General News of Wednesday, 17 October 2018
The Commissioner for the Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Joseph Whittal has described as “unfair and misplaced” claims that the commission is ineffective in fighting corruption under his watch.
A former boss of the commission Justice Emile Short accused Whittal of running down the anti-graft agency, saying: “The CHRAJ of today is not the same as the CHRAJ of some five or 10 years ago. Today, CHRAJ is not that productive in investigating allegations of corruption because really CHRAJ does not need a complaint to investigate allegations of corruption, but it hasn’t done that as we used to do before.”
In his reaction, however, Mr Whittal parried the accusation as unfair and misplaced, telling Starr Midday News’ Regina Borle Bortey that “because they seemed to be coming from ignorance of what’s happening in CHRAJ now.”
Asked if he believed the former boss of the Commission under which he worked was criticizing the commission because he did not know about happenings at the Commission, Mr Whittal said: “Yes, specifically on what he said. When you asked him the question regarding whether cases or investigations are going on in CHRAJ or whether it is same or it is different as it used to be and he said it is different and you can ask us and that we don’t seem to be doing proactive investigation, I think he’s wrong there because the facts are different.”
“We are doing so many investigations. You know allegations of corruptions that are put out, some of them don’t have much traction. So we investigate them. You can’t put out information into the public domain on investigations that really should not even have commenced.
“But we do that and we have so many investigations we have commenced into allegations of corruption against public officials, Ministers, Chief Executives that along the line we find there’s no need to proceed because there’s no leg for the allegation to stand on and so you can’t put that out. So those are kept down. It is the ones that have traction, the ones that we then call on the respondent to come forward and state his or her case they are the ones that eventually come out. But our statistics show clearly that there has been some uptake in terms of proactive investigations,” he stressed.