Management of Ghana Commercial Bank has deposed that its retired employees have no records from which any computations of their (employees) pension entitlements could be made.
This is in response to an order by an Accra Fast Track High Court that the entitlements be paid under the bank's Special Pension Scheme.
In an affidavit in opposition to Plaintiffs/Applicants' Application for Order of Committal for Contempt of Court, dated June 26, 2013, the managing director of the bank, Simon Dornoo averred, "That in any case, it is important for me to say that in terms of the order upon which the application before this Court is mounted, I am unable due to reasons beyond my control, to ensure compliance with the said order of this Court by reason of the fact that it is impossible to 'compute and pay the Special Pension Benefits of the Plaintiffs as ordered in the judgement dated 20/09/2011' especially that I have no authority to commit Defendant to expenditure limits above the sum of Fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis ( GHc50,000)."
The MD averred further in the affidavit, "That the effect of exhibit 'A' attached hereto is that Defendant has no records of the pension scheme which provided the basis for Plaintiffs' cause of action against Defendant and also has no records of any employee who left Defendant from about the year 2006."
The Plaintiffs, numbering 88 � members of the Retired Staff Association of Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd. - filed a writ against the bank in 2007 at the Fast Track High Court in Accra, claiming recovery of their pension entitlements after they had worked for more than 15 continuous years and had each attained the age of 60 years - as under the Scheme, an employee could be paid his or her pension at age 45, having served for 15 continuous years.
Reliefs sought by the Plaintiffs included interest on their entitlements at the prevailing bank rate from the date of each Plaintiff leaving the bank's employment up to the date of payment; payment by the bank of costs of the proceedings as well as legal fees.
At the end of the trial, which lasted over three years, the presiding judge, Justice Edward A Asante, ruled in favour of the Plaintiffs, after dismissing the GCB's assertion - made through its defence counsel - that the Scheme was terminated in December 1990, adding that Exhibit 'A' - which captured condition of service under the Scheme - "had no provision that authorised the bank to unilaterally terminate the Scheme without paying the Plaintiffs their accrued benefits."
Justice Asante pointed out that the law also recognised the Scheme and gave its legislative backing and set out the terms of termination [quoting Sections 24(1), 24(2) and 24(4) of the Social Security Decree NRCD127] .
�Under this law, changes to private schemes such as the one under discussion, can only be made with the prior approval of the Commissioner. The bank at the trial failed to adduce any evidence that the alleged termination of the Scheme was with the prior written approval of the commissioner," he underscored.
On a submission that the Plaintiffs' action was statute barred, the presiding judge noted that negotiations were ongoing between the Plaintiffs and their employer (GCB) before the court action was resorted to, and so it was not statute barred.
Consequently, Justice Asante ruled that the bank should pay the entitlements, but it has since not complied with the order thus, the institution of contempt case against it, the ruling of which has been slated for Thursday, September 26, 2013.
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