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18.03.2009 General News

Defence Minister condemns military molestation

By GNA
Defence Minister condemns military molestation


Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith (retd), Minister of Defence, said on Tuesday that his administration would not condone molestation of civilians by military personnel.

He said plans were underway to educate soldiers about the need to cultivate cordial relations with their civilian counterparts.

Gen Smith said this when he addressed a durbar of troops of the First Infantry Battalion and the Eastern Naval Command in Tema, during a day's working visit.

He said while the military make efforts to maintain closer ties with the public, civilians should refrain from acts that would undermine the integrity of the armed forces.

Gen. Smith asked the members of the public to report the misconduct of any soldier to the military high command rather than taking the law into their own hands.

Commodore Matthew Quarshie, Flag Officer in charge of the Naval Command, told the Minister that the berthing space allocated to the Unit at the Tema port by the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority was woefully inadequate.

He said GPHA had allocated only 75 metres of berth space to the Command after relocating it from a bigger berth adding that the situation posed serious limitations to its operational capability.

He also complained about pollutants emanating from the industrial activities of Ghana Cement Limited (GHACEM) saying they exposed personnel of the Command and equipment to danger.

“Personnel and equipment are seriously exposed to harmful clinker dust pollutants discharged by GHACEM, which is close to the navy's berth at the Tema port.”

Commodore Quarshie appealed to Gen Smith to help tackle the problem at the ministerial level adding that several meetings between the Command, the Environmental Protection Agency and GHACEM to check the pollution had not yielded any positive result.

He mentioned accommodation, improper sewerage system, encroachment on military land and lack of transportation as major challenges facing the Unit.

The Minister later paid a courtesy call on the Tema Mantse, Nii Adjei Kraku II and urged him to address the challenges facing the Navy, as well as, fishermen operating in the area.

Gen. Smith also toured the Army Recruits Training School at the Shai Hills and the Base Ammunition Depot also at Tema.

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