Jihad Chaaban pleads not guilty; remanded in police custody
Jihad Chaaban, the Lebanese supervisor who allegedly dipped the face of a Ghanaian kitchen staffer at Marwako Fast Food’s Abelenkpe branch into a paste of freshly blended pepper about two weeks ago, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of assault, offensive conduct and causing harm.
In court on Wednesday, 8 March, Mr Chaaban’s lawyers argued for him to be granted bail but the prosecution fought against it.
The court ruled that he should be held in police custody to reappear on 16 March.
Meanwhile, at least 2,500 people have signed an online petition aimed at seeking justice for Evelyn Boakye, the victim. The petition followed an online crusade #BoycottMarwako launched after the incident came to light.
Also, Second Lady Samira Bawumia has said Mr Chaaban must be penalised for his crime.
“I think it’s one too many but I think it’s the employee who needs to be penalised. It’s unacceptable and I saw yesterday the Gender Minister was there with the lady and I’m sure they are going to push this to its logical conclusion,” Mrs Bawumia said on Accra-based Joy FM on Wednesday.
It has also come to light that Marwako pays Ms Boakye, GHS300 as salary for her 10-hour a day job.
Ms Boakye reported her assault to the police, who arrested Mr Chaaban, interrogated him and later granted him bail. He was subsequently charged on Tuesday, 7 March.
The incident has been widely condemned by Ghanaians on social media, leading to a call for a total boycott of Marwako.
On Tuesday, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, Labour and Employment Relations Minister Ignatius Baffour-Awuah and MP for the area, Kyeremateng Agyarko met with the management of Marwako over the matter. The Labour Minister ordered an intensive audit of Marwako’s labour practices.
Evelyn’s brother, Kobby, who disclosed his sister’s salary, told Moro Awudu on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Wednesday, 8 March that Marwako has not offered a penny to his sister in terms of assistance ever since the incident happened, contrary to claims by the restaurant that the victim has refused all help extended to her by the eatery.
He said his sister has been living on the benevolence of Gender, Children and Social Protection Minsiter Otiko Afisa Djaba, former Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah, MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon Kyeremanteng Agyarko, and a few friends and relatives, stressing that: “I say on authority, they [Marwako] have not given any penny for hospital bills, it is a lie, it’s an insult to women.”
“And even up till now, the whole company, they have not been paid the workers, and even her [Evelyn],” he said.
According to him, the restaurant also, sometimes, makes deductions from the meagre GHS300 salary paid to staff with the excuse that there have been shortages of certain foodstuffs in the pantry, for which the workers are surcharged. “…It’s a table-top salary,” he stressed.
He said the incident has been hard on his sister and the family. “For now it’s kind of hard because looking at your kid sister being in the news everywhere … everyone is calling … so the stress is too much.”
“As for the family, we wish this thing hadn’t happened so that she will have her peace, we are not complaining about Evelyn getting GHS300 working for 10 hours a day, as a young girl she was not depending on any man to survive,” he added.