08.07.2006 Social News

Allegations against Dr Anane - Ruling on August 24

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The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) will on August 24 give its ruling in its investigations of allegations against Dr Richard Anane, Transportation Minister.

Ms. Anna Bossman, Acting Commissioner announced the date on Friday after the investigative panel had taken oral submissions from both counsel for the Commission and the Minister.

Dr Anane is being investigated by the Commission on three allegations of corruption; conflict of interest; and abuse of office.

The investigation stemmed from adverse newspaper publications about the Minister, coupled with a petition to the Appointments Committee of Parliament against his re-appointment for a Ministerial position.

After its preliminary investigations into the allegations, CHRAJ, without any formal complaint, constituted an investigative panel to get to the bottom of the matter.

Throughout the investigations, which started in January, a total of 10 witnesses gave evidence before the three-member panel, chaired by Ms Bossman.

The two other panel members are Mr Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner for Anti-Corruption and Public Education, and Mrs Abena Bonsu, Director in charge of Legal and Investigations.

In his oral submissions, Dr Philip Ebow Bondzie-Simpson, counsel for the Commission urged the panel to take cognisance of the fact that Dr Anane was neither directly or indirectly involved in money transfers to Miss Alexandria O'Brien, the American lady at the centre of the investigations.

Counsel also prayed the panel to consider whether the Minister used his position as a public officer to cause Mr Joseph Osei Owusu, to acquire the position of Chief Executive of the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority.

Dr Bondzie-Simpson further urged the panel to find out whether Dr Anane was placed in a situation where he compromised his interest through his relationship with Miss Alexandria.

Counsel submitted that the Minister entered into love relationship with the American Lady at a time when he was a Minister of Health, and she was the President of the World Health Monitor Programme, resulting in the birth of their child, Nicholas Anane.

Dr Bondzie-Simpson prayed the panel to consider the fact that O'Brien put up at the official residence of Dr Anane, left there at a point in time when the Minister himself said he did not know her whereabouts, but his special assistant knew where she resided and bore her hotel expenses.

Counsel also urged the panel to consider the fact whether it was reasonable, plausible and acceptable that Miss Alexandria was a clairvoyant magician to know the movements of Dr Anane, while in London and Montreal on official assignments, and even checked him at his hotels.

Counsel submitted that on the totality of evidence before the panel, it could make a finding on each of the three allegations that there were reasonable basis supported by evidence to conclude that beyond all reasonable doubts, the panel could establish that there had been instances of corruption, abuse of power, and conflict of interest.

Concluding, therefore, it was Dr Bondzie-Simpson's submission that the Commission treated every piece of evidence before it seriously.

Replying, Mr Jacob Acquah-Sampson, lead Counsel for Dr Anane, reiterated his earlier submission that the Commission had no jurisdictional powers to investigate the matter.

Counsel submitted that the Constitution did not give the Commission the right to go out itself and look for or solicit allegations, stating, "you must stay for people to bring you complaints."

Mr Acquah-Sampson further submitted that none of the evidence before the panel suggested the contention by Counsel on the other side that Dr Anane was guilty of corruption.

Counsel also submitted that in Miss O'Brien's own testimony, the Minister did not have any interest in the shares of the World Health Monitor Programme, because he was not a creditor in the programme.

Counsel contended that there was no evidence before the panel that the Memorandum of Understanding for the programme was signed, because the document was still being considered by the Attorney-General

Mr Acquah-Sampson therefore submitted that there was no conflict of interest on the part of Dr Anane in his dealings with the programme.

On the allegation of the abuse of office or power, it was counsel's humble submission that with regard to the appointment of Mr Osei-Owusu as Chief Executive of VELD, the media reports that it was a "thank you" from the Minister to the VELD boss for his role in the upkeep of little Nicholas.

Mr. Acquah-Sampson submitted that the panel should be mindful of the fact that the allegations against Dr Anane, which culminated in the current investigations emanated from publications of certain political newspapers.

In conclusion, therefore, counsel prayed the panel to endeavour to apply the proper, lawful standards in order to be fair-minded in its final decision on the matter.
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