Justice Yaw Apau
The Sole Commissioner tasked to investigate the payment of judgement debts has taken a swipe at the various professional associations for their persistent strike actions which is affecting the country’s development.
‘Everybody gets up and wants to embark on a strike action. There is too much indiscipline in this country. They do it and still get their monthly salaries. Look at what POTAG and others are doing. I think the government should look at a law that would freeze the salaries of striking workers,’ he said.
Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal was speaking at the Commission’s daily sittings yesterday after the Acting Executive Secretary of National Labour Commission (NLC) had testified on how state institutions were treating the labour arbitrator with utmost contempt.
Testifying in the case in which two Ghana Health Service (GHS) staff had petitioned the Commission because they claimed they were denied CAP 30 pension, the Acting Executive Secretary, Bernice Welbeck, lamented over how officials from the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are snubbing the constitutional body mandated to handle labour disputes.
‘The private companies are cooperating with us,’ she told the Commission, ‘but majority of the MDAs don’t honour our invitations.’
She said for instance that the Director-General of the GHS has refused to come for arbitration in the case of the two staff, Agnes Tawiah and Seth Adzah, who want the health authorities to pay their pension under Chapter 30 of the 1950 British Colonial Ordinances (Pension Ordinance No 42), popularly known as CAP 30.
Although the ministry insisted that the petitioners had already received pensions under the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Pension Scheme and were not entitled to any further payment, Mrs Welbeck said the GHS’s contribution would have helped the NLC to come out with the truth.
‘We intend to summarily determine the case having given the GHS the opportunity to rebut the plaintiff’s claim,’ she said.
She also told the Commission about how the government is losing huge sums due to the lack of cooperation from the MDAs.
The testimony incensed Justice Apau when he said, ‘In Ghana, it is the educated people who are sinking this country. It is not the farmer or the poor market woman…it is the educated people who mostly enjoy government scholarship who are hurting the country. State institutions should first respect the law.’
Later, Asakkua Agambila, Executive Secretary of Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), also testified in the divestiture of GIHOC Pharmaceuticals to Phyto-Riker Pharmaceuticals Inc and turned into Phyto-Riker (GIHOC) Pharmaceuticals Limited in 1998.
He said there was a valid lease of the land in Dome, Accra to the investor and said a court once ruled that the land was legally acquired by the government before admitting that there were times he heard about encroachments on the land.
Kwesi Kobea Bentsi-Enchil, Chief Valuer in- charge of Compensation Schedule at the Land Valuation Division, also testified in the GIHOC case and said the government had acquired a total of 103.07 acres of land under E.I. 81 and E.I. 48 respectively for the project.
David Agbale of the Legal Department at the Ministry of Finance told the Commission that the ministry was yet to come across the payment request it made in the GIHOC transaction.
By William Yaw Owusu
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