Ex-WAGI Staff Drag Lawyer To Court Over Severance Benefits
Over 150 former staff of the default West African Glass Industries (WAGI) have sued a legal practitioner, Bar. George T. Ogara in a Port Harcourt High Court for allegedly defrauding them of their entitlement paid to them by their former company.
When the matter came up for mention in the court, Justice Amadi Cheche of the State High Court fixed February 16 and 25 for definite hearing of the matter.
Speaking to journalists outside the court lawyer to the plaintiffs, N. A. Ibiloye said the aggrieved former workers were in court to challenge the conduct of the lawyer whom the workers accused of shortchanging them over N695m paid to the workers by the former.
The counsel told the media that his clients had engaged Bar. Ogara to execute the judgment of the National Industrial Court in Enugu State which ordered WAGI to pay the said amount to the workers.
According to him, instead of implementing the payment to the workers as specified by the court, the lawyer, George Ogara decided to short-pay the workers with many of the worker getting less than 50% of the specific amount while many others did not get any payment from the lawyer.
Leader of the workers, Marshall Uyi told The Vortex that in 2011, the former employees numbering over 180 persons under the umbrella of Chemical and Non-Metallic Senior Staff Association (CANMPSSAN) took the management of the company to the National Industrial court, Enugu after it failed to comply with the resolutions of the Arbitration panel set up by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity.
He said the court on May 3, 2017 ruled in the workers favour and order WAGI to pay the workers the sum of N677m based on the individual computations prepared by the court.
According to Uyi, Bar, George Ogara was engaged to pursue to execution of the court award.
He alleged that Barr. Ogara caused the judgment money to be paid to his personal account and refused them to release the money to the workers for over one year.
Uyi also alleged that Bar. Ogara between May 28 and June 1st invited some of the workers to Zenith bank PLC branch at, Nwaja along Trans Amadi in port Harcourt where he some of worker awaits far less than what they are due while stating that some other workers never got any payment from him.
Another member of the group, Emenike Amadi stated that their efforts to enter into agreement with Bar. Ogara on his engagement was resisted as the lawyer assured them that he was more interested in protecting their interests.
Attempts to get the embattled Bar. George Ogara to comment on the matter has not yielded results as phones calls to his line was not responded to.