President John Mahama appears to be stamping his authority as his administration approaches homestretch, with the reshuffle of some public sector chief executives and outright dismissal of others.
Notable among those relieved of their positions are Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah and Josiah Cobbah, head of the National Identification Authority (NIA), which was in the news over the destruction of multi-million dollar Ghana cards.
Also moving on are Paarock Van Percy of the National Communications Authority (NCA), whose term of office has expired, as well as Kofi Attoh, head of the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), both under the Ministry of Communications.
In Mr Mensah’s case, his deputy in charge of operations, Nathaniel Otoo, has been asked to act in his stead, while loquacious Kobby Acheampong, acting head of the Youth Enterprise Authority (YEA), replaces Mr Attoh, who was the NDC’s Director of International Affairs at GIFEC.
Vincent Kuagbenu, a former National Service Secretariat (NSS) Director, who was recently a Presidential Staffer in charge of registering government cars, is taking over from Kobby Acheampong at YEA, formerly GYEEDA or NYEP.
A member of the just-concluded Justice Senyo Dzamefe Commission, Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko, replaces Laud Senanu as Chief Executive of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), while head of ICT at NIA, Kwame Osei Griffiths, son of Commander Pius M. G. Griffiths (Rtd), former Minister of Communications in the erstwhile Jerry Rawlings regime, has replaced Mr Cobbah as head of the authority.
Director General of National Information Technology Agency (NITA), William Tevie, has been sent to NCA to replace Mr Van Percy, while the President is reportedly working to replace head of Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Rudlof Beckley; Kirk Koffi at Volta River Authority (VRA); Dr Alphons Kwao Dorcoo at Tema Oil Refinery (TOR); Moses Asaga at National Petroleum Authority (NPA); Noble Appiah at Metro Mass Transit (MMT); Robert Dwamena at Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Kwame Awuah Darko at Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST).
All these bodies have attracted bad press lately, raising concerns among NDC supporters.
The report of the axing and changing of the CEOs was received with excitement among the concerned NDC members who think that the state owned organisations were leading the government to the slaughter’s slab.
Yesterday, Sylvester Mensah of NHIA explained on an Accra-based private radio station that he was relieved of his post and did not resign as was being speculated.
An internal memo leaked to the media Tuesday titled, ‘Sylvester Mensah resigns from NHIA’ said the former MP for La Dadekotopon was leaving the authority after six years in office, and would be reassigned in due course.
However, Mr Mensah dismissed the resignation report and said he received a letter from the Flagstaff House, the seat of government, to the effect that he had been relieved of his post.
‘I received a letter relieving me of my post and another (person) acting in my stead and so I sent an internal memo to all my staff across the country notifying them of the change in leadership and someone leaked it to the media with his own heading on it.
‘It is not true that [I have resigned] I have been relieved of my post and I am happy for serving in that capacity for this number of years…that is the issue not that I have resigned.
‘I served for six years and I am exceedingly grateful and thankful,’ he told Peace FM.
Mr Mensah, in answering a question on who signed the letter relieving him of his post and whether the letter stated reasons for that decision, said it was signed by the ‘appointing authority’ and that it said his tenure had expired.
‘I think government does not owe any appointee a security of tenure and I am exceedingly grateful for the honour to serve in public office. If you serve in public office for one year and you are relieved, you must be thankful and grateful for having the opportunity to serve your people and I am exceedingly grateful and thankful particularly to his Excellency the President at whose behest I have served.
‘I have been relieved of my post and I am happy for serving in that capacity for this number of years and I would support in any capacity. I would support not necessarily being in government; you can support from any angle from any direction and that is the issue. But not that Sylvester Mensah has resigned. It is not true,’ he noted.
The outgoing Chief Executive said he was not aware he had been pencilled for any other appointment and that no one had communicated such information to him.
On Tuesday night, an internal memo, supposedly signed by Mr Mensah informing his staff that he was on his was out and thanking them for their support over the years, got leaked and went viral on social media.
By William Yaw Owusu
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