Brigadier General JBE Guyiri
The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) yesterday confirmed that about GH¢1million was taken from their account to pay for the supply of the alleged importation of second-hand uniforms for personnel.
The controversy over the supply of the camouflage uniforms to the service by Jild Ventures became a heated national debate last October when issues about the quality of supply hit the media terrain.
The scandal even got murkier when Chairman of the Fire Service Council, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho who is MP for Madina, Accra, stormed the studios of Oman FM to vary the details already in the media.
Alhaji Sorogho had engaged the other panellists on the programme in a bid to pour cold water over the fire generated by the reports claiming, among other things, that the board did not know the quality of the uniforms which he added were not destined for personnel of the GNFS but rather ‘for fire volunteers and school fire cadet corps.’
Interestingly, he had said that the uniforms were distributed to officers only to retrieve them when they realized that they were mismatched and that some of them had condoms and name tags of the original users.
Yesterday, the Chief Fire Officer, together with the police, military and prisons all appeared before the Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts to give details of notices of intention to sue filed against the various security agencies.
Chief Fire Officer
Brig. Gen. John Bosco Guyiyri who is acting Chief Fire Officer told Sole Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau that the court had ordered the GNFS account to be ‘gleaned’.
‘Details of all our accounts particularly at Ghana Commercial Bank and Bank of Ghana were garnisheed. In the course of the ruling the court called the managers and ordered them to pay,’ and added that ‘our account has not been replenished by the state following the incident.’
Flanked by Wynni Azomyan of the Logistsics Department of GHNS, he said, ‘Before the case we were made to write to advise the Attorney General about the details of the case and from my lay man’s point of view, I thought we had a case but it turned out the other way.’
He said ‘the exhibits are still there and the facts are also there. Some of the uniforms were old. Some were torn and some even had name tags on them.’
He said what brought the action was that it had been stated that ‘we wanted a certain quantity of pairs of uniforms and that was advertised. Instead of pairs, the contract stated pieces of uniforms and the supplier arrogated to herself interpreting pieces to mean the top and down as separate pieces in which case we will pay double for one pair.’
Brig. Gen. Guyiyri said ‘it was at the time I had assumed the seat so when they brought the vouchers I refused to sign and that went on with jostles here and there until the supplier sent the case to court,’ adding, ‘The GNFS Council has written to the government through the Ministry of the Interior expressing reservations about the judgement and we are awaiting any action that would be taken.’
Lt. Cols. Charles Gbekle and Benjamin Amoah-Boakye, both of the Legal Directorate of the Ghana Armed Forces also testified and tendered documents that indicated that before the military was sued notices of intention were served on them as the law mandated.
Lt. Col Gbekle, however, told the commission that some of the cases were pending in court and could not go further.
Alidu Fuseini, Chief Director of Ministry of Defence flanked by Group Captain Mike Kwame Appiah-Agyekum of the Ghana Air Force also testified in the case in which a civilian died in helicopter crash in Atiwa Forest in the Eastern Region and his family never received compensation from the military.
According to documents available to the commission, Victor Adu Nyarko was a nurse at the Holy Family Hospital, Nkawkaw, and when some soldiers we injured in a road accident he was asked to accompany them to 37 Military Hospital by air but the plane crashed in the Eastern Region.
Subsequently, the families of the deceased were paid compensation but Mr. Adu Nyarko’s family was discriminated against by the military. However, it was on record that the deceased’s lawyer sought compensation from the government for him.
Group Captain Appiah-Agyekum confirmed that documents available indicated that families of the deceased soldiers were paid compensation but said they did not have any record indicating Mr. Adu Nyarko’s family got any compensation.
He told the commission that any civilian who uses military aircraft, vehicles and other equipment was mandated for complete what he called an indemnity form and that absolved the military from any liability should there be an accident adding ‘the case of the nurse lies in the legal realm.’
Lt. Col. Amoah-Boakye again testified in the case in which a military fire tender collided with a KIA truck, killing three people and injuring two others around Kintampo, saying the report on the accident was yet to be endorsed by the Chief of Defence Staff and therefore he was tendering the report with a caveat.
Earlier, Assistant Controllers of Prisons Twumasi Appiah and Gloria Essandoh had submitted the Ghana Prisons Service’s notices of intention to sue served on them to the commission.
Anthony A. Kokroko, Legal Officer of the Ghana Police Service also appeared and requested for more time to be able to present all notices of intention to sue the police, explaining that the volume of work in the search was huge.
By William Yaw Owusu
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