Expat BCM Group CEO faces prosecution for allegedly assaulting Ghanaian employee

The CEO of a mining contracting company, BCM Ghana Limited (BCM), Paul List, is sweating on assault charges after allegedly beating up an employee who has worked for the company for nearly 30 years.

Mr List, an Australian married to a Ghanaian woman, unleashed his fury on 62-year-old Jonathon Adongo, leaving him with ear, shoulder and hip injuries. According to the victim, Mr List had been on an agenda to access vital company files that would aid his quest to take over the company established with the other shareholder of BCM.

Mr Jonathan Adongo, the Administration Manager and Company Secretary of BCM, had declined to hand over his personal phones and laptop after Mr List attempted to unlawfully confiscate the items.

Mr Adongo’s face subsequently became a punching bag for Mr List as he forcibly seized the laptop. The incident occurred at about 1 pm on Sunday, June 13, at the main office of BCM located at Labone, Accra.

Mr Adongo subsequently reported the matter to the Cantonment Police Station on the same day, and he was issued with a medical form to seek treatment.

Insensitive to the plight of a devout employee and lacking remorse for his actions on the said day, Mr List signed a dismissal letter on June 23 2021 to terminate the employment of Mr Adongo on the premise of his refusal to attend an invitation to a ‘disciplinary hearing’ for ‘alleged insubordination’ which occurred on the said day.

An officer at the Cantonment Police Station, Inspector Maxwell Danquah, confirmed the case to The Ghana Report. He added, however, that the case had been transferred to the Accra Regional Police Command.

The case was taken from the Cantonment Police after Mr List allegedly reported a ‘counter-assault’ charge at the Accra Regional Command days after the said incident and after refusing to appear at the Cantonment Police Station on the assault charges reported by Mr Adongo on the day of the incident.

Mr Adongo said he “feels really traumatized … the last time I visited the hospital, my blood pressure had shot up and I was put on medication.” “I feel pains in my hip. I can’t raise my arm beyond a certain level. There was no cut, but I feel pains in my ear as well and find it difficult to sleep at night when I feel the effects most”.

Even though the company invited him to a disciplinary hearing, he said he asked them to specify what they wanted him to answer because the case had been reported to the police and did not want to act in a way that would interfere with investigations.

Additionally, he said he didn’t feel safe. Therefore he could not go to the same premises where he was assaulted, for a botched up disciplinary hearing, especially after he was thrown out of the office and the security man on duty ordered never to let him into the office. He is also aware that they have since broken into his office and changed the locks.

The victim maintains that he cannot withdraw the case and go back to work for the company if Mr List remains as the CEO. “Either he steps down, and I get back to work, not in the position of an employee but a consultant, or we head to court.”

He is pressing criminal charges of assault, attempting to confiscate his personal phones, confiscation of his personal computer, which is still with Mr List and for being held hostage for hours at the office premises while Mr List waited for his personal lawyer to arrive with a ‘yet to be identified’ police officer to intimidate Mr Adongo.

He is ready to pursue civil action for damages and compensation for the unfair termination of his employment.

“To suddenly seize a car, phones, computer, etc. from a man and throw him into the street is tantamount to stripping a person naked and leaving him to fend for himself. I never thought that after working for almost 30 years and being part of the company’s success story, Mr Paul List would treat me in that manner. This was certainly harassment, humiliation and a lack of human decency at its highest peak,” he lamented.

It is apparent that Mr List’s ill-treatment of his Ghanaian employees has previously gone unnoticed.

Our investigations reveal harassment complaints from many employees.

Even more disturbing is a complaint relating to Mr Paul List stripping a company driver completely naked on suspicion of taking GHS 300 which was never proven.

The employee who wishes to remain anonymous has since left the company after his dehumanizing ordeal.

What happened at the BCM offices on the said day?

Mr Adongo had gone to work on a Sunday to clear some backlog when Mr Paul List visited his office with one Mike Cooke, his friend and so-called consultant for a discussion.

Within a short time, Jeremy List, Paul’s eldest son, joined them.

They continued discussions for a while, after which Mr List suddenly demanded Mr Adongo hand over his personal phone so he could read his Whatsapp messages. After several minutes of reading his messages to his satisfaction, Mr List demanded that some messages be forwarded to him which Mr Adongo refused to do indicating that he did not have authority to forward those messages. Mr List pointed out that Mr Adongo’s refusal would amount to insubordination.

“I will consider this as insubordination and will throw you out of the office immediately,” Mr Adongo quoted Mr List. Mr List then asked him to hand over all his phones and computer, lock the office, and give the office and car keys to the security on duty and leave the premises immediately.

“I responded to him that as I play a dual role as Administration Manager and Company secretary for most of the companies in the Group owned by himself and the other shareholder, I owe a duty to hand over the documents (most of which are confidential) to a responsible officer appointed or designated by the Board of Directors granted that I have done nothing untoward and deserve to be terminated as an employee in the position of Administration Manager of BCM Ghana Limited and also removed as Company Secretary for the various companies,” Mr Adongo explained.

According to Mr Adongo, Mr List then came to his sitting area and got behind him to the side table.

“As I was turning to see what he was doing behind me, he suddenly pushed me violently, and I fell off together with the office swivel chair onto the ground at the far end of the office. I struggled to get up, and both his son and Mr Cooke never bothered to help me get up”.

“Whilst I was down and struggling to get up, Mr List quickly removed the cables to my laptop computer and took it from the table ready to move out of the office, but he could not do so because myself and the chair had blocked the pathway”.

I managed to get off the floor and onto my feet. That was when Mr List “threw punches at and towards me”.

“I then tried to reach my desk to get my computer and mobile phones with my hands raised in protection against the punches he was throwing at me. His son immediately rushed in-between us in a bid to separate us. Whilst his son was in between us, with his face towards me and blocking me from doing anything, Mr List was still throwing punches at my ribs from behind his son. His friend Mr Cooke then came from behind me and held my hands to my body and dragged me to the visitors sitting area and allowed Mr List to walk out of my office with the computer”.

Mr Adongo was prevented from leaving until he had handed over the phones, car keys and office keys. He was held hostage for over an hour at office premises until he called the police on his phone for assistance.

When Mr List heard that he had called the police, he immediately drove out of the office and called his other son Joshua List, who came later to the office and walked out of the main gate with the computer concealed in a brown envelope.

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