The National Labour Commission (NLC) has indicated that the Committee set up to investigate the matter between Martin Akowuah and the National Identification Authority (NIA), has established that Martin Akowuah had breached the standard operational and regulations of the NIA by instituting an unapproved protocol system at the La Nkwantanang Municipal Office without authorization.
The NLC in its response in respect of a petition it received regarding the dismissal of Martin Akowuah indicated that the Committee did not find any evidence that Martin Akowuah had made any gains however, the conduct of workers outside authorized hours was clear breach of standard operating rules.
The NLC also averred that Mr. Akowuah by his conduct of requiring his staff to start work at 6:00 a.m. instead of 8:00 a.m. and to work on some weekends without recourse to administrative rules and without authorization, breach Human Resource rules and deprived his staff of any overtime allowance that may have accrued for the additional hours.
It would be recall that, a 39-year-old Martin Akowuah dragged the NIA to the National Labour Commission over his unfair dismissal.
According to him, he was sacked via a notice that was sent to his WhatsApp for attending to Ghana Card seekers earlier than the official 8 a.m. time.
According to him, he and his team started work earlier because they were hoping to deal with the problem of long queues that constantly form at their station
Until his dismissal via WhatsApp message, Martin Akowuah worked for the National Identification Authority (NIA) as the District Registration Officer for the Madina area but says was unfairly dismissed in July this year.
According to Akowuah, the bizarre ground for his dismissal is that he started work before the official time of 8 a.m. However, he explained that he started work earlier to enable him to deal with the backlog of applications for the Ghana Card.
Now, Akowuah is fighting his dismissal. He has petitioned the National Labour Commission (NLC) to help undo an injustice.
In the petition, he sent to the NLC, Akowuah, 39, explained why he decided to start work earlier than the official 8 a.m.
“Unlike other offices, the Madina NIA office was a busy one with pressure that required the team to be proactive to keep up with the rush number of applicants who visit our office daily to acquire the Ghana card sometimes requiring the team and I to start earlier than the usual working hours just to get some more applications through the system than we would ordinarily have managed,” Akowuah explained.
That was the honest explanation he gave to the Executive Secretary of the NIA, Prof. Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, when he visited his station as part of a routine visit on March 11, 2022.
Akowuah said he thought he and his team were being proactive by starting work earlier to deal with the nationwide problem of people joining long queues for hours to obtain their Ghana cards. He was wrong.
“To my utmost surprise, I was sent a query to answer as to why I had to start office hours earlier than the normal 8 a.m.,” he said in his petiton to the NLC.
The query letter quickly escalated into an unusually long interdiction — 14 months interdiction — and subsequently a dismissal notice that was not printed or given any semblance of formality but sent to his WhatsApp number.
Despite a letter he wrote to the NIA Governing Board appealing that the grounds for his dismissal be probed, nothing has changed. The board has not even acknowledged receipt of the letter.
He is still home, jobless and in pain for the injustice done to him.
“I have a family. I am a father and a husband. They depend on me. Coupled with this economic situation, life has really been difficult since I was dismissed,” he said in an exclusive interview.
The NLC has written to Prof Attafuah, the NIA boss to respond in writing to Akowuah’s petition within 14 days. However, that ultimatum elapsed on Thursday, October 14 without a response from him.
The NIA could not be reached for a response.
Meanwhile, the NLC indicated that the Committee believes that Martin Akowuah was very aware of the standard operational ruled and regulations of the NIA but went ahead and flouted them.
It stated that, “His conduct was grave, compromised the National Identification System (NIS) and as such, recommends that he should be summarily dismissed from the employment of NIA as a DRO.”