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05.08.2004 Business & Finance

FASCOM Board, Shareholders Blamed For Downward Slide

By Chronicle
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WORKERS OF Farmers Services Company (FASCOM) have accused shareholders and the board of directors of the company of causing the downward slide of the company, because they had failed to sack the Managing Director (MD), Afoko Amoak, as had been recommended by a consultancy firm.

The workers of FASCOM have not been paid for the past one and half years and are currently working under abject conditions of service.

In an investigation conducted into the affairs of the company, Hill Ends Consultancy Limited concluded that the MD was considered a drain on the company and did not demonstrate any appreciable commercial acumen to justify him continuing in his capacity as MD of the company if the company intended running as a viable profit making organisation.

In the report, Hill End Consultancy Limited accused the MD of blatantly disregarding the board and the company law and regulations.

The report, which was at the instance of the Board Chairman, Mr. J K Odzyem, said the state of bookkeeping and management information was very bad and could hardly say FASCOM was run efficiently. At the time of the investigation, the company's credit stood at ¢295 million against a debt of ¢400 million at that time and the MD had not made any effort to recover the debt.

The consultancy's enquiries revealed that prospective investors had no confidence in the MD but would be willing to review their stand when he was no more in charge of affairs.

Touching on the sheanut operations of the company, the report which The Chronicle stumbled upon disclosed that in spite of several figures and explanations provided by the MD, the board continued to grope in the dark, not having a clear understanding of the sheanut operations and its overall impact on the performance of the organisation.

"This is buttressed by the fact that the accounts department does not appear to be able to produce operating statements on the operations of sheanuts or soya beans," the report added.

It continued, "After several years of operations, it appears no member of the management team other than the MD has any detailed knowledge of the sheanut operations."

Agreements, commitments and all transactions with buyers, banks among others, are personally handled by Mr. Amoak including port operations and final shipments.

Workers were surprised about the way bank loans and overdrafts were contracted without board resolutions, leading to an overdraft of ¢1 million. Opening of new bank accounts were done by the MD without approval from the board of directors.

v The MD is believed to have, on his own accord, purchased an uncompleted house at ¢52.5 million as well as vehicles at ¢150 million.

The report concluded that the MD did not carry out many board decisions. The report for instance had been conducted in 1998 but nothing had been done since.

Meanwhile, some workers of FASCOM at Bolgatanga are demanding their unpaid salaries and benefits otherwise they would embark on a strike action.

All efforts to contact Mr. Amoak proved futile.

In an interview with Abdala O. W. Achuliwor, the younger brother of the late Achuliwor, almost all workers of the company had resigned and abandoned their posts because they had not been paid for the past one and half years. He said the staff strength had drastically reduced to about 20 from about 80, all due to the leadership of the MD.

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