NIC task force swoops commercial buildings without insurance; arrests 6
The special task force of the National Insurance Commission (NIC) has arrested six workers because their employers failed to comply with the compulsory Insurance policy.
Tuesday’s operation by the task force is the fourth time the NIC has embarked on a distress action to enforce compliance of the policy.
All the six workers picked up have been led to the police headquarters as they await clearance from authorities.
Sections 183 and 184 of the Insurance Act 724 make it compulsory for private commercial buildings including those under construction to be insured.
The task force is to be replicated in all ten regions and will have the mandate to arrest and prosecute offenders.
So far, the exercise has met with stern resistance as some workers claim the arrests violate human rights and defeats the purpose of the policy.
After some of the workers were picked up, the operation turned chaotic when members of the task force allegedly manhandled and handcuffed tenants of the policy-violating buildings.
One of the persons picked up, Micah Boateng, said the task force was hostile.
“Just because I wanted to make a call, one grabbed me by the arm and called the other to put me on handcuffs along the streets. Everyone was videotaping as if I was a killer or criminal,” Micah recounted to Joy Business.
The plights of Micah were echoed by a cross-section of Ghanaians who have described the strategy by the NIC as a means to spread fear and panic.
“I can’t believe this is happening. Do they want to put fear in us or what, how can you just walk into someone’s shop and arrest a worker without any warrant whatsoever? This is so unfortunate,” a caretaker of a shop at Achimota told Joy Business.
When the Head of Marketing at NIC, Joseph Bento, who also led the task force, as contacted, he said the NIC has tried persuasion but that has failed.
“They [persons picked up] are not the owners but tenants and occupants of the properties. We have done persuasion all over the years and now we have decided to come stronger,” he said.
Meanwhile, head of the police rapid deployment team, Superintendent Al-Meyao K. Abass, has discounted the allegations of foul play.
He claims minimum force was used on workers who turned out to be non-compliant.
“If anybody arrested is not cooperating, under the law we have got the power to use minimum force, I say again – minimum force. We don’t use maximum force in this exercise,” he justified.