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13.09.2005 General News

GCD board chairman kicked out


- Vacates plush Birim Lodge mansion There was jubilation at Akwatia when information reached workers of, probably the country's most distressed mine, Ghana Consolidated Diamonds (GCD) that its Board Chairman had finally, at the 164th Board meeting held on July 26, this year, accepted to vacate the company's plush Birim Lodge mansion situated at the Airport Residential Area, in Accra.

At an earlier Joint Board-Union meeting held on July 11, this year, the workers had demanded the chairman's vacation of the premises and his removal from the board.

The board decision comes in the wake of a series of petitions against the chairman's occupancy of the company's premises by the workers to the Chief of Staff, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, and the Managing Director (MD).

The aggrieved workers had in the various petitions considered his occupation of the facility and the accompanying cost to the company an illegality, hence the calling for, not only his vacation, but also removal as board chairman.

The Birim Lodge was recently captured under a Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) valuation exercise as a residential property among the assets of the company.

The Senior Staff Association (SSA) of GCD, over the past three years, had written several petitions in which they called for the head of Mr. Amamoo, for hijacking the company and its day-to-day administration, as if he was the MD in charge of operations.

The Board Chairman, a former diplomat, and Member of Parliament of the Second Republic, alongside the President J. A. Kufuor, continued to occupy the company's residential facility, originally meant for MDs of the company, in spite of a the series of petitions by the SSA, to the Chief of Staff, at the seat of government.

In one of such petitions to the Chief of Staff in 2002, the SSA expressed grave concern over the sudden take-over of the marketing of the company's diamond by the Board Chairman, contrary to regulations that the Precious Mineral Marketing Company (PMMC) supervises the sale of diamonds.

Also, they complained about his occupation of the Birim Lodge (the company's official residence) alongside his using an office originally meant for the MD of the company at its head office, located at Roman Ridge in Accra.

Whilst Mr. Amamoo squats at the plush mansion of GCD at the Airport Residential Area, the current MD, Maxwell Kusi Mensah, since his appointment, has been living at Akwatia, where the company has its concession.

In a typical Energy Commission Board Chairman fashion, Mr. Amamoo was reported to have told a gathering of agitated workers of GCD, during a meeting over letters written by the workers to government, calling for his removal, that the President was his prison mate, and hence would not cause his removal just because of their agitation.

As a result of this, the company spent over ¢3million every month on his occupation of the Birim Lodge facility, excluding bills incurred on telephone, electricity and water. The chairman is to leave the premises by the end of this month, The Chronicle learnt.

Meanwhile, a section of the workers The Chronicle interacted with said though they were happy with the chairman vacating the premises, they still would be happier if he vacated the Board.