Former Auditor General Wins Case Over Gov’t …As Court Orders For The Payment Of His Retirement Benefits
Date published: March 26, 2013
By Ivy Benson
An Accra Fast Track Court yesterday, ruled that the former Auditor General, Mr. Edward Dua Agyeman is entitled to be given retirement benefits since his the position he held before retiring in 2010 is a public office and not a political office.
The court presided over by Justice Uuter P. Dery therefore ordered that Mr. Dua Agyeman should be paid all his retirement benefits in line with the stipulations of Article 71 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, which is equivalent with the benefits of the Justice of the Appeal Court in the Judicial Service.
It further described as misconceived, the Attorney General’s assertion that the former Auditor General did not serve for 10 years and as such, not entitled to enjoy pension benefits.
Granting nearly all the reliefs sought by the former Auditor General in his ruling in a case in which Mr. Dua Agyeman is challenging government over payment of his pension benefits, the court noted that Mr. Dua Agymang is entitled to have a pension benefit as recommended by the “Chinery Hesse Report” for Article 71 Office Holder in 2008 and any review thereafter.
The court further ordered that Mr. Dua Agyeman be paid a monthly pension equivalent to the salary of the present Auditor General with effect from May, 2010, when he retired to June 15, 2012 being the date of issuing the writ and thereafter, noting that the amount be paid with interest at the prevailing bank rate.
The former Auditor General, according to the court is also entitled to the provision of a chauffeur-driven vehicle for which he would be responsible for any associated expenses on the vehicle as well as the gratuity consisting three months’ salary for every year of service as enjoyed by his predecessor.
Consequently, an amount of GH¢10,000 each as general damages and cost was awarded against Government.
Meanwhile, the court rejected that the former Auditor General and his spouse are entitled to the provision of free medical and dental facilities as part of his pension benefits.
The decision of the court came in the wake of a legal suit issued by Mr. Dua Agyeman against the Attorney General in June 12, 2012 challenging government refusal to make payments for his pension benefits after he retired from active service as Auditor General in May 2010.
Mr. Dua Agyeman, who was in active public service since 1987, holding various positions till he was appointed the substantive Auditor General on January 30, 2003 and finally retired on May 19, 2010, asserted that by the terms and conditions including pension and gratuity attached to his position, he salaries, allowances, facilities and privileges are determined by the president “on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by the president in accordance with the advice of the Council of State.”
Plaintiff noted that after his retirement from the Audit Service on May 19, 2012, his numerous requests for the payment of his gratuity and pension as stated in his letter of appointment was not heeded by government.
According to Mr. Dua Agyeman, a surprise letter dated October 18, 2010, signed by the then Deputy Chief of Staff, Dr. Valerie Sawyer, indicating government’s decision rejecting his request with the explanation that he was “a political appointee and not a career staff of the Audit Service or any other public service” and therefore do not qualify for pension.
More so, government had refused to pay the “End of Service Benefits” (ESB), which it calculates as “three months salary for every completed year of service or part thereof” paid to “political appointees”, Mr. Dua Agyeman had indicated.
Emphasising his points, plaintiff noted that the position of an Auditor General is not a “political appointee” since Article 187 of the Constitution stipulates its functions with Article 146 relating to the removal of a Justice of a Superior Court of Judicature from office shall be apply to the Auditor General.
He was of the view that his former position as the Auditor General under his conditions of service is placed in line with that of a Justice of the Court of Appeal ant there entitled to the benefits enjoyed under the category and any other future review that may be made to it.
The Attorney General in his response noted that the plaintiff was a political appointee and therefore not entitled to pension benefits.
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