Marwako Assault The story of a Lebanese manager who allegedly ‘dipped’ a Ghanaian worker’s face in pepper

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Evelyn Boakye, a worker at Marwako, a fast food joint in Ghana reported her manager to the police for rubbling here face in blended pepper, an incident that has caused national outrage.

Jihad Chabaan, the manager of Marwako Fast Food in Abelempke, Accra - Ghana play

Jihad Chabaan, the manager of Marwako Fast Food in Abelempke, Accra - Ghana

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On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, Jihad Chabaan from Lebanon was remanded in police custody by a magistrate court in Ghana.

Chabaan had pleaded not guilty to three charges of assault, causing harm and offensive conduct.

The prosecution claimed Jihad Chabaan’s self-recognizance bail by the police was interfering with their investigation. The Lebanese's security was another point made by the prosecution for his remand in police custody.

Jihad Chabaan is a Lebanese manager at a fast food joint in Ghana named Marwako. The Lebanese is alleged to have assaulted 25-year-old Evelyn Boakye. According to Evelyn, Jihad shoved her face in hot pepper and prevented her colleagues from coming to her rescue, threatening to fire anyone who did.

Evelyn Boakye, the alleged victim of the Marwako incident play

Evelyn Boakye, the alleged victim of the Marwako incident

 

Evelyn Boakye who was hired to work in the Rice Department was asked to help in the Full Chicken Department on Sunday, February 26, 2017 when the incident is reported to have happened.

The staff of Marwako reported the case to the police who gave her medical forms to go to the hospital after reporting the Jihad looked her up for several hours with burning eyes before being allowed to step out of the fast food joint in Abelenkpe, a suburb in the capital city of Ghana, Accra.

Management of Mawarko suspended their supervisor before he was arrested by the Ghana Police for his actions towards his subordinate.

Jihad Chabaan later rendered an apology to Evelyn Boakye which read:

Jihad Chabaan's letter of apology play

Jihad Chabaan's letter of apology

 

The apology was, however, not accepted by Evelyn who told Accra FM:

I cannot accept the apology because if the police had not come in, the matter would have been a ‘foolish’ case.

I was told by one Ali (also a worker there) that I was not the first person to have experienced this treatment at the place, and that even those handling the chicken also experienced same treatment. He suggested to me that we come together to use this incident to extort money from Chaaban but I said no, I wanted justice.

Because I rejected that ploy, my co-workers have all turned against me and so I cannot accept the apology. I know God will deal with this matter.

Marwako being in the spotlight this way was not what the owners of the fast food joint would have wished for. The assault claim caused outrage on social media with Ghana Twitter creating a hashtag for the movement: #BoycottMarwako.

 

The movement which started with people behind their laptop and phone screens eventually turned into an attack on the Abelenkpe branch of the fast food joint where the incident is reported to have happened. The Ghana Police Service intervened to calm the scene and offer some protection for the food joint.

With the assault claim moving from the small venue in Abelenkpe to become a national topic, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba swore to handle the case ‘seriously’.

Ghana's Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection - Otiko Afisa Djaba play

Ghana's Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection - Otiko Afisa Djaba

 

Speaking on the incident to Accra based Starr FM in Ghana, the Gender Minister said:

After 60 years of independence, nobody’s right should be infringed upon and as the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, that message is at the core of our vision and what we have to do for Ghanaians and so I’m taking this matter seriously.

I will meet the management of Marwako, I’ll meet the victim and then we will have discussion with the Ministry of Employment and TUC and other organisations that are owned by foreigners and even Ghanaian employers. We must respect each other; I think that is at the bottom of what is going on. It is the lack of respect, we need to respect our employees because we cannot do what they do.

Representatives of Amnesty International in Ghana also weighted in the conversation. Acting Director of Amnesty International in Ghana, Frank Doyi urged the law agencies to thoroughly investigate the issue to get the best possible outcome.

Marwako Fast Food joint play

Marwako Fast Food joint

 

Talking to Accra-based 3news, Frank Doyi said: “Amnesty International will like to call on the law enforcement agencies particularly the police to take urgent action on the matter to thoroughly investigate the issue, speak to the relevant people involved both the employer and other workers who may have witnessed or who may have been present at the time this woman was unfortunately submitted to this kind of inhumane treatment.

“If the police is satisfied with their investigations and they have sufficient information to suggest that there was a clear act of assault, violation of the right of the woman then we will encourage the police to follow due process and present the case to court for the matter to be looked into.”

During the court session on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, the Lebanese manager at Marwako, Jihad Chaaban pleaded not guilty to three charges of causing harm, assault, and offensive conduct.

However, that is not the end of an incident that has caused national outrage. This is so much bigger.

The case is set to return to court as investigations continue.