Court orders K’bu to re-instate officer

An Accra Human Rights High Court has ordered the management of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to re-instate Mrs. Elizabeth Bruce, the sacked Director of Pharmacy of the hospital.

The court, presided by Kofi Essel Mensah, awarded a cost of GH¢ 2,000 against the defendants.

The latest development follows the decision to withdraw her dismissal letter by the authorities pending an interdiction suit filed by Mrs. Bruce.

A couple of weeks ago, the court advised the parties to sort the dismissal case out of court pending the determination of the substantive case.

Counsel for the plaintiff, earlier prayed the court to commit the chairman of the hospital’s Board, Professor Anthony Mawuli Sallar, and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Gilbert Buckle to prison for contempt and also impose heavy fine on Korle-Bu, as an entity.

It is their case that the conduct of the two “top men” amounted to contempt because of the pendency of an interdiction suit.

Yesterday, lawyers for the defendants announced to the court the withdrawal of her dismissal letter.

Mrs. Bruce’s interdiction follows the dismissal of three senior staff of the hospital, namely Eric Kwaku Kyei, Principal Pharmacist, Pharmacy Manager, Mrs Augustina Dankyi, Pharmacy Accountant and Daniel Eledi, a Stores Assistant for an alleged fraud.

They were part of nine staff who were interdicted early this year for misappropriating GH¢945, 574.29.

In an affidavit in support of the motion filed on Monday, June 22, 2015, lawyers for Mrs Bruce said following an unlawful ‘forensic audit’ by a private firm of chartered accountants, pursuant to an unlawful appointment by the Minister of Health, their client was unlawfully interdicted on 29 January, 2015 by management and Board of Korle-Bu without recourse to the mandatory provisions of the Ghana Health Service and Teaching Hospitals Act, 1996 (Act 525) and the Civil Service Regulations, 1960 (L. I. 47).

Mrs Bruce noted that after her interdiction, an Administrative Enquiry Committee was unlawfully set up by the hospital “to establish my culpability if any,” in the findings of the ‘forensic audit’ and that on 10 April 2015, she instituted a civil action in the same court for a number of reliefs endorsed on the motion paper (HRCM/263/15), yet the hospital authorities proceeded to relief her of her appointment.

She was therefore of the conviction that the press statement purporting to dismiss her, issued by the Board and management of Korle-Bu in the pendency of the instant action, was calculated at interfering with and obstructing the due administration of justice and in the event, bring the authority of a court of competent jurisdiction into disrepute.

“This,” according to her, “was because the validity of the basis of my purported dismissal was the very subject matter of the action which is currently pending before the court.”

The suit specifically seeks reliefs in the nature of a prohibition of the institution of disciplinary measures against Mrs Bruce by the hospital on the strength of what it believed to be the unlawful interdiction, an order of mandamus to compel the Board of Korle-Bu as an institution, to allow her to resume normal duties as the director of pharmacy of the hospital as well as a prohibition of disciplinary proceedings on the basis of the purported ‘forensic audit’ and the administrative enquiry against her.

According to her, they were fully aware of the pendency of the said action and in point of fact, the CEO of Korle-Bu, with the consent of the Board, filed an affidavit in opposition to her action on 22 May, 2015.

What baffled her was the fact that even though the Korle-Bu CEO swore an oath that the administrative enquiry being undertaken by the hospital was not “meant to punish any of the staff, including the Applicant” and that the “Board has no intention to punish any of the staff as a result of the Administrative Enquiry,” just before the action would be set down for hearing in accordance with Rule 67 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, C. I. 47.

By Malik Sullemana  

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