General News of Tuesday, 13 January 2015
Former Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Emile Short is challenging the acting Commissioner to work towards rebuilding the image of the human rights institution.
Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Richard Quayson will be acting at the Commission, following the suspension of the substantive Commissioner Ms. Lauretta Lamptey by President John Mahama.
Her suspension follows the establishment of a prima facie case against Ms. Lamptey by the Chief Justice, and the setting up of a five-member committee to investigate complaints of abuse of office made against her.
Ms Lamptey is being investigated for paying close to $5,000 monthly rent on her plush AU Village apartment for 33 months while over GHS180,000 was being spent to renovate her official bungalow.
Though the Judicial Service’s recommendation for her suspension was in order, according to Emile Short it could have come earlier. The suspension would nonetheless ensure non-interference in the investigation, he acknowledged in an interview with Joy News.
He is however charging the acting Commissioner to act in the interest of the Commission as well as rebuild public confidence in the institution.
“The new Acting Commissioner should be seen to be acting in the interest of Commission and should take the opportunity to regain the confidence of the public and the international community.”
He however said until the outcome of the investigations, it would be premature to think about carving a new image for the Commission.
Mr. Richard Nyamah of the Progressive Nationalists Forum late last year petitioned President Mahama over the alleged abuse of office by the CHRAJ Commissioner and demanded her suspension.
His counsel Samson Lardy Anyenini told Joy News the suspension of the CHRAJ Boss “only deepens democracy and rule of law as it shows a proper appreciation of and the need for due process to apply to all equally. A common civil servant accused of such grievous wrongs would normally have been interdicted pending the outcome of investigations.”
He said given the serious nature of the alleged acts of misconduct, her continuous stay in office will “gravely affect the reputation and smooth operation of CHRAJ in the discharge of its core functions of championing Human Rights and Administrative Justice”.
Noting that his client has no qualms with the panel that would be investing Ms. Lauretta Lamptey, Samson said his client is ready to appear before the committee.
“We believe our five-page petition of nine-point claims of grave misconduct, inappropriate exercise of office, serious misjudgment, breaches of laws and public trust, is in furtherance of good governance and democracy and we can only abide the invitation to us to hold ourselves in readiness for the hearing and eventual decision of the distinguished committee constituted by the Hon. Lady Chief Justice in concert with the Judicial Council and Council of State,” Mr. Anyenini concluded.
The five-member committee is made up of Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, a Justice of the Supreme Court; 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.