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Former Osha consultant blanked
The Ministry of Labour has decided not to renew the $65,000-a-month contract of Occupational Safety and Health Authority (Osha) administrative consultant Prof Anthony Joseph. His contract came to an end on October 15. Joseph’s contract was the centre of controversy after he was hired as a consultant, but official correspondence described him as the chief executive director of the agency.
The latter position does not exist on the approved organisation chart of Osha. Joseph’s annual earnings amounted to $780,000. Official documents obtained by the Sunday Guardian showed that as administrative consultant Joseph failed to comply with Central Tenders Board regulations.
The regulations state that consultants must be pre-qualified and possess a tax clearance certificate and a clearance certificate issued under the Income Tax Act and the Value Added Tax Act from the Board of Inland Revenue. But, the Sunday Guardian learned, he failed to submit the documents when he was awarded the contract as administrative consultant.
The decision not to renew Joseph’s contract came days after chairman Dr Carol Bhagan-Khan tendered her resignation. A copy of the contract showed Bhagan-Khan had approved Joseph’s hiring as the administrative consultant of the authority. Deputy chairman Ryan Ramjit resigned from Osha last year after raising issues over decisions taken by the management.
The Sunday Guardian learned that in an attempt to restore order to the authority, the board of directors in an unusual move, has taken a decision to set up a management interface committee to oversee the day-to-day operations. The decision comes as the authority awaits word from line minister Errol Mc Leod on the appointment of a new chairman and deputy chairman.
Safety and health specialist Sydney Sears sent a memo on October 16 informing the Labour Minister of the decision. The memo said, “The authority has established as an interim arrangement, a management interface committee. This committee would comprise a subgroup of members of the authority that would make themselves available to provide some managerial guidance in addition to overseeing priority activities.
The committee will work directly with the management team of the agency and is expected to meet on a regular basis.”
According to the State Enterprises Performance Monitoring Manual, the board of directors is required to obtain the written approval of the Minister of Finance to authorise the appointment of directors to executive positions. A ministry official said, “The board of directors cannot assume executive functions, make decisions and then ratify such decisions at board level.
“The interface between the management team and the board ought to be through the committees of the board which already exist. “But the managers of Osha are not part of committees, neither are they invited to the meetings”
At present, the committees of the board are:
• Administration and organisation committee
• Finance and tenders committee
• Audit committee
• Technical and operations committee
However, the committees have not met with the relevant managers to chart the way forward for Osha since being set up two years ago.
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