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Ghana News

Former UK soldier hit with £70k bill after making false disability claim

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Former Ghanaian soldier, Michael Mantey, who claimed £1.6m in compensation from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over a non-freezing cold injury (NCFI), has been hit with a £70,000 court bill after being filmed walking with no stick and wearing sandals. Mantey had alleged that he was left severely disabled and super-sensitive to the cold while on duty in Estonia with the Royal Engineers in late 2017.

He claimed that he had suffered a trench foot injury while in bitterly cold eastern Europe, which resulted in his inability to walk without an aid and his need to bundle up in four layers of clothing when he went to see a doctor. However, the MoD conducted an investigation and discovered that Mantey had been “deliberately malingering” to claim a massive payout, as he was secretly filmed wandering around with no stick or limp, and wearing open-toed sandals and no socks.

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Mr Justice Eyre found his claim to be “fundamentally dishonest” and he now faces lawyers’ bills totalling more than £70,000 after the MoD hauled him to the High Court. Although the soldier had suffered trench foot, it had got better and his claim was therefore deemed false. An NCFI is a type of cold-sensitive injury to the hands and feet, caused when body tissue is exposed to excessive cold and wet conditions.

Mantey claimed that he was also subjected to other periods of working in damagingly cold temperatures, but was simply told to “man up” when he complained to superiors. The Ghana-born soldier had enlisted in the British Army in 2009 and served in the 22 and 26 Engineer Regiments, before being medically discharged in January 2020. As part of his claim, he said he had incurred “additional heating costs” through having to keep his house warmer than he would otherwise have done and had to “purchase warmer clothing.”

However, the footage revealed that Mantey could indeed get around without a stick, despite his claims of permanent disability. Medical experts could find “no medical explanation” for the difference in appearance and symptoms and put it to Mantey that his presentation with a limp and serious disability to the doctors was a “fake.” Ultimately, Mantey was caught in his attempt to defraud the MoD and justice has been served.

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