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14.03.2009 General News

GPRTU At War

By Daily Guide
GPRTU At War

Kwaku Seth (right) and another victim There were scuffles yesterday at the Neoplan Station Branch Number 4 of the GPRTU over misappropriation of some 4.5 billion old cedis which was accumulated from a fund set aside by the union to construct a drivers' lodge.

Some drivers, numbering about 24, in the early hours of yesterday, stormed the offices of the branch chairman, Paul Kwabena Badu  to indicate that they had passed a vote-of-no-confidence on him for what they claimed was his ineffective 14 years of corrupt administration.

The aggrieved drivers alleged that the chairman who did not take kindly to their decision, organized thugs to brutalize them.

The police was called in and nine persons were picked up for interrogation.

The arrested persons included Bukari Saddique, Bako Mohammed, Ibrahim Mumuni, and Festus Effah.

The rest were Kwaku Seth, Yaw Adu, Baba Alhassan, Yusifu Doyo and Matiru Isaka.

Ironically, the chairman who alleged he was assaulted, had no single scratch on him; rather, it was the petitioners that seemed to have sustained some injuries.

The nine, as at press time, together with some three others, were being held at the Regional Police Headquarters for questioning.

Among other allegations leveled against the chairman were favouritism and nepotism. He was said to have sacked over 20 experienced drivers for criticizing him and demanding accountability.

The group blamed the numerous motor accidents on the Accra-Kumasi road on the chairman's quest to employ his kith and kin who were inexperienced on the job.

The drivers alleged that the current accountant of the union and some other key executive members were all his relations who had helped to entrench his administration against the will of the larger group of drivers.

The drivers, who were suspicious of recent mysterious deaths of the first vice chairman and the union's secretary, noted that Kwabena Badu had also dubiously acquired 20 of the new fleet of buses the Kufuor Administration acquired for the union.

In a petition to the Minister of Transport, Mike Hammah, the group stated: “Due to the inhumane and gross misconduct of the branch chairman and his executives towards the union members, we hereby firmly state and resolve that we no more consider the chairman,  Paul Kwabena Badu and his executives as leaders who can effectively run the union.”

It would be recalled that on May 19, 2008, a driver, Francis Manu Donkor, was assaulted by the chairman for quizzing him over the drivers' building fund levy amounting to over 4 billion cedis.

Some members of the executive were said to have chased Manu and his colleagues out of the chairman's office with cutlasses, threatening to butcher them.

The incident which was settled out of court by the Kaneshie District Police Commander, ASP Yakubu, has since resulted in a deep-seated hatred amongst the two factions.

The chairman however debunked all the allegations leveled against him, adding that it was because of his commitment to the cause of the drivers that he had been re-elected several times to the chagrin of his detractors.

He repeatedly refused to answer questions on categorical allegations like embezzlement, adding that the matter was before a law court.

He contended that a large number of drivers were going to vote for him even if there should be fresh elections because his tenure had led to a rapid improvement in the lives of union members.

The Unit Commander of Monitors at the Regional Headquarters, ASP Godwin Opoku-Koduah whose men effected the arrest, called on the public to follow due process and not take the law into their own hands in order not to get into trouble.

By Rocklyn Antonio

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