The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Trade Fair Company, Dr. Agnes Adu got herself into trouble at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 as she engaged in verbal exchanges with the Committee Chair, James Klutse Avedzi in her attempt to deny her earlier claim that she has “turned around the fortunes of the company” ever since she took over as CEO.
Dr. Agnes Adu who took over the administration of the company in 2017 had claimed at a previous sitting of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament that she has been able to turn around the company; paid all arrears of water and electricity bills and has also been able to pay all the 18 months’ salary arrears owed workers she inherited from her predecessor.
She however backtracked on her claims when she was confronted with the fact that some former employees of the company were claiming that they were owed unpaid salaries.
An ex-employee of the company, Richmond Odoi Brown who acted as an Accountant and an Internal Auditor alleged before the Committee that he had been unlawfully dismissed by current CEO, Dr. Agnes Adu, harassed out of office and also denied him his salary arrears of up to 21 months. This claim was also made by another ex-employee who also appeared before the Committee.
When the Chairman of the Committee drew her attention to the fact that the ongoing development was inconsistent with the impression she had earlier created before the Committee, she said she didn’t make the claim she had turned around the company.
In her defense, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Trade Fair Company indicated that she had only cleared the salary arrears of the current staff and not ex-employees.
Here is an excerpt of the exchanges that went on between the Chairman and the CEO during the Committee sitting on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
Responding to the Mr. Klutse Avedzie’s inquisition, Dr. Agnes Adu said, “What I said the last time was that, we have paid the current staff. You asked how many staff do I have. We had 33 but we now have 32 and Current staff arrears have been cleared. Previous employees, we are still of course, we are going to find a way to pay as we are restructuring the company.”
Then the Chairman interjected, “Do you want us to play the tape back to you?”. She responded in the affirmative when she said, “You can, if it is necessary. I am just giving you information on what has been cleared.”
The Chairman then gave orders to the Clerk to the Committee to produce the tape of her previous appearance before the Committee, to be played back to her subsequently at an appropriate time.
He then recounted, “Colleagues, you were all here when she said that she had turned round the company and she had paid all arrears. Both in the inclusion of current staff and whatever was mentioned. Today you are refining your position and you are telling this Committee that you did not say that. We will play the tape.”
She then came back and said, “Actually, Mr. Chairman, I am not disputing anything you are saying. I am giving you information and please permit me to give you information. I have no reason to come and tell you I have paid someone I haven’t paid. It is arrears I inherited and working through ‘turning’ the company around and I gave you information on what we are doing and what we are continuing to do.”
Meanwhile, on the way forward concerning the salary arrears of the ex-employees, the Chairman of the Committee directed the CEO to go and compile the list of all ex-employees who are owed salary arrears, pay them and report back to the Committee in two weeks whether or not the company is able to clear the debt.
The CEO of the Trade Fair company expressed frustrations in an interview with Africa News Radio that the priorities of the exercise has been misplaced and that instead of concentrating on the misappropriated amount of money, everyone is rather dwelling on whether she has ‘turned’ around the company as against she is ‘turning’ around the company.
“How can you turn around a company in 18 months? No one does that. How do you focus on matters which are not even before the Committee? The priorities are misplaced.” She indicated in a frustrated tone.
Source: Clement Akoloh||Africanewsradio.com