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03.09.2002 General News

CEO Refuses To Retire... Runs Show From Home

By NetworkHerald
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A classic case of positive defiance could confront the government if attention is not paid immediately to happenings at the Irrigation Development Authority. The workers are threatening to go up in arms if their chief executive does not pack bag and baggage and leave. The chief executive, Mr. O.K. Gyarteng received his letters for compulsory retirement and was supposed to have retired on Saturday the 10th of August 2002. However, he refused to hand over and attempted to run the show from home.

The workers suspecting foul play wonder why the retired boss has adopted the unorthodox practice of going to the office in the night or at other odd hours probably to right the wrongs of his administration and cover up any misdeeds while he refuses to hand over. The workers have accused Mr. Gyarteng of having mismanaged the authority since he assumed his position and have agitated in recent times for his retirement which should have been effected 5 years ago, so that they revamp the ailing authority and turn it around.

Worse of all, even though the Minister of Agriculture has added his voice by asking him to hand over, he has been employing the stature of the president’s Chief-of-Staff to pull strings to stay on. The out-of-favour boss suspiciously tried to call a meeting of the directors to work his way through on the 13th of August this year but none of his deputies responded. Only three members of staff appeared and the said meeting which was subsequently called off.

What seem to baffle the staff the most is that some 3 months ago, the Mr. Gyarteng caused the former deputy chief executive and 17 other workers to retire en masse after their names had been published in the ‘Evening News’. Some of them, pleaded for a month’s grace period, which the chief executive refused to heed to. Network Herald on the ground investigations suggests such gross mismanagement of the authority is enormous that young engineers posted there from school find it difficult to stay on. Some of them exchange letters for new postings with their own letters of resignation because they have found new jobs. Promotion is ad hoc.

Workers idle away from morning when they report for work till whatever time they decide to knock off even though lots of work need to be done on irrigation. Currently, as has happened lots of times in the past, workers have not received their salaries for months. The July and August salaries have not been paid because expenditure returns for previous salary payments had not been made to the accountant general. This is an organization that has a lot of staff working in remote areas in the country.

Also, many of the Authority’s vehicles are not road worthy thus crippling work. Yet while several senior staff members have no vehicles, the chief executive apparently commands a personal fleet of 5 vehicles. The workers also complained that when projects are designed and money made available, implementation is delayed for so long that when eventually the authority decides to implement the programme, the needed technocrats would have left the outfit.

It is however expedient to point out that since its inception, the authority has always been clothed in controversy. The confusion had been generated by who manages the place, whether an engineer or an agronomist should manage it. Even the Acheampong regime amended S.M.C.D. 85, the decree that established the authority, about 3 times before finally passing it in 1977. That argument is still continuing today giving some weight to submissions from the chief executive to the effect that there will be confusion if he leaves.

Mr Gyarteng also claims that he is waiting to give a new chief executive appointed from the United States the necessary orientation before he leaves but his deputies counter that the Authority has no shortage of competent staff that can do the job. The workers whose suspicion keep mounting by the day say they are beginning to suspect that the Ex-Chief Executive may have something to hide hence his refusal to leave office.

Now some of the workers have resorted to the use of graffiti to force their chief executive out. The chief executive has himself also gone to the police to report threat on his life from his staff. But the saga continues. Now, the workers have written to the Minister of Agriculture threatening to convene a press conference by Friday if Mr. Gyarteng still decides to stay put.

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