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18.04.2008 General News

Armed Forces to be dragged to CHRAJ

By The Enquirer
Armed Forces to be dragged to CHRAJ
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Decades after dutifully serving their motherland, and expected to take a well deserved rest, some retired senior officers have threatened to drag the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for refusing to pay them their pension popularly called 80%.

They are specifically pointing accusing figures at the Chief of Defense (CDS), Lt. Gen. Joseph Boakye Dankwa for withholding their benefits since last year under the claim “he wants to stay away from trouble".

For this reason, the senior officers who, served the Armed Forces as professional nurses, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, have decided to end their toils by petitioning CHRAJ to force the military to give them the entitlements.

The Ex-soldiers are Lt. Col. Ayitey, Lt. Col. Ogodor, Lt. Col. Danso, Lt. Col. Badzi, Lt. Col. Ayison and Lt. Asante.

The petition to the human rights body according to them is almost ready to be handed over to CHRAJ if a planned meeting with the GAP today yields no fruit.

They contend that the CDS' stance that "he wants to stay away from trouble," has turned them into beggars shuffling between Burma Camp, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and the 37 Military Hospital since last year demanding their money but to no avail.

According to the ex-soldiers, at a meeting with the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kwadwo Baah- Wiredu, who looked visibly shocked over the issue told them that he has long ago, released their monies to the military and wondered why they have not been paid.

But the Director of the Armed Forces Public Affairs, Col. Emmanuel Nibo, when reached told The Enquirer that the CDS had explained that there was a problem with calculating the pensions, and that the Ministry of Finance was working on it.

This is contrary to what the officers told The Enquirer that Minister of Finance, Mr. Baah-¬Wiredu had long ago released the monies to Ghana Armed Office for them to be paid.

Interestingly, however, The Enquirer has learnt that at a meeting with the CDS last Tuesday, there was a heated argument between him and the ex-soldiers during which one of them, a lady, is said to have verbally abused Lt. Gen Dankwa, her ex-boss.

Col. Nibo, however, said the CDS was hopeful that by the end of next week, the pensions would have been settled, he told the paper via telephone last Tuesday.

The ex-soldiers who received the assurance by the CDS with some seeming uncertainty revealed further that out of desperation, they have been to the Deputy Minister of Defence and as well as their mother unit, the 37th Military Hospital to claim their money, but again to no avail.

Speaking through a spokesperson who came to the Tesano offices of The Enquirer, the soldiers revealed that the Ghana Armed Forces in March, last year wrote to them to "Honourably Release" them under Article 15.01 of the Armed Forces Regulations.

As per the regulations, they-are entitled to the 80%, however, the military has not shown any sign to pay them, the officer told The Enquirer after producing the "Honorably Released" letter to this reporter.

The officer alleged that on one of several visits to Burma Camp, they learnt from the Chief of Army Staff, Brigadier Bob Winful, that Lt. Gen Dankwa had said, "he wants to stay away from trouble" therefore, the money should not be released to them.
On another trip to Burma Camp, the same Brigadier Winful told them that the military wants to give them some money as loans to meet their daily needs but did not give any assurance as to when their pension would be released.

Here, the officer questioned why the Ghana Armed Forces, which massively owes them, would rather give them loans instead of releasing their monies.

"How could the Ghana Armed Forces be giving us loans when they rather owe us?

"We have dependents to take care of and we want our money now," the officer lamented to the paper, adding, "the Ghana Army we joined was not like this. The money has been approved by the Ministry of Finance, why wont they release it to us."

The ex-soldier disclosed that a number of them are very sick but had to be traveling sometimes from far away Kumasi, and be roaming from office-to-office in search of their money.

The officer also revealed that they were not the only ones affected by this situation, but that a sizable number of retired Warrant Officers (Was) are also affected.

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