Minister summoned over ex-soldiers’ benefits

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior has invited the Minister of Defence, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, to appear before it to explain the allegations of unpaid emoluments of retired soldiers.

The ex-servicemen have alleged that their allowances and gratuities had, for the past five years, not been paid.

The situation, they said, had made life unbearable for them.

Some have threatened to picket Parliament House tomorrow to present a petition to the committee, although no official communication on their visit has been sent to the House.

The Chairman of the committee, Fritz Baffour, told The Ghanaian Times yesterday that the committee scheduled the meeting when the issue came to its notice last week.

He said the committee had invited the Defence Minister, to appear before it to explain why the former military men and women had not been paid.

Mr. Baffour gave the assurance that the committee would do its best to get to the bottom of the matter for the necessary action to be taken.

Touching on their protest, he said the committee would not hesitate to receive their petition, although it had not received any official communication on their visit.

The Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo, said the House was not aware of any protest or visit by any group.

“Usually, the House is officially informed of such protests so that we can beef up security because this area is a security zone. Nobody has officially informed us,” she said.

One of the aggrieved ex-servicemen, in an interview on Joy fm, an Accra-based radio station, accused the Ghana Armed Forces of using outdated methods to assess their gratuity and pension allowance.

He said his group had sighted a document from the Finance Ministry which indicated that the Ghana Armed Forces wanted to underpay them.

According to him, some soldiers had died as a result of the unfair treatment from the Ghana Armed Forces.

Attempts to reach officials from the Ghana Armed Forces or the Ministry of Defence for their version on the issue proved futile.

By Yaw Kyei    

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