The former director of administration of the National Service Secretariat, Simon Peter McKanadamah, was today cut to size at the Accra High Court, Labour Division One.
The once ever powerful man who was virtually untouchable was disgracefully dealt with during cross-examination in the case involving
Counsel for the plaintiffs, Godwin Kudzo Tamakloe, holding brief for Theodore Nsoe Adimazoya, grilled Reverend McKandamah for over two hours after he was led to tender his witness statement to the court.
The first question threw to the overconfident McKandah, saw him fumbling to explain whether his own promotion to the head of administration of the NSS was done through the Public Services Commission (PSC). In his answers, he said he was only given a letter and therefore cannot tell if his promotion came to the PSC.
Counsel further asked him whether he held any management positions in the NSS before becoming head of administration, Mr. McKandamah said he was in charge of National Volunteer Service. Counsel then asked whether he has been the head of human resource before. He then answered he was when human resource and administration were combined.
The climax came when counsel for plaintiffs dragged him to the substantive issues. Godwin Tamakloe asked McKandamah whether he recruited district directors for the scheme when he was HR Manager to which he answered he recruited several of them. Then counsel asked whether those recruitments were advertised in any national daily newspaper. Mr. McKandamah replied they advertised in the electronic and print media and internally.
There came a moment of confusion and contradiction when McKandamah sought to show his “too known character” to the court. Counsel put it to him that the appointment letters issued to the staff were generated from his office as head of administration. He replied in the affirmative but added that the draft he made was edited. He was shown a copy of plaintiff’s appointment letter and asked to tell the court what was edited out of his draft. He claimed the distribution list excluded the Public Services Commission, he also said the name he put on the draft was not Lukeman Imoro. Then he added that paragraph 7 of the letter should have been a separate document. After all these claims he told the court after drafting the employment letter, he petitioned the Public Services Commission against the recruitment.
Mr. Tamakloe further asked Mr.McKandamah what the draft he made was to do. He replied he was asked by the Executive Director to give him templates of appointment letters which he obliged as an obedient servant.
The drama unfolded when counsel took the all “knowing man” to substantiate his allegations. He put to it to him that it is was not for the Public Service Commission to approve of recruitment by the scheme. McKandamah disagreed claiming that the PSC needed to approve. Counsel again put it to him that in law it is the governing board of the scheme who approves recruitment in consultation with the Public Services Commission. McKandamah at this point said yes he agreed but still the PSC needed to give approval of staff so recruited such that when it is time for promotion, they can appear before the commission for the purpose.. He was then reminded he just agreed it was the governing board that approves recruitment. He replied that he said so because up to the 1980s it was the PSC that solely recruited for government agencies. He continued that in the 1992 constitution in article 195, that power of sole recruitment was given to the governing boards of the agencies.
Based on this admission, counsel probed McKandamah whether he stands by his earlier claim that the Public Services Commission is the sole authority to recruit for state agencies. McKandamah’s contradiction here baffled him to deny his own claim. Then prosecution counsel asked McKandamah whether there is any law, or provision in the ACT governing the NSS that proscribed outsourcing of recruitment. He nonchalantly answered he knows no law against outsourcing. Counsel again asked whether he was aware the board of the scheme has decided to outsource the recruitment. Arrogantly, McKandamah replied that management did not recommend to the board to outsource.
Counsel repeated the question to him to which he now replied that the only way he could know was through the Executive Director. “So you know for a fact that the board decided to outsource the recruitment”, Mr Tamakloe asked. At this juncture, he angrily retorted that the Executive Director told him but he did not believe it that was why he petitioned the Public Service Commission.
Prosecution counsel further wanted to find out from the witness whether he knows the board is the highest decision making the body in the scheme. Witness said yes but management has to bring issues to the board before it makes the decision. According to him, the outsourcing decision was not discussed by management so the board could not have taken that decision in a vacuum. It was further put to him that the board is not under the control of management and for that matter, the directives of the board must be implemented by management. He replied that is the case but management has to implement by laid down procedures.
It will be recalled the new management of the National Service Secretariat bizarrely issued a press statement dismissing some 205 staffs recruited by the board of the scheme in 2016. The decision was said to have been informed by the advice of the former administrator of the scheme, Simon Peter McKandamah. The staff sensed foul play and proceeded to court to challenge the unusual dismissal. For over one year now the matter has been dragging at the Accra High Court.
Sitting continues on May 14, 2017 for the final cross examination of the NSS witness.