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…after 17 years of Agony
In what observers see as a battle for justice, Mr. Richard Offei, 35, is about to drag the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to court to justify why it should render him amputated and maimed for life only to dump him 17 years on.
According to him, his action has been necessitated by the fact that after his ordeal, COCOBOD has refused to even provide him with an artificial limb, doctor’s advice notwithstanding, let alone compensate or settle him.
To make bad worse, he maintains, COCOBOD had to be forced to employ him as a lift operator, only to terminate his appointment painfully after ten (10) years, sweeping under the carpet, the issues of compensation and settlement.
What is more, all efforts to meet with management for an amicable solution to his problem have been met with outright frustrations by ‘gate keepers at the place’.
Meanwhile, his financial position has become precarious as his accommodation, children’s school fees and general upkeep keeps deteriorating by the day.
These were contained in a protest letter to the COCOBOD titled, “Protest against Raw Deal”. Mr. Offei maintains that, right from childhood, his dream was to become a footballer, wear the national jersey, and eventually become a super star one day.
This dream, according to him, became a reality when at 18, he got the chance to play for Liberty Professionals Football Club in Accra, alongside Michael Essien, Derrick Boateng and many others.
He indicated, he was at the prime of his football career, thus leading to the achievement of his dream.
Then, along the line, the unfortunate happened, when he was knocked down by a COCOBOD Water Tanker vehicle, driven by one Alex Opoku at Abeka Lapaz in Accra, leading to the amputation of his left leg, thus cutting shot his football career. Thereafter, he was left to his fate, as he faced rejection and stigmatization, even from his own family, a situation, which threw him out of home.
He stated that in his desperation for survival, he undertook training in Electricals and Tailoring at the Kaneshie Cripples’ Home in Accra, where he happened to bump into President John Agyekum Kufour, who had come there to do a donation.
Mr. Offei said, he told the President his story, and having been moved by pity and compassion, he ordered COCOBOD to offer him employment.
Subsequently, he was employed as a Lift Operator at the place in 2004, with the promise that his amputated leg would be replaced with an artificial limb, and also be given a house and a car to enable him move about freely.
However, all strenuous efforts made by him to have his amputated leg replaced with artificial limb, backed by doctors’ advice also proved futile.
Then along the line, the lift he was operating broke down, and for three (3) years, it remained spoilt. A situation which compelled him to stay home, because even money for transportation (T&T) to work was a problem, and also his cloches had broken without replacement by COCOBOD.
According to him, for reasons he is yet to comprehend, on February 3, 2016, he was slapped with the termination of his appointment, with effect from January 28, 2016, for allegedly vacating post under the Stephen Opuni administration.
He indicated that the dismissal letter, signed by the Director of Human Resource, Mr. F.A Temeng, also called for the deduction of salaries and allowances paid him from July 2015 to 28th January 2016.
“As bread winner of my family with one of my legs amputated (for no fault of mine), life has really become tough for me. I struggle to win a daily bread for my wife and children,” he stressed.
Mr. Offei emphasized that his current action has further been premised on the fact that, all attempts to see the current C.E.O for the Board, has been met with outright frustrations from ‘gate keepers at the place’, his plea to have come there on the advice of Hon. Isaac Osei, former MP for Subin, and former CEO to COCOBOD notwithstanding.
It is for this reason that he wants the court to intervene to determine whether COCOBOD could render him amputated and abandoned without compensation.
Source: S.O. Ankamah