PMMC workers demonstrate against management style of Director

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi

Workers of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) Limited have called on President Akufo-Addo to sack their Managing Director (MD), Mr Opare Hammond, over procurement infractions and victimisation of some staff.

Similarly, the workers have also called for the dissolution of the board of directors of the company, whom they have accused of helping the managing director to perpetuate his alleged procurement infractions and victimisation of some workers.

The angry staff, who demonstrated against the MD on Thursday morning, October 4, alleged that Mr Hammond had purchased an X-ray scanner machine for the company’s Airport branch, worth over GH¢600,000 without recourse to procurement regulations.

Procurement infractions

Speaking to Graphic Online, Mrs Agnes Ayittey, the PMMC local union secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union said in spite of the procurement law that required MDs to form a tender committee when purchasing an item above GH¢100,000, Mr Hammond refused to comply with such a directive before buying the x-ray scanner.


She said the MD has also increased allowances for the board of directors by 729 per cent while that of staff only increased by 12 per cent.

She added that since the beginning of 2018, the board of directors has met 25 times, costing the company over GH¢300,000.

Mrs Ayittey said such continuous meetings only affect the financial fortunes of the company, adding that the company is not financially sound to be footing such bills.

Allegations

She said although the MD had hinted that the company did not have money and that he would lay off some workers, he has employed more than 15 people since his assumption of office and also employed a number of security officers.

She alleged that when people are issued with licenses by PMMC, they are made to pay GH¢7,000 but only GH¢5,000 goes into the coffers of the company and that the remaining GH¢2,000 is not accounted for.

Mrs Ayittey said the company’s internal auditor, one Mr Kingsley Dafliso, who was going about his normal duties was slapped by the MD over an incident and subsequently sacked for no reason.

“The MD went to the man’s office and slapped him for just doing what he was supposed to do,” she said, adding that he (MD) slapped him “because he thought the man was investigating his corrupt deals.”

She further accused the MD of creating divisions among the workers, noting that he (MD) had unduly rewarded “gossips” and promoted his favourites while victimising those he perceive to be against him.

Mrs Ayittey said if their petition was not handled with the needed urgency, the staff would advise themselves, and accordingly take the next plan of action.

Union executives

The General Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, Mr Prince William Ankrah, said the demonstration would have been needless if management had not been recalcitrant in listening to the complaints of the workers.

According to him, the union made every necessary effort to meet management and the board, but their efforts never yielded any positive feedback, hence compelling the workers to resort to the demonstration to let everyone knows what is happening at the company.

He said “employees have been divided into factions” under his (Mr Hammond’s) administration, adding that such a practice would not inure to the benefit of the company.

Mr Ankrah said the union wrote to the MD to have a meeting with him, but the MD wrote back to them through his lawyer that he was on leave and that he would make time upon assumption of duty.

That, he said, the MD had resumed duty but he had written to them that he would only make time on October 9, meanwhile the union wanted to meet him on October 1.

The National Chairman of the union, Mr Kwarko Mensah Gyakari, who received the petition of the workers, said there had been so much procurement infractions under the leadership of Mr Opare Hammond.

He said there had also been series of unfair termination of appointments of some staff, and added that the union would not continue to sit aloof as its members were being victimised and abused by the MD.

“We are aware of what is happening at your company and want to assure you that Ghana Mines Workers Union will address the issue”, Mr Gyakari said.

He, however, pleaded with the workers to resume work as the leadership of the union takes up the matter.
Management

The Chief Finance Officer of the company, Mr Wilson Adutwum denied the allegations and said the MD had not violated any procurement infractions.

He also said “he (the MD) hasn’t used any divide and rule approach” in the company, and that if the workers had any grievances, they should have used dialogue instead of resorting to demonstrations.

He said the MD had rather worked to increase the financial fortunes of the company, and pointed out that the MD had been able to reduce the company’s loses, which hitherto his appointment was on the rise.

“I haven’t received any letter that the board’s allowance has been increased,” Mr Wilson said, adding that not even the salary of the MD and his deputy has been increased and that it was only the salary of the staff that was increased by 12 per cent.

Speaking on the issue, Mr Opare Hammond, debunked the allegation and said it was news to him and that he was not aware of all the allegations levelled against him.

He said even if the workers had any issues against him, they could have used appropriate channel to address their grievances than embarking on a demonstration.

He, therefore, said management and the board would meet quickly to respond to all the allegations leveled against him and them.

PMMC

Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) Ltd was established in 1963 as Ghana Diamond Marketing Board charged with the sole responsibility for the purchase and marketing of Ghana’s diamonds.

In 1989, PNDC Law 219 was enacted to yet again change the Company's name to the Precious Minerals Marketing Corporation.