SHATTERED IMAGE OF SSHFC?
I have been a keen follower of this unpalatable but politically interesting SSHFC saga! This is a big test for Gambian corporate governance. There are lots of operational manuals that are not fit for purpose within PEs in the Gambia and some have outlived their significance. There are also some good cultures that should stay and bad ones that should go!
In a nutshell before I delve into this big SSHFC show, I must confess it is very healthy for New Gambia and should serve as a guinea pig for other Public enterprises. I hope all PEs and Heads of Organisations will borrow a leaf from this SSHFC book and make provisions or amendments for a better Gambia for all? When I looked deeply into the SSHFC saga as it unfolds straddling over four months and never ending baffles my conscience and also tortures my dignity as a Gambian. How could the authorities condone this for this long?
The ultimate loser(s) is the government of the Gambia and all other stakeholders and most importantly the undiluted brand name of SSHFC. The Government of The Gambia should not have waited this long and to this day continue to wait for one man who has been found wanting and abusing his position and among others per diem theft. Why protect a thief and according to the narratives, the CEO did at one time dismiss some staff for late retirement of contribution monies. Why is this man being protected after documentary evidences and others showed he is grossly implicated?
There are more than 1000 Gambians qualified and experienced to replace this man and why keep him there and waste uncountable productive hours? I have also learnt that he did not even possess a valid voter’s card and contributed nothing to the struggle against Jammeh! The brand name of SSHFC has been grossly dented and it will take more than a decade to rebuild. The saga was not helped by the washing of their internal dirty linens in public. The name of SSHFC has been soiled and the MD’s career wrecked and tainted forever. The staff will struggle to answer on a daily and weekly basis unpalatable questions about SSHFC and their roles within SSHFC from the general public for the remaining days of their careers.
The Government’s rating goes down for its inability to make a decision and remove the MD amidst all the revelations and banter that went with the saga especially with the payments of millions to the Ex- Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and the rest of it. The public for hardship endured for the lacks of quality service from SSHFC since the saga started. The pensioners being cheated by the MD who is wasting their funds on his family, girls, flights, per diems, new cars, cozy overseas medical treatments, Apple mobile phones in Pounds Sterling, etc, etc, while blaming the staff for the noise. He is culpable for all the allegations and I cannot fathom why The Government should think twice in firing him? He should know he messed up big time and no matter what changes he wanted to propagate, he has failed. After all the revelations, he cannot accomplish anything tangible again at SSHFC as the leadership respect and love is dosed and now resentment and rancor is the order of the day within SSHFC. All I can sense for both sides is the fact that austerity is indeed on the staff and there is bound to be some noise if the idea was communicated.
However, what is interesting is the fact that the MD and all the MD entitlements are not on austerity? The hotel bills in his wife’s name was also a sour taste in the mouth and you wonder where is this man taking SSHFC as he has grossly abused his position in the process and creating new very bad precedents. The MD should go and that is where the healing period begins for SSHFC and top of the pile is enforce strategies to regain her lost goodwill and polish its brand name once again. This is not possible with the MD still there and the flow of work down at an all time low to below 30% delivery. Even their latest contribution collections figures for May, June and July are all down
A house divided among itself shall not prevail and SSHFC is deeply divided. The MD must go now before it will lead to further protracted problems and failing figures. The Government should also hold the SSHFC Top Management accountable too and make the necessary adjustments within their ranks. This will prevent a reoccurrence of MDs coming and becoming autocratic and One-Man Decision-Makers with no checks and balances whatsoever. The Government should again never allow for SSHFC and other PEs to operate without fully functional Boards. This was a big mistake and the MD should have done everything possible to get a Board and not be involved in rushing and taking certain decisions that the Board should have done. The MD did indeed abuse his powers.
Going forward, the qualifications and work ethics within the SSHFC staff should be revisited and appropriately address. Those staff in Top Management meaning director level without the prerequisite qualifications be redeployed, redesignated or laid off. The allowances they have been receiving all these years be refunded to the state and the appropriate actions to follow. The New Board Chairman who was selected by the Ex- Finance Minister should be replaced as he has been found to be biased in the whole saga in favour of the MD. All other new Board members be sensitised as to their roles and responsibilities to avoid a reoccurrence of this unhealthy situation at SSHFC.
Now that all sides have spoken and documentations forwarded to some media outlets, I have made up my mind and the Government also saw the same documentations and there is nothing that should hold them from firing the MD and charge him theft among others. This is a best signal and test case that the New Gambia can send out, that theft, corruption and abuse of office by top servicing public servants will never be condoned anymore in this New Gambia. This is a good test for President Adama Barrow and his Government and I hope they will set the records straight that other CEOs can learn and build a good country for all Gambians. The rebuilding of staff relationship within SSHFC, if the MD stays will be impossible.
The SSHFC will be reduced to a war zone as the MD will try to settle scores with the staff who exposed his corrupt and dodgy ways of administration. The solution is simple as all the allegations have proven that MD is faulty and is also at fault with the laws of the land for travelling without SCOT and the rest of it. The immediate solution to saga is for the Government to suspend him pending the Independent Panel’s Report. I am sorry for my contributions but I am a Gambian and I will not be forgiven after seeing the truth and be silent about it.
Lang J. Ceesay, A Concerned Gambian.