Illegal board allowances sparks confusion at PMMC

Fri, 10 May 2019 Source: The Herald

The Board of Directors of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) Ltd, is fidgeting with a Joint Venture Agreement it has entered into with an Indian company, and is likely to dip investor confidence, plunge the state-owned institution into chaos and Akufo-Addo government into an international embarrassment.

This follows a decision by a section of PMMC board led by the Eastern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kingston Akomeng Kissi, to sack the lead director of the Joint Venture Agreement that the state-own company is into with the foreign company.

The decision to frustrate theJoint Venture Agreement, The Herald learnt has been about disagreement over allowances that some members of the board, including its chairman Mr Akomeng Kissi, felt they were entitled to, but the Indian, Mayank Shah as an Executive Director of the PMMC Jewelry Ltd (PJL), felt they weren’t per a directive from the Ministry of Finance on the payment of allowances.

As result of this, on Monday, April 29, Mayank Shah, was matched to his office by the company’s security men on the orders of the board chairman and two other board members to grab whatever personal belongings he had and thrown into his car, and driven out of the premises like a common criminal, according to an eyewitness.

Mayank Shah, whose company, Aditan Enterprises, has a 50 percent stake in the joint venture, was also handed a 92-hour ultimatum to vacate his official residence.

The building was previously dilapidated, and Aditan rented it from PMMC with the understanding that he will renovate it with its own funds and occupy it for some time.

Shockingly, the dismissal took place at an extraordinary general meeting of the board Monday, on April 29 with only three Board Members present.

Strangely, the board chairman and his colleagues present, had hurriedly called the extraordinary meeting by capitalizing on a disagreement between Mayank and his partner; Robin Mehta, whom they had called into the board meeting from abroad via video conference to agree to the removal of Mayank as a director.

Interestingly, at the time of calling Robin Mehta via the video link in India, he had resigned as a director and shareholder in Aditan Enterprise, nine clear months earlier, and being paid some monies he was entitled to by Mayank.

According to documents cited by The Herald, he Robin Mehta had resigned on June 9, 2018, and therefore ceases to take decision for and on behalf of Aditan.

Additionally, court documents also cited by The Herald, confirmed that as far back as June 11, 2018, Mayak Shah, and Robin Mehta, who is resident in Mumbai- India, had agreed to part ways after reaching some “terms of settlement”.

He was to be paid US$953.487 which Robin, invested into the Joint Venture. He was to get interest on the said amount.

Some workers, this paper spoke to, believe that the Indian was not treated fairly by the board, and that the government must step in to ensure that sanity prevails for the institution to return to the recovery bed.

They suspect that the Eastern Regional NPP Chairman and his colleagues, engineered Mayak Shah’s removal to cook their on Joint Venture Agreement with a preferred company, so as to make money at the expense of the state-owned institution.

They explained that, shortly after Mayank Shah, was driven out of the premises of the PMMC, the NPP Regional Chairman and the new Managing Director of PMMC, Alhaji Alhassan Suleman, the former Upper West Regional Minister,quickly wrote to the bankers in-charge of proceeds from the Joint Venture Agreement, seeking to change the signatories to the account.

According to insiders, the banks ignored their letter and a cheque the two had issued to withdraw various sums from the bank account. Mayak Shah is one of the signatories to the bank account.

The decision to sack Mayank Shah and the subsequent refusal of the banks not to honour the cheques, The Herald further, learnt, is likely to affect the operations of PMMC. This is because salaries, allowances and other benefits due the workers hung in the balance, because of uncertainties over the Joint Venture Agreement.

The deal had ensured that financial obligations due the PMMC workers, had been regularly honoured by management as a result of the Joint Venture Agreement.

Indeed, the PMMC workers are known for demonstrating upon the least of provocations, and denial of their salaries, allowances and others benefits due them could lead to an upheaval at the company, and this might consume the board and management in a matter of days.

Until his removal, The Herald learnt that, Mayank managed the marketing and production activities of the company from its beginning.

He also oversaw the day to day operations in terms of payments and procuring of gold for production, as well as marketing related matters and store management.

Graphic Online’s report, Mayank was diplomatic about the situation and only acknowledges that his lawyers are studying his case.

Same Graphic Online, wrote that when it reached one of his lawyers, Frank Davies, he explained that “it is a problem that is why he has notified his lawyers so we will deal with it.”

Aditan, an Indian company, had been under the directorship of Mayank and another Indian, Robin Metha until differences between them led to their split. Before the split, however, the company, had signed to partner the PJL to revive its production activities and fortunes.

The split between the Aditan partners which led to an agreed settlement to pay off Metha, had meant that Mayank was the sole representative of Adetan at PJL.

Mr Akomeng Kissi told Graphic Online that the joint venture agreement is still active, and that Mayank’s removal was in consonance with the procedure for removing directors as prescribed by the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) as amended.

On why Mayank has been asked to quit his residence, Mr Kissi offered the following explanation: “According to the Tenancy Agreement between PMMC and Aditan, the other shareholder, the tenancy was structured so as to last the duration of the JVA. However, Mayank Shah was occupying the place by virtue of his position as a director. And now that he is no longer a director, the company requires urgent use of same.”

A source close to the company, however,confirmed, the board meeting that removed Mayank saw Metha invited into the meeting via video conference to agree to the removal of Mayank as a director.

It will be recalled that staff of PMMC went on demonstration in October last year, calling for the dissolution of the board amidst allegations that excessive, unapproved board allowances and unscheduled staff movements were hampering the company’s fortunes.

They also leveled allegations of procurement infractions and staff victimization against the management of the company, and demanded that the then Managing Director, Mr Opare Hammond be sacked from office.

Opare Hammond in January of 2019, passed away.

Source: The Herald

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