Ex-security operatives vrs AG case lingers on

By Ivy Benson

Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, Minister for Justice & Attorney General

A suit filed at the High Court against the National Security Coordinator and the Attorney-General (A-G), over the non-payment of end-of-service benefits for eighty-eight former operatives of the National Security Council (NSC), is yet to commence, as a result of some procedural lapses.

An application for directions, which sets out various issues to be tried in the case, is yet to be served on the National Security Coordinator, even though the Attorney-General has received her copy.

The court, presided over by Justice Houenyenugah, an Appeal court judge sitting as an additional High Court judge, therefore, adjourned sitting to November 26, 2010, yesterday.
The application for direction sets out for the determination of whether or not the plaintiffs were removed, following a perception that they were political appointees of the previous administration, as well as, whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to end of service benefits.

In their writ of summons, the former National Security operatives, who served during the previous administration, noted that their appointments were terminated for the reason that they were perceived to be political appointees.

However, the defendants have asserted that the appointments of the plaintiffs were terminated, because their services were no longer required, and not because they were perceived as political appointees of the previous administration.

The plaintiffs are therefore, asking the court to declare that they are entitled to be paid their end-of-service benefits upon the termination of their appointments, in accordance with the conditions governing their employment. They are further requesting the court to order the defendants to pay them their end-of-service benefits.

The plaintiffs, who were fully employed as regular staff of the National Security Council Secretariat in Accra and across the country, having gone through extensive examination under the Securities and Intelligence Agencies Law of 1996, indicated that following the 2008 general election, which saw a change in the political administration of the country, their appointments were subsequently terminated.

According to them, in partial fulfillment of the conditions governing the termination of appointments, they were each paid three months salary in lieu of notice.
The plaintiffs pointed out that they petitioned the National Security Co-ordinator for the payment of their end-of-service benefits, but the petition was ignored, adding that letters from their solicitors, claiming payment of their end-of-service benefits, also yielded no results.
The defendants, in their response, admitted that the plaintiffs were paid three months salary in lieu of notice of termination, but indicated that the said amount represented the full payment due the plaintiffs in case of disengagement from the Security Council.

The defendants are of the view that the plaintiffs are not entitled to any end-of-service benefits, as allegedly indicated in their conditions of service, adding that the National Security Co-ordinator was not the proper person to be sued in this matter.

They are, therefore, determined to raise a preliminary-legal point during the hearing of the case, to indicate that the National Security Co-ordinator was not the proper person or body to be sued in the matter, and further take steps for the name of the National Security Co-ordinator to be struck off the writ.

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