Family of deceased nurse compensated with pittance

The Sole Commissioner of the Judgement Debt Commission, Mr Justice Yaw Apau, has described the GH¢15,975.20 compensation paid to the family of the late Victor Adu Nyarko, a civilian nurse, who died in a military helicopter crash, as paltry.

He was also at a loss as to the modalities which went into the decision to pay that amount to the family of the deceased.

He, however, observed that the story would have been different, if the deceased had survived the accident.

“Normally, when a person dies in a situation like this, the amount paid to the family is small compared to what the person would have had, if they had survived the accident”, he said.

Mr Justice Apau said this when the Director in Charge of External Resource Mobilisation – Bilateral of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kojo Awuah Peasah, appeared before the commission to testify to the payment of compensation to the family of the deceased. Hard to understand

Mr Awuah Peasah found it difficult to understand that a postgraduate civilian nurse who had trained in the United Kingdom and died accidentally at the age of 32 years would merit such a paltry sum.

He recounted that the family of the deceased wrote to the ministry requesting  compensation, adding that the letter was forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Department for advice.

It was on the basis of the advice given by the AG’s Department, he said, that the amount was paid to Owusu Fordjour and Co., a legal firm which fronted for the family of the deceased. The crash

The late Nyarko had been asked to accompany injured military officers from the Nkawkaw Holy Family Hospital to the 37 Military Hospital in Accra in 2002, when the helicopter crashed in the Atiwa Forest, killing everybody on board.

Last Thursday, officers of the Ghana Armed Forces appeared before the commission to provide documents covering court cases initiated against that institution.

Counsel for the commission, Mr Dometi Kofi Sorpkor, asked them to explain why the nursing officer who was killed in the military helicopter accident, together with some military officers in 2002, was not paid any compensation by the GAF.

Counsel for the commission said all the families of the deceased soldiers were given compensation, but Mr Nyarko’s family was not paid any compensation,

His family took the case to court and it received compensation of GH¢15,975.20.

Responding, Group Captain Appiah-Agyekum confirmed that all the families of the deceased soldiers had been given compensation.

However, he said, he did not have any records on the payment of compensation to Mr Nyarko’s family. Indemnity 

He said under the laws of the military, no civilian was entitled to any compensation, if he or she dies together with military personnel in a military aircraft.

Therefore, civilians were made to sign indemnity forms before entering a military aircraft in order to absolve the military from the payment of any compensation in case of an accident.

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