Julie Essiam Again!

0
874

…..Recruits Over 20 Staff Without Board and Management Approval

……Appoints Deputy Commissioner On Contract

There are growing tensions in GRA owing to the intransigence of the Board Chairman, Professor Stephen Adei and the incompetence and docility of the Acting Commissioner General “Reverend’’ Ammishaddai Adu Owusu-Amoah.

Modern concepts of management and administration depend so much on getting Human Resource issues correct, based on sound judgments and criteria as permitted by the appropriate statutory provisions, rules, regulations and orders. Unfortunately, today, very regrettably, these standards prescribed by the Public Services Commission have been thrown to the dogs in GRA owing to the obstinacy, dictatorship and recklessness of Professor Adei and paucity of knowledge, sycophancy  and cowardice of Professor Adei’s brother-in law, ‘’Reverend’’ Ammishaddai Adu Owusu-Amoah .

Promotions and recruitments are very sensitive and critical Human Resource issues in any organization worth its salt. Hiring the right persons, based on merit and other essential conditions, through well thought out policies, such as those laid down by the Public Services Commission (PSC) is extremely necessary for quality performance and industrial harmony. Similarly, promotions of personnel into critical strategic and tactical positions based on merit and other essential conditions are extremely necessary.

Recruitments and promotions are therefore to be done in transparency with very reasonable justifications based on well-defined laid down processes and procedures.

Readers may ask if that is what is happening under the so called ‘’eagle eyes’’ of Professor Stephen Adei? A few examples of developments in GRA today will help all of us to answer that question.

What is the current policy of the Public Services Commission on appointments and promotions of personnel into positions of Chief Executives, Chief Directors, Directors, Assistant Directors and their equivalents in the Public Services?

The Public Services Commission’s well laid down policy is that for persons to be appointed into any of the above positions that person must have a minimum qualification of a Masters Degree or its equivalent professional qualification in the appropriate field or profession.

And is the policy to be applied to all Ghanaians equally or it is to be applied along the lines of discrimination, nepotism, favoritism, power source, influence or ‘’pressure from above’’? Certainly, a public institution is not a private one where rules and regulations could easily be ignored and replaced with connections, intimidations, victimizations, persecutions, abuse and show of power. One of the major functions of law is to check abuse of power in all circumstances, especially in state institutions.

If the above assertions are anything to guide promotions and recruitments in GRA, which is a public institution, then Professor Adei, Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah and Miss Julie Essiam should be made to conform with laid down processes and procedures of the Public Services Commission.

Firstly, the appointment of Commissioners and the Commissioner General must be based on guidelines and legal provisions of the mandate of the Public Services Commission. It is therefore not proper that, today, we have a Commissioner of the GRA who does not have a Masters Degree or an equivalent professional qualification. What do we hear? That the Commissioner is now doing an online course to upgrade the dubious qualifications? What? Jesus Christ!!!

Are persons to be appointed with the appropriate qualifications as at the time of their appointment or after? Obviously, the laws and common sense require that there should be ‘’prior qualification’’ and ‘’NOT POST QUALIFICATION’’ as the Commissioner is being allowed to do.

But what makes the matter worse is that, officers of GRA (permanent staff) who are to be promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner (equivalent of Deputy Director) are required to have Masters’ Degrees and yet a Commissioner, who does not even have a First degree, let alone a Second Degree, has been allowed to stay in office for over one year in a government of the NPP (which claims to have and indeed have quality personnel with all kinds of academic and professional qualifications).

Worse still, while the officers of GRA of the ranks of Chief Revenue Officers (CRO), aspiring to become Assistant Commissioners, are required to show evidence of their qualifications (including Masters Degrees), the full Commissioner has not shown any certificates of First or Second Degrees, except a Curriculum Vitae (CV) which generally says that the Commissioner is a graduate of a certain private university in the USA. Is that where we have reached now in Ghana?

We do not believe that His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo is aware of this. If he were to know of this (which we doubt very much) we would be surprised that he would allow such a flagrant violation of an essential prerequisite for the appointment of Commissioners of GRA.

Our sources have indicated that the unqualified Commissioner is being protected by the ‘’assurance givers’’ and others who call the shots in Ghana politics today.

Readers would be shocked to know that this ‘’unqualified Commissioner’ ’sat on a panel chaired by a Board Member of GRA, with a Representative of the Public Services Commission and other members to interview officers of the ranks of Chief Revenue Officers aspiring to become Assistant Commissioners (ACs) where the policy of the Public Services Commission is that these officers with the ranks of Chief Revenue Officer must have Masters Degree in order to qualify for promotion. The unqualified Commissioner also ‘’scored’’ for the average to be struck to determine the suitability or otherwise of these officers.

News of this essential requirement of the Public Services Commission that Assistant Commissioners of the GRA must have Masters’ Degree have gone wide and far and have become a source of worry especially when officers argue that they are not being treated fairly if a ‘’whole commissioner’’ does not have a Masters’ Degree and has been at post for over one year.

The officers who approached this paper complained of unfair treatment and discrimination against them. They argue that most of them have served with the GRA and its erstwhile institutions (namely the Internal Revenue Service [IRS]); Value Added Tax Service (VATS) and Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) for over twenty-five years, on the average, and are all in their fifties now (most of them with two to three years to reach the compulsory retiring age of sixty (60) years.)

The case of these officers is that what is good for the gander must be good for the geese. Thus, what is good for the “full Commissioner” who does not have a Masters Degree must be good for them, the Chief Revenue Officers, aspiring to become “just Assistant Commissioners?”

These officers argue that in their cases, they did not attempt to deceive the authorities by falsifying documents or doctoring documents to show that they have Masters’ Degrees. But they say they are aware that the “Full Commissioner” put it out into public domain, copies of which they showed to this paper, that he/she holds Masters’ Degree (MBA) from the same private university in the United States of America, where officially the Commissioner claims to have graduated from.

Furthermore, the case of the GRA officers is that if an unqualified Commissioner, who must command respect and dignity and should have integrity, has been allowed to act as such for over thirteen (13) months with impunity, then in all fairness, they must also be allowed to progress to the rank of Assistant Commissioner.

The fact that the “Commissioner concerned” sat on their interview panel, where their fate was to be decided, is also another source of grievance to the officers of GRA.

The officers of GRA, who spoke strictly on condition of anonymity, sprang a surprise on this paper when they showed documentary evidence of persons who have been clandestinely recruited into GRA by this same controversial “Commissioner”. The appointment letters of these illegally recruited persons indicated that they were to start work on 10th August, 2020.

According to the officers, the controversial Commissioner had recruited over thirty persons into GRA unilaterally. The Commissioner who does not have any degrees (and yet parades as having them) superintended over these illegal recruitments with the complicity of Reverends “Nyaatwom” as Chairman and Commissioner General of GRA. The officers intimated further that the rest of the members of the Governing Board and Top Management were not aware of this development.

What infuriated the officers most is the appointment of one Madam Akua Mpiani Brobbe as the Deputy Commissioner, Human Resource. According to the officers, the woman whose husband is an employee of the Board Chairman in one of his schools was deliberately and purposely appointed to do the “dirty work” of Professor Adei, Mr. Ammishaddai Adu Owusu-Amoah and Madam Julie Essiam.

It is also the case of the officers that Madam Akua Mpiani Brobbe was promoted Assistant Commissioner only last year, 2019 and is therefore one of the junior-most Assistant Commissioners. Yet the tripartite committee of the Board Chairman, Commissioner General and Commissioner Support Services Division has recommended her to be promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner. These officers argue that they were originally senior to her in their ranks as Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) before she was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner. These demoralised officers feel strongly that, they are suffering injustice and unfair treatment at the hands of “assurance givers” that have hidden agenda in all that they do but pretend to be “saints”.

The officers went further to mention the case of persons recruited on contract basis by the same assurance givers. According to the officers, while the policy officially now in GRA is that no officer upon reaching the Compulsory retiring age of sixty (60) years would be allowed to stay on on contract basis, the “assurance givers” of GRA have been selective and arbitrary in its application: A case of serious concern to the officers is the contract awarded to one Mr. Samuel Djanjmah as a Consultant for two years.

Mr. Djanjmah, an Assistant Commissioner, retired in June 2020, but with effect from 15th July, 2020, has been appointed on contract with the rank of “Deputy Commissioner” for two years into a position that already has two substantive permanent officers with the rank of Assistant Commissioner. This appointment is certainly inimical to the interest of GRA. It is superfluous and just a case of creating a job for a friend.

These officers were quick to point out that at a well-organised send-off party for Mr. Djanjmah, the Commissioner was overheard discussing the juicy terms of the contract. Mr. Djanjmah was scared of the pressure and opposition from the Union of GRA. The Commissioner was therefore advised by the former Assistant Commissioner and now Deputy Commissioner to make the terms and conditions of his appointment in such a way as to escape the scrutiny and opposition from the Union. Whereupon, the Commissioner obliged and gave Djanjmah all the necessary assurances. Djanjmah kept keys to his office and official vehicles between June and July 15, 2020 when he was on terminal leave.

The question that the officers are asking are the following:

  1. What special skills does Mr. Djanjmah have which no officer in GRA currently possesses such that he has to be contracted as a consultant to do?
  2. Why does he have to be given the rank of Deputy Commissioner when his substantive rank, while in service, was Assistant Commissioner?
  3. What is the normal policy on ranks when an officer is to be given a contract after retiring?
  4. Why should Mr. Djanjmah be given a straight two-year contract and not the conventional services of six months’ renewable contracts contingent upon performance?
  5. Is it not only professional accountancy qualification that Mr. Djanjmah is having?
  6. Are there not several qualified Accountants with experience and maturity higher or equal to that of Mr. Djanjmah in GRA today?
  7. Why was Mr. George Munufieh removed from Transport for Mr. Samuel Djanjmah to take over as the Head?
  8. What happened to the insurance contracts for GRA and the “envelopes of appreciation” given by some of the Insurance Companies to some staff of GRA?
  9. Why was Mr. Djanjmah hurriedly sent to be Head of Transport when he had just about four (4) months to retire?
  10. Did Mr. Djanjmah have any training or expertise in logistics, supply chain or/and vehicle management?
  11. Was it not a preparation towards the current contract appointment which is unwarranted, profligate and superfluous?
  12. Could the package being given to Mr. Djanjmah not be used to recruit several junior officers (Junior Revenue Assistants) to do more productive work in the system?
  13. Did the Commissioner follow the normal laid-down procedures for such an engagement?
  14. Was there any publication, internal or public, to invite persons with the requisite qualifications for the appointment “gifted’’ to Mr. Samuel Djanjmah?
  15. What will be the power and authority relationships between Mr. Djanmah and the two permanent line officers, Assistant Commissioners in the Department?

Concerned officers of GRA and right thinking Ghanaians want immediate answers to these questions to be able to deal with the growing tensions.

The staff of GRA, whose children, wards, relatives and fellow citizens applied for employment, attended interviews of GRA in 2018, had medical examinations and underwent Police fingerprint exercises but are yet to be recruited are asking for justice in the face of the assurance givers recruitment of over thirty (30) persons into GRA on permanent and contract basis.

These issues of promotions and recruitment are soaring tensions in an already volatile environment in GRA. The actions and inactions of the Board Chairman, the Acting Commissioner General and Madam Julie Essiam who must have and is always having her way in GRA and their anchors are creating serious disaffection and discontent in GRA.

The government of NPP is becoming more and more unpopular with staff of GRA who want a change of government in order to get rid of the dictatorial and unstable minded Board Chairman, the incompetent and weak Acting Commissioner General and above all the pretending and unqualified Commissioner who shows gross disrespect, arrogance and recklessness in the affairs of GRA.

The earlier the NPP government realised the harm these individuals are causing to GRA, the NPP Administration and the nation as a whole, the better. The continuous retention of these persons could send the NPP into opposition, the GRA staffs has warned

More revelations follow.