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General News of Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Source: GNA

VRA opens defence in 2.2 billion suit

Accra, Feb. 19, GNA - Mr. Joseph Nii Torgbor Annan, a Human Resource Officer of the Volta River Authority (VRA) who represented the Chief Executive of the Authority on Tuesday opened his defence in a case in which Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, former CEO of VRA has filed a suit at an Accra Fast Truck High Court demanding payment of 2.2 billion cedis being his entitlement from the VRA.

He prayed the court to deny Dr. Wireko-Brobbey those relieves that he was seeking because according to VRA regulations, the plaintiff did not qualify for those claims.

Mr Annan made this known when he was led in evidence by Mr. F. K. Yeboah, Lead Counsel for the VRA.

He said, he was working with the VRA when the plaintiff became the Board Chairman and later on September 2001 was appointed the Chief Executive of the VRA.

He said in May 2003, because of certain problems that emerged at the VRA, the plaintiff was asked to step aside for investigations. He said on September 19, 2003 the plaintiff wrote his resignation letter addressed to President J.A Kufour, which, he said, takes immediate effect.

Mr Annan told the Court that, by VRA rules, the President does appoint Chief Executives for the VRA; he only nominates somebody and is either approved or rejected by Board members of the VRA. He said by terms and conditions of his appointment letter the plaintiff should have given six months notice of his resignation to the VRA as well as the Authority and not the President. He said technically speaking, the VRA had not received any letter from the plaintiff concerning his resignation and the Authority considers his absence from his office as vacating his post. "Under the terms and conditions of service if someone absent himself from for 10 days without any notice to the VRA it amounts to summarily dismissal," he added.

Mr Annan also insisted that the claim by the plaintiff that he was entitled to those entitlements was false because he did not qualify by terms and conditions of the Authority.

He further asked the Court to grant the Authority the counter relieves that it was seeking by requesting the plaintiff to return all the items that he took away from his official residence, including the furniture, fittings as well as the vehicle.

The facts are that, Dr Wereko-Brobbey got separated from the VRA on September 17, 2003 but it took the VRA considerable time, amid demands from him before the VRA eventually wrote to him on April 1, 2004 to formally notify him of his separation entitlement. The suit included a cash equivalent of 43 days earned leave up to the time of the resignation totally 61 million cedis, six months salary in the sum of 187 million cedis, and a gratuity of five years salary of 1.8 billion cedis as well as cedis equivalent of fuel allocation from March 31 2004.

The application also called for the transfer of ownership of the saloon car, which was in his position Dr Wereko-Brobbey was appointed CEO of the VRA on August 24, 2001. He officially assumed office in September that year but resigned on September 17, 2003. 19 Feb. 08

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