An Accra High Court has ordered for the compensation of two employees of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), demoted over their alleged involvement in the procurement of 'expired' Aluminium Sulphate for the treatment of water by the Company.
The Court ordered the GWCL to reinstate David Appiah Yankson, then Acting Head of Materials Department at its head office and Ms Dora Adwoa Bonnah, who was Acting as Chief Manager, to their former positions with all the benefits and payment of all monies due them.
The Court, presided over by Justice Alex Owusu, awarded cost of GH¢20,000.00 in favour of the plaintiffs against the defendant - GWCL.
It further set aside the "wrong unjustified, disciplinary action taken against the plaintiffs" - that is their demotion.
The two were demoted following the setting up of a committee charged to investigate the alleged importation and usage of 'expired' Aluminium Sulphate in April 12, 2013.
The Ghana Standards Authority had however, declared the water purifying chemical compound as wholesome in its report.
The Court, in its judgment, said it found as a fact that no internal Disciplinary Committee was set up after the work of the Ministerial Committee on the alleged importation and usage of expired Aluminium Sulphate, was set up by the then Acting Managing Director on or about April 12, 2013.
"The Committee without framing any charges or giving notice or giving a personal hearing to the plaintiffs, sent the report containing its recommendation to the Managing Director for action to be taken on it.
"The plaintiffs were not given a copy of the report. The then Acting Managing Director, acting on the report, demoted the plaintiffs, a punishment not provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011."
The Court said: "On the actions of the Acting Managing Director, I hold it was ultra vires, null and void and is of no effect."
According to the Court, the disciplinary procedure of the Company hinged on its Collective Bargaining Agreement but that was not followed by the GWCL.
"I hold the view that the defendant had not succeeded in justifying the demotion slapped on the plaintiffs," the court ruled.
The two employees, in March 2015, filed a writ seeking an order of the court setting aside the wrongful and unjustified disciplinary actions taken against them by the company.
The plaintiffs also sought for an order for re-instatement to their former positions with full benefits and payments of all monies due them.
They further prayed the Court for general damages for unfair, unjust and wrongful demotion, shock, pain and suffering.
Following the allegation of used expired Aluminium Sulphate by the Company, the two were ordered to be interdicted on the directives of the then Sector Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing.
Their matter was further referred to the National Security for Investigations.
Subsequently, an Investigation Committee was set up and the plaintiffs were demoted to the grade of Material Officers.
They, however, denied any wrongdoing and considered their demotion as unfair and wrongful and thus commenced the action.