At a time when Government is making frantic efforts to eliminate judgment debt payments which are in most cases borne out of negligence on the part of public officials, authorities of the Takoradi Polytechnic may soon have to use tax payers’ money to settle a security guard who has sued the Rector, Reverend Professor Daniel Nyarko, and the institution for wrongfully seizing his taxi cab and denying him income for nine months.
The security guard, 34 year old Edmund Okyere, with the free services of a lawyer sued the Rector and the Polytechnic for seizing his taxi cab for a year and four months. The Rector claims he had used monies overpaid into his account by the Controller and Accountant General to purchase the cab. Okyere discovered Ghc11,000 in his bank account in June 2012, following the migration of polytechnic staff onto the single spine salary structure.
He bought himself a vehicle to be used as a taxi at the cost of Ghc9,900, and used the rest to process the documentation, only for him to be asked to refund the money. But he refused, insisting the Polytechnic had no right to retrieve the monies because he was paid by the Controller. The Polytechnic authorities had claimed they were retrieving the money on behalf of the Controller, although there is no correspondence to that effect.
Although the Accountant General’s Department started monthly deductions from the plaintiff’s salary in July 2012, authorities of the polytechnic still refused to release the Kia Shuma taxi cab. They were thus ordered by the Sekondi High Court in July this year, to release the car, but the court order was overlooked despite efforts by the plaintiff and his lawyer to get the car.
The lawyer filed a contempt suit in August 15 2013, which went in his client’s favor. The authorities were ordered again to produce the cab at the Court premises in Sekondi, which was complied with. A cost of 500 cedis was awarded the plaintiff. The court handed over the cab to the plaintiff, but a test drive indicated that it had developed countless faults since it had not been used for over a year. All documents covering it had also expired.
The substantive matter has been adjourned for hearing on November 13 2013. The plaintiff is seeking amongst several reliefs, the unlawful seizure of his car and loss of income. Edmund Okyere tells Maxx News his three children have dropped out of school because he is penniless.
“If they were even leaving me with some of the amount, it would have been better for me but they deduct all my money including my overtime allowance. Sometimes they take about 700 cedis, other times 900. And I am a family man with three children and a wife. Every day, I walk from Kojokrom to work at the Polytechnic. I have suffered till today. Already the Rector has vowed to frustrate me or dismiss me. Sometimes people advise me to stop following the matter because I have no money for litigation. So I became a bit scared,” he noted.
“During this court process, I have spent a lot and have had to borrow from people. So I am hoping the court will retrieve the money I would have made from the car for me. I need to pay my debts so I can have some peace of mind,” frustrated Okyere lamented.
When Maxx News spoke to the Rector on the matter in 2012, he explained that other persons who had been overpaid in the school, had returned the difference to be forwarded to the Controller, and did not understand why the security guard could not do same.