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02.03.2006 General News

Amamoo still milking GCD

By Chronicle

Even on the verge of collapse The Chronicle's investigations have uncovered evidence that Mr. Joseph Godson Amamoo, the Board Chairman of the distressed Ghana Consolidated Diamond (GCD) Company, has refused to vacate the company's plush Birim lodge mansion despite an earlier decision taken by the Board of GCD for him to do so.

Mr. Amamoo, who only last week played down corruption as a social canker and praised the coup that toppled the universally-acknowledged first President of Ghana, is living it up even when the company which is currently struggling to pay its workers scraping under very poor conditions.

Mr. Amamoo had earlier agreed to vacate the facility, considering the mounting tension and persistent workers agitation at the company's mining concession in Akwatia.

Notwithstanding the lack of success, in efforts by government to secure a reputable investor for the once highly-prized GCD that had been on the divestiture list for a decade, the paper's investigations have revealed that Mr. Amamoo is not only enjoying his stay at the Birim lodge, but also incurring more cost for the company since his bills are still picked up by it.

These include the payment of telephone, electricity, water, and subscription to Digital Satellite Television (DSTV), household allowance, and car maintenance allowance, paid security, among others.

The company is on life support with most of it workers asking whether Amamoo is indeed 'untouchable' considering the continued silence by the authorities and the fact that he lets it be known that he was prison-mates with President Kufuor.

Barely seven months ago, workers celebrated when information reached them that the septuagenarian Board Chairman, one time editor of The Ghanaian Times, had finally accepted to quit at the 164th Board meeting held on July 26, 2005. At an earlier Joint Board-Union meeting held on July 11, 2005, the workers had demanded the Chairman's vacation of the premises and his removal from the board.

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

The aggrieved workers had in the various petitions considered his occupancy of the facility and the accompanying cost to the company an illegality, and demanded 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 a 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 squatted 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.

The Chairman was supposed to vacate the facility between August and September 2005 but has refused to leave.