Commercial drivers who were forced to work in the morgue and fondle corpses for breaking traffic regulations at the 37 Military Hospital have rejected a compensation package from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
In early July, some commercial drivers arrested at the Hospital were made to work in the mortuary where they carried and arranged corpses ‘to teach them a lesson’. In some cases, the victims said they were forced to fondle the breasts of female corpses or kiss them.
The incident caused a public uproar, following which President Kufuor called for investigations for culprits to be punished.
The military high command offered to pay the victims a sum of GH¢100 as well as one year free medical care to assuage the trauma they went through, but the victims say the amount is woefully inadequate.
They are demanding an amount of GH¢25,000 per person as compensation.
“Some of us cannot sleep; we need this money to see special doctors to see if we are okay,” one of the drivers told Joy News in an interview.
Whilst some claim to be suffering from chronic chest pains as a result of severe coughs, others say they have lost their jobs, due to frequent visits to assist a panel that investigated the incident.
“I have spent three months at home with my master because our car owner has collected his car saying the car cannot be packed at home every two days to see the military,” one of the victims explained.
They have threatened to take the military to court if it insisted on paying the GH¢100 as compensation.
But the Greater Accra Chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Alhaji Tetteh, says there is very little his office can do about the new demands of the drivers.
“I convened a meeting between representatives of the military and the victims at my office where the package was made known to them, and they agreed to it. I don’t understand why they are now complaining.”
“They should have said it was not enough in the presence of the soldiers,” he added.
Alhaji Tetteh admitted the money was meagre and has made efforts to recover the vehicles for those who claim to have lost their jobs, as a way to help them through these difficult times.
He however accused the drivers of disrespect towards the leaders of the GPRTU.
On the contrary, a human rights lawyer, Nana Oye Lithur, has questioned the basis of the compensation when a clear medical assessment has not been undertaken to investigate the seriousness of the trauma.
While describing the fondling episode as regrettable, Oye Lithur called on the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to give its ruling on the matter.
Meanwhile, Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel E.W. Nibo, has told Joy News the package was only to reimburse the drivers for the expenses they incurred throughout the investigation and medical processes.
Author: Nathan Gadugah
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