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05.05.2004 General News

Ex-soldier asked to produce Discharge Book

By GNA

Wa, May 5, GNA - The National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) at its public hearing at Wa, on Wednesday advised a Witness, Ex-Lance Corporal Sumani Kalinka, to furnish the Commission with his " Discharge Book" from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) before any recommendations could be made on his petition.

Lieutenant General Emmanuel Erskine (Rtd) one of the Commissioners said having served in the army for six and half years, Ex-Lance Corporal Kalinka was entitled to some benefits unless he was dismissed.

The advice was given on the second day of the public hearings of the Commission from witnesses in the Upper West Region at Wa. Earlier, the witness who now works with the Northern Electricity Department of the Volta River Authority (VRA) at Wa said he joined the armed forces as a pay clerk and was stationed at the forces pay office in Burma camp.

Ex-Lance Corporal Kalinka said in 1983 he took his annual leave and was at his hometown in Wa with all the necessary passes from his superior officers and knew nothing about late Corporal Giwa's coup.

Ex-Lance Corporal Kalinka told the Commission that after the leave was over, he went back and continued his work until 1985 when he was invited by his officer and told verbally that he had been discharged from the army.

The witness said he was not given any discharge book or paid any entitlements and prayed the Commission to help him. General Erskine reminded the Ex-soldier that after Corporal Giwa and his group's abortive coup of 1983, which coincided with witness annual leave all officers and men were notified to report and wondered whether he did that.

Witness said he was at home in his village and had no knowledge about that directive.

When he took his turn, Naa Yakubu Seidu, a farmer and chief of Balawa in the Wa district said some members of the People's Defence Committee (PDC) beat him with one other person in 1983 at Wa until he fainted and only regained consciousness in police cells at Wa.

According to Naa Yakubu, he wrote a letter to the PDC requesting to know why some of the members under the pretext that his cattle had destroyed crops in their farm extorted money from one of his subjects. He said when he was released from police cells, the PDC prevented him from going back to the village because according to them he was plotting a coup in the village.

Naa Yakubu told the Commission that the PDC members stole 117 cattle, 87 sheep and 65 goats all belonging to him while he was in cells. When asked whether, he could remember the PDC members who maltreated him, he said they were many and that he could only remember that Sumaila Asani and Nomaa Alhassan were among those beat him. The Commission asked him to furnish it with more information on the stolen animals.

Alhaji Umar Karbo, an Arabic Teacher and a former cement distributor at Lawra, narrated to the Commission the ordeal he went through in 1983.

He said when he was returning from Takoradi where he had gone to place order for cement, three soldiers attacked him at the State Transport Corporation yard in Accra and seized his bag containing 300,000 cedis

Alhaji Karbo said he was stranded until he met a friend who gave him money to enable him to pay for transport to his brother who was then chairman of the Public Services Commission.

Alhaji Karbo said his brother gave him money to travel back to Lawra. Alhaji Karbo said in 1987, the cement manufacturing firm sent him a letter terminating his business transactions with them.

He said he believed that the company's action was politically motivated and wrote a petition in his capacity as Regional Secretary of the Upper West Regional Islamic Council against Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, then PNDC member.

Other petitioners gave accounts of how their shops were emptied and their goods sold by soldiers at control prices to the general public. 5 May 04

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