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Ex-SSA officer sues agency over disciplinary action

Published: 
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A former Strategic Services Agency (SSA) security officer has been given the green light to sue his former employer for taking disciplinary action against him after he sought compensation from the State over an injury he suffered in his previous job.

High Court judge Margaret Mohammed granted retired police Cpl Fazal Ghany leave to pursue his judicial view claim against the SSA in which he is claiming that it acted unfairly and illegally in taking the action against him.

She ruled that he had raised a valid claim which had a realistic prospect of success at trial.

According to his lawsuit, Ghany worked as a police officer before he applied for a job with the SSA in 2012.

In December 2006, Ghany suffered serious injuries after he slipped and fell down a flight of stairs at the Anti-Kidnapping Squad’s Couva office. He was left partially paralysed and was forced to retire early in 2011.

Ghany sued the State after his compensation claim under the Protective Services (Compensation) Act was denied as his injury was not one listed under the legislation.

Ghany claimed that he informed the interview panel of the lawsuit, when he was eventually interviewed for the post in the SSA, in January 2015.

Three months later, the Privy Council ruled in Ghany’s favour as it stated that Parliament made an error when it failed to include a provision, which takes into account injuries which were not contemplated at the time of the drafting of the legislation. The Privy Council referred the issue to the Compensation Committee under the legislation to calculate compensation for Ghany.

However, in August, last year, Ghany was forced to file another lawsuit as the committee was not appointed by Government, since 2015. High Court judge Joan Charles ruled in Ghany’s favour and ordered the Government to immediately make the appointments and that the committee urgently consider Ghany’s case.

Ghany is claiming that days after his second legal victory, he was informed by SSA management that he was suspended with pay, pending an investigation into four disciplinary charges arising out of the lawsuits.

Ghany was accused of providing misleading information on his lawsuit during his recruitment interview and for alleged giving false evidence in his subsequent lawsuit before Charles.

In February, Ghany was informed that he was found guilty of the four disciplinary offences. However, he was not dismissed by the agency as his three-year contract was due to come to an end that month.

Ghany is now challenging that process used by the SSA in bringing and determining the charges.

“These allegations are of a fraudulent nature and can stay on my record. If I allow this to remain there, this will hinder my future employment prospects,” Ghany said in his affidavit.

He is calling on the court to declare that the decision is null and void as he claims that he was not properly informed of the nature of the charges and was not given a fair opportunity to respond.

Ghany is being represented by Jagdeo Singh, Dinesh Rambally, Stefan Ramkissoon and Kiel Taklalsingh.

A case management conference for Ghany’s case against the SSA will take place on July 23.

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