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IRON BOY (2 OF 4)

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Part 2 of 4

The reputable Abanga Industries was headed by the astute and stern Francis Abanga whom staff called ‘Director’. As the foremost computer consumables company in the region set up since 1990, AI maintained a high corporate standing in the region, and a niche for innovation in the country’s tech industry. Needless to say, Director, who took over from his pioneering father a decade ago, had no intention of allowing anyone or anything to compromise the enviable image of his family heirloom. Over his dead body.

Director worked from 530 AM to 10 PM. He was usually first to enter his complex, and almost always last to leave…except Malik Asala, the thought of whom always brought a touch of warmth to his heart. The young man was finishing work on a prototype that could change the course of Ghanaian history. Fingers crossed.

This morning, Director was early at work – as usual – when the company accountant knocked to enter his office. He was nervous, but he went straight to the point: there was a thief with great sophistication prowling among the senior staff. Stunned, Director summoned all workers to an impromptu meeting. And when all the staff had gathered, there hang a deep cloud of suspicion and apprehension. Director asked:

“Where is Malik?” The room remained silent. “Where is Malik?” He inquired again, this time standing to his feet and moving from behind his desk. No response came. And then the silence was broken.

“With all due respect Sir, we have no idea where our golden boy is,” Caspar Akambilla the senior auditor retorted sarcastically. Casper was dense, thirty-two years, thick in the head, tall and plump-ish. He continued: “So, I suggest you tell us the reason for this meeting.”

The rest of the workers responded in unison. That was not the response Director was expecting, but he saw that it would be in the interest of the company and the workers if he went straight to the point.

“Okay, if you say so. The issue at hand today is that, there have been some misappropriations in this establishment. The reason why I called this meeting is because we have a thief in our mist. A traitor among us who has been stealing the company’s money and I wanted to inform you all before Management goes to the police.” Director paused and moved between the workers. All of them looking on stunned by the news, exuding faces of innocence.

“And just for you to know, if you are the one, it will be better to come clean now before we inform the police. I called this meeting to give the chance to the thief to come out himself before the police come. So, I am asking again: who has been stealing money from this company?” Director bellowed with a stern face. “Who is the thief we’ve been accommodating in this company all this while?”

The workers were still silent. No one was talking at first. And then Casper coughed:

“With all due respect Sir, I think you are not looking at the situation in the right way.” Most of the workers were astounded by his impudence.

“And what is your reason for that Casper Akambilla?” Director inquired.

“There is one somebody we’re missing boss, Golden boy.” Casper spoke with great bravado. “Who knows if Malik may be the one who had been embezzling the companies’ finances, considering the fact that, he seems to be the only one who is not among us now.” he added. Some of the workers nodded their heads to that.

“Malik will never do such a thing.” Director defended.

“Here you go defending him even before we have heard from his mouth. The first question I asked myself when you started interrogating us was ‘where is Malik?’ Where is he in all this? Can we say it is a coincidence that he is absent on the same day we are looking for a thief in the company? What shows that it’s not Malik who has embezzled the funds and has made away with the money, which is why he is not here with us this morning?” Casper asserted loudly.

“Yes,” supported some of the workers. The entire office was now consumed by murmurs. The commotion continued for some time, until a loud bellow from Director rendered the room silent again.

“Silence, all of you. Just so you know, I know some of you dislike Malik for whatever reasons: his discipline, ethics and dedication, qualities most of you lack. But this is not the meeting where you show how much you dislike another in their absence. I have given you all a chance to own up. The next time we reconvene, someone will be going to jail, trust me,” Director promised. “You are free to go back to work.”

Staff members quizzed themselves as they moved away to their respective terminals to start the day’s work. All through the commotion, one young lady was eager to have a word with Casper. She signaled him to wait. It was the data analyst Jaraya Akwaengo. She was twenty-five, heaven-dark skinned, quick to learn and easy to work with. She was also kind of close to Malik.

“Casper, do you really think Malik is the one stealing the company’s money?” She enquired. Casper looked away and shrugged.

“I do not know. But one thing I know is that, we are all wolves in sheep’s clothing. Even you. You think we don’t know your secret rendezvous with Malik?” Casper tested.

“What?” Jaraya blurted with her mouth opened. By the time her mouth closed again, he was gone. She stood there stunned.


Part 2 of 4: To be continued

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