General Politics

Blay takes GNPC boss to the cleaners

The Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Freddie Worsemawuo Blay, has ‘disciplined’ the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr KK Sarpong, reminding him that the CEO is subject to the directions of the Board of Directors.

In what appears to be basic knowledge of a whole CEO of such institution, Mr Blay, however, reminded Dr KK Sarpong that the day-to-day management role and business of the Corporation cannot cease when the CEO is out of the country.

According to Mr Blay, best corporate practice worldwide enjoins a good and competent CEO to have a management succession, within which context the CEO hands over to a Deputy, who continues with the day-to-day corporate functions.

“In the specific case of the GNPC, the Law requires that a Senior Officer of the Corporation shall be designated by the Board to perform the functions of the CEO in his absence,” he quoted portions of the PNDCL 64 (Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Act 1993) section 10(6).

The Board Chairman took the CEO to the cleaners, after a letter from the latter sought to make the former look bad for not informing him about a meeting the Board held in his absence, though he was out of the country.

Though the CEO was not physically present in the jurisdiction, he thought it would be “at least considerate” of the Board Chairman to inform him of the “hurriedly arranged emergency meeting,” he said in a letter dated February 5, 2019, addressed to Mr Blay.

He also said the Board Chairman was using his party position to maneuver his way and interfering in the activities of the CEO, thereby, creating challenges he had to confront.

However, in his heavily-worded reply, Mr Blay, further educated the CEO that the Chief Finance Officer was the Senior Officer designated to act and run the affairs of the corporation in the absence of the CEO.

“As you rightly stated, but in the twisted logic of your letter, I deal with the office of CEO and not the person. In that context, and based on the collective decisions of the Board, I have, within the confines of my legal authority as Chairman, directed the office of the CEO to implement decisions of the Board.

“To suggest that you must be personally informed or consulted in your absence points to a very personalised and dysfunctional management style. This should not be tolerated in a public corporation. GNPC is neither and must not be managed as a sole proprietorship entity,” Blay’s letter stated.

Mr Blay particularly took exception to the allegation that he was using his chairmanship position of the ruling party to forcibly maneuver his way through matters that could be handled professionally, and demanded an unreserved withdrawal and apology from the CEO.

He indicated that ordinarily, he would have preferred not to dignify the letter with a response in respect of the matters raised and the allegations made, but, for the records of the Corporation, and to set the records straight to the people who were copied.

“I find the rest of your allegations about interference, involvement in procurement, instructions to your subordinates, festering, parallel etc, to be malicious, wicked and spurious fabrications. If these ever occurred, it must be in the figment of someone’s imagination.”

According to Mr Blay, the undue stress on the administration, and the low morale of hard-working staff, are the direct consequences and hallmarks of the CEO’s management style, “which surplants teamwork with individual ego, clanism, intimidation and victimisation of staff.

“Without mincing my words, I find your allegation, that I am using my position of Chairman of the ruling party to force my way through on matters that must be handled professionally, to be malevolent as it is mischievous.

It is deftly calculated to damage my name and reputation, impugn the independence of the Board, and its decisions. I seriously take great exception to it…” Blay’s letter read.


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