General News of Thursday, 8 January 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The Office of the Chief Justice has set up a five-member committee to investigate complaints of serious misconduct and breaches of the law against the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Madam Lauretta Vivian Lamptey.
The committee is made up of two justices of the Supreme Court, an Appeal Court judge and two other members whose appointment was based on the advice of the Council of State.
It will be chaired by Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, a Justice of the Supreme Court.
A reliable source at the Judicial Council, who made this known to the Daily Graphic, named other members of the committee as Mr Justice A.A. Benin, a Supreme Court judge; Ms Justice Mariama Owusu, a Court of Appeal judge; Mr Edwin P.D. Barnes, a former Chief Director of the Ministry of the Interior, and Brigadier-General Fuseini Iddrisu.
The committee will investigate complaints of serious misconduct, inappropriate exercise of office, serious misjudgement, breaches of the law and public trust against the CHRAJ boss.
This follows the establishment of a prima facie case against her.
With the position of the Commissioner of CHRAJ being equal to that of a judge of the Court of Appeal, the procedure for Ms Lamptey’s removal from office can only start with credible evidence of corruption and abuse of office from the Chief Justice’s investigations.
Article 146 (3) of the 1992 Constitution states: “If the President receives a petition for the removal of a Justice of a Superior Court other than the Chief Justice or for the removal of the chairman of a regional tribunal, he shall refer the petition to the Chief Justice, who shall determine whether there is a prima facie case.”
Prima facie case
Per the ‘prima facie case’, the CHRAJ boss is guilty of the accusations after the first investigations, until there is a contrary proof.
A petition by Mr Richard Nyamah of the Progressive Nationalists Forum and Mr Annor Dompreh, the MP for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, to the President sought for the removal of the CHRAJ boss, following investigations by the Daily Graphic that uncovered trails of staggering expenditure by Ms Lamptey on her accommodation at the African Union (AU) Village, the cost of renovation of her official residence and her hotel bills, all at the expense of the state.
Even before the Chief Justice constituted a panel to begin full investigations into the complaints, the CHRAJ Commissioner, in a statement last month, said she was “very disappointed by the fact that the Chief Justice has determined that a prima facie case has been established against me, which, therefore, needs further investigation”.
It did not state the grounds of her disagreement with the conclusions drawn by Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, except to say, “…I have every respect for our constitutional processes and full confidence in both this process and the recently completed Special Purpose Audit into my accommodation arrangements.”
It said she was confident that she would be cleared of all the charges when she presented her side of the story to the investigative committee.
“I, therefore, welcome the opportunity which such an investigation offers to present my side of the story in an open and transparent manner and to clear my name of the accusations which have been levelled at me over the past several weeks in the media and by the petitioners,” the statement added.