Assistant Chief Fire Officer, ACFO Mark Brako Appiah of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has dismissed allegations by some staff of the service that he was illegitimately appointed to the fire service council.
He said he was legitimately appointed to the council as stipulated by the Fire Service Act, Act 537, which states inter alia that, “The Council consists of two members of the Service, nominated by the Chief Fire Officer, one of whom is of a junior rank, and two other persons, one of whom is a woman”.
The Assistant Chief Fire Officer was reacting to concerns raised by some staff of the service calling for his withdrawal from the Fire Service Council.
The staff, who spoke to the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity, alleged that those who represented the officers and other ranks on the council were not selected according to the convention developed within the service for such appointments. Rather, they were handpicked by the immediate past Chief Fire Office, CFO Edwin Ekow Blankson, to represent them on the council.
According to them, the service had a culture and convention where representatives were elected from the regions to meet in Accra, during which the nominees presented two persons to represent the two sides on the council.
However, for the first time in several years, they heard the names of their representatives in the media just like all Ghanaians; thus defying the long-standing conventions that encouraged transparency.
When the Daily Graphic sought audience from the service, Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) Mr Mark Brako Appiah Jnr, who represents the senior staff on the council, said the allegations were a creation of his detractors.
He also faced the criticism of the senior staff that he was usurping the role and functions of other directors of the service.
“He usurps the duties of the human resource personnel and has hijacked the previous and ongoing process,” some of the senior staff alleged.
“The Director, Logistics is idle and pretends all is well, in reality, she is playing the second fiddle to ACFO Brako Appiah, who is in control of all supplies to the service and for that matter in close contact with the contractors to the detriment of the Director, Logistics. All purchases and supplies are directed to ACFO Brako Appiah by the Chief Fire Officer,” they alleged.
The Fire Service Council has 12 members who are mostly representatives of stakeholder agencies.
The council members are Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, CFO Edwin Ekow Blankson, Mr Thomas Ateh Donkor, Ms Evelyn Daawee Keelson, Mr Kwesi Assan-Brew, Mr Rosby Ebenezer Kome-Mensah and Mr Ballans Dordzi Boniface Kizito.
The rest are Ms Florence Pul, Mr Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere, Mr ACFO Brako Appiah Jnr, GOI Faustine Ayireke, ACFO1, James Oheneba Yaw Kwarteng.
According to them, the selection and inauguration of the governing body of the Fire Service Council was not transparent and representative.
He emphasised that the Chief Fire Officer had the mandate to nominate persons within the ranks of the service to serve on the council.
ACFO Brako Appiah was earlier this year nominated by the Chief Fire Officer, CFO Edwin Ekow Blankson, to serve on the 12-member council.
“I have spent 20 years of my life in the Service and so just like any other staff, I am qualified to be nominated based on my competence,” he stated.
“In 2017, an election was made by the Senior Officers where ACFO Mark Brako Appiah won but wasn't nominated by the Chief Fire Officer Albert Brown Gaisie but ADOI Suzannet, who was only four years in the Service at the time (but) was nominated even though she wasn't the elected officer,” he added in a text message.