Castigate not Kwame Owusu – Maritime Authority workers defend ex-boss

Castigate not Kwame Owusu – Maritime Authority workers defend ex-boss
Source: Ghana| |Abubakar Ibrahim |
Date: 19-07-2019 Time: 05:07:52:pm

Workers of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) have mounted a strong defence of their embattled former Director-General, Kwame Owusu.

According to them, he is probably the best thing that ever happened to the Authority as they claim he chalked a lot of success while heading the organisation.

Citing examples, they lauded him for improving the Authority’s financial performance for 2017/18 as well as helping to acquire vessels for monitoring activities within the country’s maritime jurisdiction.

The also praised him for improving a lot of general maritime activities across the country as well as their working conditions.

The workers cited improved safety on the Volta Lake, putting in place Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS) and e-Navigation as well as his initiative to construct office Complexes at Accra, Tema and Takoradi.

Click here for the workers' full statement

Mr Kwame Owusu made the headlines recently after his appointment to head the management board of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Civil Society Organisations, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) as well as some individuals, have called on the President to revoke his appointment until he is cleared of corruption allegations.

In 2017, Mr Owusu, as head of the Ghana Maritime Authority organised an end-of-year dinner for staff at a cost of ȼ135,123. 

He explained that the Authority budgeted for 500 people despite a staff strength of 200 to allow for stakeholders, wives, girlfriends and dependants.

He also organised a lunch for eight people at ȼ10,000. Both events were organised at a hotel which he owns, raising conflict of interest concerns.

Again, Mr Owusu also renovated his two-bedroom official residence and expanded it into a four-bedroom house fitted with 11 air-conditioners all at the cost of ȼ1million.

These expenditures deemed profligate attracted public bashing and later a Transport Ministry promised to probe the president’s appointee.

There is also corruption investigations ongoing at the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

Critics say President Nana Akufo-Addo's avowed fight against corruption has been dented by his appointment of a man previously accused of corruption as a board chair. 

But the workers say all the allegations are untrue. 

Clearing him of any wrongdoing, they fell short of talking about the allegations regarding the 11 air conditions.

Refusing to take any question from the media, the workers said they were stating the facts as they are which need no questioning.

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) is unimpressed with the justification provided by the workers.

GII’s Programmes Coordinator, Michael Boadi said while Ghanaians are the best judge of what is transpiring, an investigation is needed to settle all doubts.

But before an investigation, however, he wants President Akufo-Addo to revoke Kwame Owusu’s Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board chair appointment.

“We (GII) stand by that call to the president because we still don’t see any difference between the time the allegations were made and the spirited defence that the workers have come to put out.

“The defence has done nothing to contradict the allegations that were made at the time. They only expressed their views, not facts,” he said on Joy FM’s Top Story.