benefits from GNPC.

Those who attended the Board meeting that sacked Sir John, were Mr. Sekyere-Abankwa, who apart from being the chairman of the Board, was also the MD of the Prudential Bank, C.Y. Adu-Gyamfi, M. O. Boateng, Armiyao Harruna, Muriel Holdbrook-Smith, Patrick Nutor and Tettey.

Others who also attended the meeting were John Boateng, Thomas Manu and Naomi Adashie, Legal Consultant, Director of Operations and Recorder, respectively.

On March 11, 2004 the Board “critically examined the findings and recommendations of the subcommittee and endorsed them after exhaustive discussion. The specific findings and recommendations that took time to discuss and concluded were those that related to the former Acting Deputy Managing Director (Ag-DMD), Mr. Owusu-Afriyie”.

“The Minutes Of the 24th Board Meeting” in the possession of The Herald revealed the Sub-committee members as saying they received, “during their deliberations, adequate evidence on the conduct of the Ag. DMD (Sir John), which they considered unedifying”.

“Accordingly, they had determined that Mr. Owusu-Afriyie was guilty of misconduct and should be asked to resign voluntarily without benefits; but if he failed to do so then, he should be dismissed”.

Some of the evidence of misconduct considered by the Sub-committee concerning Mr. Owusu-Afriyie’s relationship with the Managing Director (MD) and other management staff, as well as, his illicit relationship with some female staff of GNPC.

“The usurpation of powers and functions that belonged to the MD alone by him also appalled members of the Sub-committee. Besides, the Sub-committee commented at length, particularly on Mr. Owusu-Afriyie’s letter to the Libyan Government by which he had solicited funding for various projects alleged to be undertaken in Ghana,” the report said.

“In writing the said letter, the Sub-committee found that Mr. Owusu-Afriyie, had pretended to be doing so with the consent and approval of the Government of the Republic of Ghana and other functionaries of the Government, when in fact he could not prove such mandate or authorization”.

“Also, the said letter had been written by him pretending to be the Deputy Managing Director of GNPC, whose letterhead he had used without prior authorization and approval of the MD. The said letter also showed evidence that it had been copied to several prominent public and private persons in Ghana, but this has been found to be untrue”, the report said.

At the end of their deliberations, members of the Board accepted the main recommendation of the Sub-committee as regards Mr. Owusu-Afriyie and agreed that Mr. Owusu-Afriyie’s letter of resignation should be accepted with effect from March 8, 2004 as his letter indicated.

The Chairman, accordingly directed that a letter accepting Mr. Owusu-Afriyie’s resignation should be dispatched to him indicating that his resignation had been accepted but no benefits would be paid to him. He should accordingly be requested to return his duty post vehicle immediately and leave his duty post accommodation within three (3) months, after having settled all utility bills outstanding.

Next, Members considered other findings and recommendations of the Sub-committee dealing with the management style of MD. The Sub-committee had in its report commented that the MD did not apply laid-down procedures in effecting disciplinary action against staff.

The Committee found that the MD preferred verbal caution, instead of the more formal procedure of a written caution, which would show on staff records to serve as a deterrent to erring staff members. The committee recommended that the MD should in future be more assertive, in order to establish his superior and ultimate authority.

Also, the members of the Committee were of the opinion that it was because the MD failed to assert his authority that Mr. Owusu-Afriyie was enabled to usurp his functions, thereby arrogating to himself authority and powers that he did not have.

As regards the relationship between the MD and the Director of Finance and Corporate Planning (OFCP), members of the Sub-committee, opined that they elicited no direct evidence of misconduct against her vis-a-vis the MD.

Although they also found no evidence of a deliberate subterfuge in concert with Mr. Owusu-Afriyie against the MD, they nevertheless recommended that the OFCP should be summoned before the full Board and cautioned to give full recognition to the status and authority of the MD, when she resumed duties from her leave.

The Board decided to leave the MD to determine appropriate sanctions against Miss Abigail Asamoah and Miss Pearl Ansah-Dankwah, based on the adverse comments made by members of the Sub-committee regarding their rude and arrogant behaviour when they appeared before them.

The Board on the day also considered operational activities of the GNPC during which the Director of Operations (DOP) elaborated on reports of the Technical Evaluation on another Drillship, the North Sea Pioneer (NSP).

The DOP presented the Technical Evaluation on NSP.
He explained that except for minimum routine maintenance on some machinery, the NSP had undergone no major rehabilitation/dry-docking since 1992. There was no insurance cover and worst of all, it was technologically outdated. Given GNPC’s current mandate, the NSP could not be used in direct operations.

He said, bearing in mind the status of NSP, a lease option turned out to be unattractive and therefore the sale option would have to be considered. The OOP cautioned that by all indications the best price for the NSP would be dictated by the market.

The sale option would eliminate the present high cost of maintaining the NSP in our waters. However, in order to be irreprehensible regarding sale procedures, the Board directed that having heard and noted the content of the report, all preparations and negotiations on the sale of NSP be halted.

Meanwhile; The MD and the technical group should contact both local and foreign companies dealing with classing of offshore Marine equipment with a view to bringing the NSP back to class.

They should also contact Valuation companies for estimates of how much it would cost the Corporation to conduct a professional valuation of the NSP.

The Board’s decision to suspend the sale process should be communicated to the two bidders – Lushann and Alambco.

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