General News of Monday, 26 January 2015
Source: Business Television Africa (BTA)
A former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short has commented on the case of the beleaguered head of the state institution Madam Lauretta Lamptey on Business Television Africa (BTA).
His comment comes in the wake of a prima facie case established against Ms. Lamptey by the Chief Justice and the setting up of a five-member committee to investigate complaints levelled against her in relation to payments made on her rental accommodation to the tune of $203,500.
Justice Emile Short reveals, “It is unfortunate CHRAJ is embroiled in this controversy because ….it’s not the best for an institution like CHRAJ.”
He describes this as an unfortunate episode in the history of CHRAJ According to him, “one would have expected that such allegations would not be associated with an institution like CHRAJ or the chairperson of CHRAJ.
In an exclusive interview on BTA’s “On the Burner” programme, the former Commissioner of the human rights Commission likened the entire development to an instance of corruption which the nation would have to garner all efforts to tackle, intimating that “people (public servants) will have to demonstrate political will to implement whatever activity assigned them and if they don’t they should be sanctioned”.
President Mahama in reaction to this controversy is said to have suspended the former CHRAJ boss. This was contained in a press statement from the Presidency issued in Accra Tuesday January 13 2015 based on the advice of the Judicial Council and pursuant to Article 146 (10) (b) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
He, however, called for restraint pending the outcome of the committee’s investigations.
Declaration of Assets
Expressing his views on other issues affecting the democratic governance of Ghana, Justice Emile Short revealed to host of BTA’S flagship “On the Burner” programme,X Shalom Gonu that Ghana’s “asset declaration legal regime is weak”; saying “ it really is just on paper”.
“Declaration of Assets, needs a complete overhaul since nobody has the responsibility to check the veracity of assets declared. In fact no one has the responsibility to find out those who are not complying with the obligation to declare” and that “somebody can make a false declaration and nobody will know,” he added.
Proffering solutions to the institutional lapses ingrained in Ghana’s administrative systems, the former CHRAJ Boss intimates that “to have strong institutions you (the state) have to have strong leaders so the appointment process has to be transparent, consultative in terms of involving a multi-partisan approach.”
This, he claims, “is the only way that you (government) get the most competent people, but if appointment is based on political patronage, friendship nepotism, then we are getting nowhere”.
Justice Emile Short is the first ever legal brain to be appointed head of the then, Ombudsman in 1993.
Following several international duties, he took a break and thus rejoined CHRAJ in 2009, thus retiring in 2010 as one of the most well acclaimed Judges in West Africa and Africa as a whole.