Two hundred and twenty-five retired military officers have sued the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) over what they describe as under-payment of their gratuities, contrary to what the government approved.
The ex-servicemen who were recruited between 1988 and 1989 had served the country well over 25 years before they commenced their terminal leave in December 2014.
Joined to the action is the Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice.
They are seeking a declaration that deductions made by the CDS on their end-of-service benefits were unlawful.
They also want an order to be directed at the CDS and the A-G to cause to be paid the deductions made on their entitlements as approved by the government.
The plaintiffs further want the court to compel the CDS to pay interests on the amounts deducted from their entitlements, as well as other costs, including legal fees.
“Unless compelled by an order of the court, the defendants will not pay our gratuities as approved by the government,” they averred.
In a statement of claim, the plaintiffs said they rose through the various ranks in the Ghana Armed Forces and after having served for some years they commenced their terminal leave in December 2014.
It said it was a condition precedent to the plaintiffs’ leave that they be paid terminal benefits by the government and the A-G subsequently presented a proposal to the government for the payment of their terminal benefits.
It averred that the government, through the Ministry of Finance, approved the payment of GH¢142,071,974 as gratuities to 1,340 people, including the plaintiffs.
It said by the approved figures from the government, payment was to be made to the plaintiffs according to their ranks as follows: Master Warrant Officer (MWO), GH¢126,416; Senior Warrant Officer (SWO), GH¢116, 073; Warrant Officer I (WOI), GH¢107,399; Warrant Officer II (WOII), GH¢100,914; Staff Sergeant, GH¢90,008, and Sergeant, GH¢86,141.
Paid less than approved
In addition to their entitlements, the statement said the government also approved the payment of a sum of GH¢2,103 to each person to cover his transportation expenses to his hometown.
“Plaintiffs averred that the payment of the entitlements was made in two instalments, with the first instalment being described by the CDS as being 80 per cent of the total entitlement and the second being the remaining 20 per cent of the entitlement payable upon the plaintiffs leaving their various barracks.
“It is the plaintiffs’ case that contrary to the amount approved by the government to be paid to them, they received monies less than what the government had approved,” it said.
Giving a breakdown of the 80 per cent of the total gratuity paid each person according to their rank and against what was payable to them, it averred that an SWO was paid GH¢65,000, instead of GH¢92,859; a WOI GH¢60,000, instead of GH¢85,919; a WOII GH¢55,000, instead of GH¢80,731; a Staff Sergeant GH¢50,000, instead of GH¢72,007, and a Sergeant GH¢45,000, instead of GH¢68,913.
According to the statement, the balance remaining to be paid to the plaintiffs also fell short of the anticipated amount payable to them, just as the transportation fare approved for payment to them by the government.
The statement said the plaintiffs had sought explanations from the CDS on why monies paid to them were at variance with what the government had authorised to be paid to them.
“But the explanations given by the A-G were unsatisfactory,” it stated.
Aggrieved by the deductions, the plaintiffs, it said, wrote to the A-G on August 24, 2015 to declare their intention to commence an instant suit but “we have to date not received any response to our demand”.
“We have been asked to give up vacant possession of the rooms occupied in the various barracks across the country and which conduct has occasioned untold hardships on us and our families, as our budgetary preparations have been affected by the deductions made on our end-of-service entitlements,” the statement added.