The 'I will show you where power lies' syndrome seems to be at play at the Ghana News Agency (GNA), where the Board Chairman, Nana Rex Owusu-Ansah is being accused of thwarting efforts to reinstate a former employee, Mr. Abraham S. Adjei.
Mr. Adjei's appointment was wrongfully terminated during the tenure of the Mrs. Georgina Baiden-led Board in 2002. And although both the Auditor-General and a fact-finding committee set up by Mr. Owusu-Ansah's Board have in separate reports, between 2003 and 2006 recommended the reinstatement of Mr. Adjei, the Board Chairman has allegedly frustrated efforts due to a frosty personal relationship between himself and the former employee.
This has compelled Mr. Adjei, who prior to his dismissal was ranked as Chief Technical Superintendent at the GNA to seek redress at the National Labour Commission (NLC). He has consequently requested the leadership of the Public Sector Workers Union (PSWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to file a formal complaint at the NLC on his behalf.
In a letter requesting the PSWU to pursue justice at the NLC, the ex-GNA staff lamented “I am seriously suffering with my wife and children who are in high school,” and emphasized that being jobless for more than half of a decade has thrown his family programme into disarray.
But Mr. Owusu-Ansah, a former Clerk of Ghana's Parliament has called Mr. Adjei's bluff and dared him to proceed, even to the law courts. "It's only a court or an agency with competent jurisdiction that can compel me or my board to do something, no one can," he told Public Agenda in an interview on Friday.
He indicated that nei¬ther he nor the other members of the Board were perturbed by the complaint to the NLC, saying, “If the NLC calls us to make our case we will go, and who¬ever is at fault would be told what to do.”
He however dismissed suggestions that there was a personal problem between him and Mr. Adjei claiming that he had never known or heard of the latter anywhere until he became the Board Chairman of GNA, by which time Mr. Adjei was no longer an employee.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah pointed out that the decision not to implement the recommendations for Mr. Adjei's reinstatement is not a personal one at all, but a collective decision by the entire membership of the GNA Board.
The Public Agenda says on January 10, 2002, Mrs. Baiden, then Chairperson of the GNA Board wrote to Mr. Adjei informing him that his services were no longer required at the Ghana News Agency; hence, the Board of Directors of the Agency had decided to terminate his appointment with immediate effect.
The action incensed agitations among the workers who thought that their colleague had been given a raw deal and subsequently complained to the Auditor-General, who after investigations submitted that the dismissal was wrongfully executed. The Auditor General therefore directed the recall of Mr. Adjei in a report that was released after the current board had taken over.