My office is to serve Ghanaians not my friends – Stephen Asamoah-Boateng
The Director-General of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), Mr. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng (in the middle), says his office is to serve Ghanaians and deliver results.
He said he would, therefore, not look on unconcerned when appointed Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) were not performing.
He explained further that his mandate is to protect state institutions and as such he is ready to go to the extreme to ensure that state interests are protected .
Mr. Asamoah Boateng was speaking on a number of measures taken by SIGA to ensure maximum profitability of institutions under his supervision.
He said his outfit has had to take steps like threatening sanctions against the heads of institutions to get them to discharge their duties and ensure maximum benefit from their operations.
According to him, even though he may be friends with many of the CEOs of state-owned businesses, he discharges his duty without fear or favor, holding everyone accountable.
“I don’t work as a friend when I’m here. This is a public office and as a public officer, I work for the people of Ghana and the President who appointed me,” he said on Joy News’ ‘PM Express’.
Mr. Asamoah-Boateng said one of his mandates was to advise and recommend to President Akufo-Addo organisational heads who should be sanctioned or sacked for under-performing.
He said SIGA was now legally-backed to sanction heads or boards of state institutions for non-performance or mismanagement.
He, however, added that the decision to sack an organisational head lies solely in the hands of the President, that is, after he, as head of SIGA, had made recommendation to the President to that effect.
Citing the Produce Buying Company (PBC) case, Mr. Asamoah-Boateng said he, together with the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, dissolved the board, sacked the managing director (MD) and later appointed a new board and MD.
“I have worked with the Minister of Agriculture to change the management of PBC. We changed the Board and the MD because the direction was not there. We had to put our foot down so they had to go,” he explained.
He said he was part of the team that recommended managerial changes to the President on issues surrounding the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) that saw the sacking of management members at the company.
Mr. Asamoah-Boateng would not give details of his involvement in that case but maintained that his office looks at the performance of the various institutions before recommending what action should be taken.
“I cannot tell you the details but I was involved in every one of them. We work as a team and looking at the performance, I can then give factual information to His Excellency the President who, based on such recommendation, takes a decision,” he said.
According to him, the sanctions have put other heads of state institutions on their toes because they were appointed to turn around the businesses they have been put in charge.
He was, however, quick to add that the sanctions and recommendations for sacking are the last option his office considers.
The SIGA boss said he had created a Chamber of CEOs where all the various organisational heads met to discuss how they could work together to ensure that everyone is delivering on their mandate.
“What I have tried to do here is not go head-on with sanctions. What I came here to do is to create an environment for us to work together. So we created the Chamber of CEOs and we work together as a team.
“We have met several times and elected Dr. K. K. Sarpong as the head. I just coordinate for them and we have brought together a team who knows when one falls, we all fall.
“The chamber has three objectives: to learn from each other, to inter-trade among ourselves and conduct peer reviews. I have setup a team for conflict resolution made up of eight people. Two top CEOs, three Board Chairs and two cabinet ministers. So it is not always sanctioning. It is talking to them and letting them know they are veering off.
“They know the ground rules that if you do not perform, it goes to the resolution group who recommends an action to be taken by the President,” Mr. Asamoah-Boateng explained.