Procedures for enforcing GES code of conduct: Penalties, Punishments for GES staff

Procedures for enforcing GES code of conduct: Penalties, Punishments for GES staff

The revised Code of Conduct for the staff of Ghana Education Service (GES) approved in June 2017 has outlined procedures for enforcing GES code of conduct against any staff of the service.

The code of conduct has also outlined types of penalties, punishment etc for any Ghana Education Service (GES) staff who goes contrary to the approved code of conduct.

In article 6.0 of the Code of Conduct, these procedures are to be followed by the appropriate Disciplinary Authority as defined in this Code of Conduct.

i. For all criminal cases the matter shall be referred to the Police.

ii. Where a preliminary investigation or inquiry discloses that a criminal offence may have been committed by an officer of the Ghana Education Service, the Disciplinary Authority is entitled to report the matter to the Police or to the Attorney General’s office for appropriate action and advice. This, however, shall be without prejudice to the power of the disciplinary authority to take such further or other action in accordance with administrative regulations or impose sanctions in accordance with the disciplinary procedures in this code, as are justified by the outcome of the investigations or inquiry against the officer.

iii. An acquittal of a member of the Service of a criminal charge shall not dis-entitle the Service from taking any administrative or disciplinary action against the member, in accordance with the Code of Conduct, or imposing a sanction against any such member where his/her conduct contravenes or breaches the Code of Conduct or tends to bring the Service into disrepute.

iv. A member of the Ghana Education Service convicted of an offence involving fraud or theft or sentenced to imprisonment shall not receive any emoluments from the date of the judgment. Where Part 3, Section 36 of the Ghana Education Service Code of Conduct applies, the Disciplinary Authority shall notify the member of the Service convicted of his/her dismissal from the Service.

6.1 Warnings/Reprimands

1. There shall be warning (s), oral or written. In either case, the Employee should be advised, that the warning or reprimand constitutes the first formal stage of the proceedings.

2. Further misconduct might warrant a final written warning or reprimand, which contains a statement that any recurrence would lead to imposition of appropriate sanction.

3. The final stage might be imposition of appropriate sanction.

4. Notwithstanding (1)-(3) above, disciplinary action may be taken without previous warning or reprimand, in case of gross misconduct.

6.2 Formal Proceedings – [i.e., Disciplinary Hearing]

1. The employer shall ensure that, except for gross misconduct, no employee should be dismissed for a first breach of discipline.

2. Disciplinary action may not be taken, until the case has been carefully investigated.

3. If the preliminary investigations establish possible wrong-doing, the Disciplinary Authority shall prefer a charge against the accused Officer in writing and where necessary, the Attorney General’s Department may be consulted, with regard to the terms of the charge.

4. Where the Disciplinary Authority considers it necessary, the accused Officer shall be interdicted before the commencement, or in the course of the inquiry.

5. The accused Officer shall be served with a copy of the charge, together with a brief statement of the allegation on which the charge is based.

6. The accused officer shall be informed in writing of the date, time and venue of the inquiry and the right of the Officer to counsel and to call any number of witnesses during the inquiry.

7. The accused officer shall respond in writing within a specified period not exceeding ten (10) working days, stating any grounds upon which he/she wishes to rely, to be exonerated of the charges.

8. If the accused officer does not respond by the specified date without reasonable explanation or without requesting for and being granted an extension of time, it may be construed that the officer does not wish to make any statement.

9. The Disciplinary Authority shall, if not satisfied with the accused officer’s response, refer the matter to the disciplinary committee to inquire into the matter and report to the Disciplinary Authority

10. The proceedings shall not exceed three (3) months, without reasonable cause.

11. Where the evidence shall involve professional or technical matters, the disciplinary committee may be assisted, on request or by the directive of the Disciplinary Authority.

12. The disciplinary committee shall determine the date, time and venue for the hearings and invite the accused officer in writing accordingly.

13. Before holding the inquiry, the disciplinary committee shall call on the accused officer to provide a list of persons who the accused officer wishes to call to give evidence or to produce exhibits on the accused officer’s own behalf and the accused officer shall also provide a brief statement of what each witness is expected to give or the exhibits to be tendered.

14. Documentary evidence shall not be used at, or for the purpose of a disciplinary inquiry, unless the accused officer has been served with a copy of the document before the inquiry.

15. If the disciplinary committee is satisfied that the evidence or exhibits are material to the charge in question, the disciplinary committee shall make appropriate arrangements for those to be called to attend the inquiry

16. At the discretion of the disciplinary committee, the accused officer shall, as much as possible, be permitted to be present at the inquiry in person, and if the accused officer is absent without reasonable cause, then at the discretion of the disciplinary committee, the inquiry may proceed, without the accused officer.

17. If after the recommendation of the inquiry, further documents are introduced in evidence, the disciplinary committee shall adjourn the inquiry to allow the accused officer adequate opportunity to examine the documents.

18. The accused officer shall be allowed to cross-examine witnesses and to call witnesses on behalf of the accused officer.

19. A full record of the evidence shall be kept in writing.

20. If during the course of the inquiry the Disciplinary Authority considers that additional charge(s) should be preferred, the Disciplinary Authority shall inform the disciplinary committee which shall adopt the same procedure as adopted in preferring the original charges.

21. On completion of the inquiry, the disciplinary committee shall submit to the Disciplinary Authority a report of their findings and recommendations which shall include the record of proceedings and any document or material tendered in as evidence.

22. If the Disciplinary Authority is satisfied that the charges are established, the Disciplinary Authority shall consider what sanction, if any, to be applied.

23. The accused officer shall be informed in writing as to whether the charge(s) are established and the sanctions that are to be applied.

24. If criminal proceedings are instituted against an employee in any court of competent jurisdiction, disciplinary proceedings upon any grounds involved in the criminal
charges, shall be suspended, until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings and the determination by an appeal.

25. Disciplinary proceedings may, however, be instituted before during or after trial, if the criminal offence also amounts to an infringement of the Organization’s rules or regulations.

6.3 Summary Proceedings

An Employee may be dismissed summarily for gross misconduct. In such instance the Employer must set out in writing the nature of the Employee’s gross misconduct, specifying the basis of the decision at the time of the dismissal that the Employee was guilty of the alleged gross misconduct.

A copy must be sent to the Employee with a notification of a right to appeal against
the decision.

If the Employee wishes to appeal, he/she must inform the Employer. The Employer must then invite the Employee to a meeting which the Employee must take all reasonable steps to attend. After the appeal hearing the Employer must inform the Employee of his/her final decision.

6.4 Notes on Types of Penalties

1. Suspension with Loss of Pay

Suspension with loss of pay is imposed when an employee is found to have misconducted him/herself and given a fair hearing and found guilty of the offence committed.

He/she is suspended from duty for a maximum period of one (1) month, with loss of pay and allowances.

2. Surcharge

Requesting the employee to make good any consequential loss to the Organization, as a result of the misconduct.

3. Reduction in Rank

The removal from the Staff’s current grade to a lower rank or grade, with reduction in salary and other benefits.

4. Reduction in Salary

Reduction in salary whilst rank remains the same.

5. Dismissals

An employee may be dismissed in the following circumstances:

a) When an Employee is proved through staff appraisal and subsequent support to be incompetent.

b) When an Employee is found not to have possessed a qualification, he/she claims.

c) When misconduct of an Employee is a breach of a fundamental term of contract of service (e.g., stealing of Employer’s property or money).

d) When the Employer has a reasonable belief in the guilt of an Employee alleged to have
committed a criminal offence at the workplace.

Guilt needs not to be proved by the Employer. It is even irrelevant, if the Employee is later acquitted of the offence or [indeed if Police declines to bring charges against him/her).

6. Reasonableness

Reasonableness in such cases will depend on whether the Employer investigated the case to establish the facts and drew tenable conclusions from the investigations.

7. Removal

i. If, as a result of the operation of law, it is not possible to continue to employ the Employee, removal is necessary. An example is when a driver is banned from driving by a court of law or when an individual is convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for an offence committed outside the workplace.

ii. If, as a result of operational requirements of the Ghana Education Service, either because of re-organization or introduction of new technology, the Employee becomes redundant. In case of removal, the Employee shall be entitled to his/her accrued rights and benefits.

8. Interdiction

i. An Employee shall be interdicted, if he/she is under investigation and that his/her continued stay at post is likely to interfere with the investigation.

ii. The interdiction shall be justified, if there is the likelihood that the offence committed could be grave.

iii. No employee shall be interdicted in excess of the period of three (3) months.

iv. A staff who is interdicted shall be paid 50% of his/her salary. If the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings does not result in dismissal / termination, the remaining 50% of the salary withheld shall be restored with interest at the prevailing rate, when the final decision is made.

v. In all cases, interdiction shall not last for more than three months. Where there is the need for the interdiction period to be extended, the Disciplinary Committee shall inform the disciplinary authority who shall in turn seek the approval of the Public Services Commission.

vi. An employee who is interdicted shall receive half pay excluding any other allowances he/she is entitled to.

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