BNI Raids CHRAJ


The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) is reported to have stormed the offices of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and picked the Head of Treasury of the commission, Sonny Eric Adinyira.

Sonny Eric Adinyira, who is on secondment from the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department, is said to have been interrogated by the national security outfit over alleged financial malfeasance at the commission.

CHRAJ is currently embroiled in a financial scandal over the profligate spending by the Commissioner, Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, in respect of accommodation.

A source told DAILY GUIDE yesterday that the move by the BNI was triggered by recent media reports accusing the commissioner of the human rights body of extravagant and reckless dissipation of public funds on accommodation running into over $200,000.

Since news broke out, the Auditor-General is said to have launched an audit into the finances of CHRAJ, particularly on the accommodation of the commissioner.

A statement from the Ministry of Communications endorsed the Auditor-General’s decision to investigate the use of public funds by CHRAJ on rent, hotel accommodation and an extensive renovation of the official residence of the commissioner.

The government’s statement said it expected the Auditor-General to complete its audit within the shortest time possible and cautioned heads of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and heads of institutions that rely on public funds, that they would be held accountable for any misapplication and inappropriate use of public funds, as well as any infringements of the Financial Administration Rules.

Pressure continues to mount on Justice Lamptey to resign following accusation of extravagant spending of the taxpayer’s money.

She became the latest head of a state institution to be embroiled in allegation of wanton misapplication of state resources, at a time when the human rights body is clearly starved of funding.

The commissioner currently stays at the Best Western Hotel where the taxpayer is billed $450 daily on her behalf on accommodation.

She has four vehicles together with a driver and police protection at her disposal; and they are always parked at the hotel premises.

Interestingly, the hotel is situated a few metres away from the commissioner’s officially-designated residence at the Airport Residential Area, Accra, which is currently under refurbishment on her orders at a huge cost to CHRAJ.

Before lodging at the hotel, Ms Lamptey resided at the plush African Union (AU) Village at Cantonments, Accra, at a cost of $148,500 in rent for 33 months—from November 2011 to April 2014.

Efforts by the contractor from PWD Prestige to complete what is believed to be minor refurbishment of her official residence, was frustrated by the commissioner’s high sense of taste and as a result, the contractor abandoned the project because the funds had been exhausted.

Justice Lamptey has maintained that it is the duty of the state to house her, saying, ‘The state has an obligation to house me whether I’m a native of Accra or…anywhere else. The job structure involves being housed; the compensation is based on ‘we are providing these things for you.”

Various bodies and opinion leaders have insisted that her continuous stay in office has become untenable and have called for her removal.

Minority Leader
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, is backing calls for the resignation of Ms Lamptey saying that ‘She should have exercised better judgement than she has done.’

‘That conduct amounts to gross indiscretion on her part. I thought that she should have exercised better judgement than what she has done. The amount involved…is a clear case of misapplication of public resources and it ought not to have happened how it happened,’ he said.

Mensah-Bonsu told Citi Fm that there was no justification for the CHRAJ boss to remain at post.

The Minority Leader argued that ‘The position that she herself is occupying is so unique. CHRAJ themselves have developed a code of conduct document for public office holders…so if you flout it to such an extent, it becomes indefensible.’

The Member of Parliament for Nsawam/Adoagyiri Constituency, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, who is on the House’s Special Budget Committee, has already  begun an official process to have Lauretta Lamptey impeached by sending a petition to the presidency.

Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF), a political pressure group that has been sending petitions to the commission without any action, also want beleaguered Justice Lamptey to resign immediately or face them in court.

Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), another political pressure group, has also waded into the matter, asking the President to fire the CHRAJ boss without delay or they would hit the streets.

 By William Yaw Owusu

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