General News of Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Some National Service Personnel have petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), over the mandatory insurance package introduced for them by the National Service Secretariat.
According to them, the imposition of the insurance package infringes on their basic human rights since the decisions taken by the National Service Personnel Association (NASPA), does not bind all service personnel.
“We are of the firm belief that once you are National Service Person you are not bound to join NASPA and for that matter, when NASPA goes to take a decision, that decision should not bind you, so this decision undermines and infringes on our fundamental human rights, and we will not sit aloof and allow this policy to pass. We will shoot it down,” the lead petitioner, Eric Dawda told citifmonline.com in an interview.
The petitioners, from all ten regions of the country, who described the arrangement as “fraudulent extortion couched under a purported insurance policy”, are urging CHRAJ to direct the NSS to “halt the implementation of this policy until the substantive matter before the commission is determined in order to avert any irreparable damage that may arise as a result of the implementation of this policy.”
In the petition, they said they were not privy to the terms and conditions of the insurance contract that has been entered into on their behalf by the previous NASPA executives, adding that “the compulsion with regards to the deduction infringes on our freedom as enshrined in Article 21 clause (e) of the constitution of Ghana, because no law imposes an association on citizens in a complete absence of their freewill, and for that being a National service person is not and cannot be an automatic definition of being a member of National service Personnel Association in whose name we are told this fraudulent policy emanated from, and under implementation by GLICO and NSS respectively.”
The petitioners also accused the Executive Director of the National Service Scheme, Mustapha Ussif, of abusing his power as the leader of the scheme to impose the decision on them.
Read their full petition below:
TO: THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE
THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA
A PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 218: CLAUSES (A) AND (C) OF THE 1992 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA.
We the undersigned are citizens of Ghana and are currently undergoing our mandatory National services as enshrined in the National Service Act1980 (ACT 426) of Ghana. It is in the collective interest of the Republic of Ghana that is why we have taken it upon ourselves to officially drag National service secretariat before the commission for investigation into the following
1. A breach and violation of our fundamental human right as enshrined in Article 21 clause (e) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana
2. Abuse of power and unfair treatment by the National service secretariat against us National service Personnel.
The above which is a joint looting agreement that has been entered on our behalf without our consent as service personnel between GLICO, an insurance company and the National service secretariat for monthly deduction of GHC 15 from our allowance towards an insurance policy that is seeking to bind each and every National Service person paid by the National service secretariat of which our consent has not been sought by those behind the implementation of this fraudulent policy.
On the 29th November, 2017, the National service boss in a communiqué instructed all Regional NSS directors to ensure the deduction of GH ¢15 each from the allowance of Personnel starting from November. The evidence of this is contained in the archives of Citifmonline.com on 29th of November, 2017. This decision as we are told is for the welfare and benefit of every National Service person but as we speak, our colleagues whose allowances are not paid by NSS have been exempted from this policy. We are therefore of the firm belief that, this policy is discriminatory and has no legal backing to that effect aside how dubious and fraudulent it is with clear intentions to milk the ordinary Service Persons in such a criminal manner. This policy is tainted with fraud and the paragraph below is our stands.
1. This was not stated in our appointment letters which gave birth to our legitimate service that we are currently undergoing with legal backing emanated from the National Service Scheme Act neither were we communicated to by any other formal means.
2. That, we are not privy to the terms and conditions of this contract that has been entered on our behalf by NSS without our consent or mandate.
III. That, the mandatory deduction from the allowance is not grounded in law
1. That, the compulsion with regards to the deduction infringes on our freedom as enshrined in Article 21 clause (e) of the constitution of Ghana because no law imposes association on citizens in a complete absence of their free will and for that being a National service person is not and cannot be an automatic definition of being a member of National service Personnel Association in whose name we are told this fraudulent policy emanated from and under implementation by GLICO and NSS respectively.
2. That, the said policy undermines the letter and spirit of “freedom to join associations” as stated in an explicit provision of Article 21 clause (e) of the highest law of the land.
3. It is also our contention that, since this is not grounded in any law, such a move by NSS constitute an abuse of office by those whose names have been mentioned in this petition as managers of NSS and hence ought to be struck out.
The above bulletins are reasons why we vehemently object to this by the National service secretariat. We are verily aware and believe same to be true that, the Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice will look into this criminal conduct by managers of the National service scheme hereinafter Mr. Mustapha Ussif and Mr. Henry Nana Boakye. It is also our prayer that, the National service secretariat will be directed to halt the implementation of this policy until the substantive matter before the commission is determined in order to avert any irreparable damage that may arise as a result of the implementation of this policy.
Service personnel agreed to ‘compulsory’ insurance – NSS Boss
The National Service Scheme’s head, Mustapha Ussif, has denied suggestions that the compulsory insurance package meant for all service personnel in the country is being imposed on the personnel.
He insisted that the personnel backed the insurance package, and even pushed the management of the Scheme to implement it. He said the National Service Personnel Association of Ghana (NASPA), the group which represents service personnel across the country, decided unanimously at their Congress to back the policy.
Some Service Personnel oppose insurance package
Some National Service personnel have opposed the policy, calling for it to be made optional, whereas others have called for it to be scrapped.
The insurance package
The NSS partnered with MTN and Glico Life Insurance, earlier this week, to launch the life insurance cover for the over 90,000 personnel.
This compulsory insurance package spearheaded by various insurance companies is expected to pay claims to service personnel who get involved in accidents in their line of duty.
The claims vary from GHc 15,000 in cases of death or incapacitation and GHS3,000 for cases of disability. As part of the insurance package, National Service personnel are entitled to a GHc 500 loan which is payable within six months.
NSS insurance meant to reward NPP financier – Kpessah Whyte
A former Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), Dr. Michael Kpessah-Whyte, had alleged that the compulsory insurance package is a venture to pay back a financier of the governing New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) election campaign.
According to him, the insurance scheme may have been put together to reward the owner of a known insurance company, who supported the NPP’s campaign with GH¢1 million.
He is thus of the view that the policy is not in the interest of National Service persons, and that it constitutes “daylight robbery.”
NSS insurance scheme not a reward from NPP – GLICO
However, GLICO Life has denied allegations that its engagement with the NSS to provide an insurance package for National Service personnel, is a reward for the company because the owner was a financier of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Managing Director of GLICO Life, Forkuo Kyei, in a statement to citifmonline.com said the allegations are unfounded as GLICO Life is part of five other companies offering the insurance package to the service personnel.