3 August 2017

Ghana: Let This Be a Lesson to Employers

The Abeka District Court, yesterday, sentenced Jihad Chaaban, the Lebanese Supervisor at the Abelemkpe branch of the Marwako Restaurant, who was alleged to have assaulted one of his workers, Evelyn Boakye, to nine months imprisonment.

According to the court, presided over by Justice Victoria Eggs Ghansah, the prosecution proved beyond every reasonable doubt that Jihad Chaaban, indeed, committed the offence.

The Judge, without mincing words, condemned the act, and further cautioned employers in the country to be careful the way and manner they treat their employees.

It is the candid opinion of The Chronicle that the judgment is good, because it will serve as a disincentive, not only to expatriate company owners, but also to local employers.

Jihad Chaaban attracted headlines in the Ghanaian media in February, this year, for assaulting Evelyn Boakye.

The reports said he grabbed her neck and forced her face into a jar of blended raw pepper, after accusing her of fidgeting with the blender.

Mr. Chaaban was charged with offensive conduct by calling the victim a prostitute, and intentionally, and unlawfully causing harm, and assault.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the middle of the trial, the Marwako Restaurant Supervisor requested an out of court settlement, but the court discarded the terms of settlement by the two parties presented by the defense counsel, stating that the matter before it was criminal, and not a civil one.

Over the years, there have been lots of reports of expatriate bosses maltreating their Ghanaian employees, sometimes over nothing.

On March 31, 2016, an Italian Workshop Supervisor, Manilo Maggiorotto, who was working with a multinational logistics company, Gateway Logistics Limited, operating as a Free Zone company in the Western Region, provoked workers of the firm.

The Italian Workshop Supervisor did the unthinkable when he chained one of his subordinates to a container in the hot sun, as punishment for failing to complete a task he (Manilo) had assigned him.

The workers appealed to the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) to ensure that the victim gets justice.

The leadership of the General Transport and Petroleum Workers Union (GTPWU) of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and workers of the company, dissatisfied with what had happened, organised a mammoth demonstration in solidarity with the victim.

The protest march was also to drum home their displeasure against the maltreatment of Ghanaian workers by expatriate employers.

At the end of the day, the Italian relinquished his post and returned to Italy with his wife, without facing justice for the crime he committed against the poor Ghanaian worker.

Earlier, before that incident, precisely March 12, 2016, a Korean, who is the owner of the Peterpan Restaurant in Accra, slapped a female Ghanaian worker with hot pizza.

Again, on April 8, 2016, workers of the ARDA Group Company, a Turkish company based in Akim Oda in the Eastern Region, embarked on a demonstration against alleged abuses being meted out to them by their employers.

The Chronicle can continue mentioning similar instances in which expatriate bosses have been maltreating their Ghanaian workers, and, in most cases, have gone scot free.

This is why The Chronicle sees this ruling as timely and apt, judging from the fact that expatriate employers will remember any time the issue comes up, and sober down for the benefit of all.

Expatriate employers must be made to respect the laws of this country and stop boasting by passing comments such as "your police is in my pocket," among others.

They must realise that Ghanaians are also human beings, and the fact that we allow them to come and invest in our country, does not give them the license to dehumanise us.

Ghana

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