By Joyce Danso, GNA
Accra, April 12, GNA – The Labour Court has dismissed an application for joinder filed by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) in the matter in which 40 former Members of Parliament (MPs) have sued the government over their accrued monthly pension pay since January 2009.
According to the court presided over by Mrs Justice Gifty Dekyem the FWSC was not a necessary party to be joined to the suit adding the matter could be heard and determined without the commission.
Dismissing the joinder, the court awarded a GH¢5,000.00 as cost against the commission.
The Commission through their lawyers filed a motion for joinder on March 29, this year contending that that they were not completely excluded from all matters relating to emoluments of Article 71 office holders.
The FWSC argued that in any event, their exclusion from determining the emoluments of Article 71 office holders did not necessarily imply that its presence in the suit would not assist or enable the court to effectively determine the matters in dispute.
The Commission noted that there are material facts for trial on whether or not there were varied pension provisions contained in the Chinery-Hesse and Ishmael Yamson’s Reports.
According to the commission with its mandate was it is in a better position to prove at the trial
The former MPs sued the government for GH¢233,495.00 each, being their accrued monthly pension pay.
The amount being claimed works out to GH¢13,735.00 per person per month, but interest accrued during the 85 months raises the amount to GH¢233,495.00 each.
With the suit before the court, MPs are collectively demanding GH¢9,339,800.00 from the government.
The basis of the legal action by the 40 former MPs is the Chinnery-Hesse Presidential Emoluments Committee (PEC) which provides that parliamentarians who were 50 years and above and exited Parliament, having served two full terms, should be paid some sums of money as pension benefits.
Some notable names among the 40 former MPs who initiated the legal action are Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Dr Kwame Ampofo, Mr Kwamina Bartels, Mr Freddie Blay, Mr Kenneth Dzirasah, Ms Christine Churcher, Mr Isaac E. Edumadze and Mr Nkrabea Effah-Darteh.
Joined to the suit as defendants are the Attorney-General (A-G) and the Minister of Finance.
The MPs, in their statement of claim, averred that since 2011 they had been negotiating with the government, through the Ministry of Finance and the leadership of Parliament, for aspects of the Chinnery-Hesse Committee report in relation to their pensions to be paid, but the negotiations, they claimed, had proved futile.
“Several attempts, demands or requests made on the government to have these pension benefits paid to the plaintiffs have proved futile,” they said.
According to the plaintiffs, based on a letter dated June 25, 2015, the A-G directed the Ministry of Finance to make payments to them but the ministry had “refused, neglected or failed to pay the said money to the plaintiffs”.
The action of the ministry, the former MPs added, continued to cause them distress, as most of them remained unemployed because of old age and were, therefore, unable to sustain their families.
They said being advanced in years had also come with various medical conditions, the management of which required daily doses of expensive medication.
The former MPs said on November 24, 2015, a notice to institute civil action was served on the state, but the A-G, apart from a letter dated December 22, 2015 which acknowledged its receipt of the suit, had failed to respond.
The former legislators claimed that the conduct of the government showed that unless compelled by the courts, it was not ready to pay the pensions duly owed them.