General News of Friday, 16 January 2015
Suspended Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, says rent charges paid for her plush AU Village were approved by her.
Madam Lamptey has been suspended from office by the President following the establishment of a prima facie case by the committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate allegations of abuse of office against her.
The Commissioner is being investigated for paying $4,200 monthly rent on her plush AU Village apartment for 33 months while over Ghc180, 000 was being spent to renovate her official bungalow.
A petition was filed by Richard Nyamah of the Progressive Nationalists’ Forum calling for her removal.
But speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM on Friday, January 15, 2015; Ms. Lamptey revealed she “signed off” on the bill, but on behalf of CHRAJ, which is the institution renting the property.
She however insisted that the amount and the place to rent were not determined by her.
She only signed to approve the rent because the rules require she does so as head of the institution.
“In terms of approval…about anything of certain amounts, it is me and my Deputy and in that particular case I signed off,” Ms. Lamptey told host of the programme, Kojo Yankson.
She, however said that rarely happened because, “…we were only two at the time so if my deputy is not there, I signed.”
Explaining why she chose to live in an apartment that cost $4,200 per month- a $1,000 more than the planned $3,200 by the Commission’s Estate Office- Ms. Lamptey explained that the budget of the Commission for her housing excluded furnishing, which the apartment at the AU Village already had.
She stated further, the choice of the apartment at the AU was never her decision since that was reached long before her coming into office.
According to her, the Commission had plans to buy a flat at the Village to serve as a residence for the Deputy Commissioner.
“Commission had made a decision to buy an AU Village [apartment] but then had not had the money released in time to buy. I knew nothing of AU Village; did not know anything about it. I did not make a choice of wanting to live in some luxury comfort.”
Responding to the question as to how she funded her hotel accommodation, Ms. Lamptey said she settled the bills directly from her pocket thanks to a loan she took from a bank although the bills were charged to CHRAJ.
“Indeed my choice of the hotel was based on the rate [which] was comparable to the AU Village rent,” she said.
She would however, not speak to whether or not she would claim the money she paid for her three-month stay at the hotel except to add: “I could never have imagined that I would have to be there [hotel] that long”.