Former employee accuses Australian High Commission in Ghana of abuse

Mercy Adjabeng

A former employee of the Australian High Commission in Ghana is accusing the diplomatic outpost of abuse.

Ms Mercy Catherine Adjabeng who has worked at the High Commission for three years told reporters at a press briefing in Accra Tuesday August 16, 2022 of how the Australian Mission terminated her appointment in a way she considers wrong.

Ms Adjabeng said the High Commission terminated her appointment on August 8, 2022 due to the Mission’s own refusal to honour an agreement to continue her employment at the agreed level.

“This was as a result of the Australian High Commission’s refusal to honour an agreement to continue my employment at the agreed level reflecting my experience and expertise, expected to be above Level 5,” she said.

“They had removed me from that level, demoting me to a Level 4. This demotion came together with a treatment that fails the standards set by the High Commission of respect, transparency, and community,” she added.

She further explained that she had previously been employed by the High Commission under former High Commissioners Andrews Barnes and Gregory Andrew until September 30, 2021 when she resigned.

According to her, after she had resigned, the High Commission approached her and requested that she returned to work with them, because they have been unable to find a replacement, after advertising and conducting interviews.

“My initial response was no,” she said.

She stated that when she agreed to return to work at the High Commission, after continued requests, she agreed and took on some additional roles and maintained that these reflect in the new engagement and that she was to be duly paid for that. She also indicated that the new role she agreed to take should be above her former position she resigned from and therefore asked that she should be put on Level 5.

She said while she worked, she continued to request formal confirmation of her new Level status.

“Despite affirmations that this would be honoured, it was not. There were consistent email requests, many reassurances, but no action was taken. When I finally received formal confirmation of my employment, I had been demoted. At the time of the demotion, I had been working as the Public Affairs and Events Manager,” she explained.

She indicated that on her last day at work, she was hounded out of the premises.

“On my last day, an Australian member of staff at the Australian High Commission hounded me out of the building, treating me with disrespect, a lack of humanity, and a lack of professionalism,” she said.

She stated the following as the actions the Australia High Commission took and said those actions were against the laws of Ghana.

The actions she said “fall foul of Ghana’s labour laws; fall foul of Australia High Commission’s standard of treating employees with respect, courtesy and in a professional manner. They were unfair, unjust and a misrepresentation,” and in response she is pursuing the following recourse: “Using media advocacy to stand up, speak up and tell my story; Petitioning relevant institutions; Taking legal action and any other legitimate means for redress,” she said.

She said she is also further demanding an apology and compensation at the level agreed for her re-engagement from the High Commission.

At the time of publishing this story, Ghana Business News called the High Commission for their reaction, but they were closed.

By Maxwell Nkansah

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