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13.10.2006 General News

CHRAJ REPORT ON ANANE 'LOUSY' - Office Of Accountability

By times
CHRAJ REPORT ON ANANE 'LOUSY' - Office Of Accountability
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THE Office of Accountability has described portions of the report of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on Dr. Richard Anane, former Minister of Transportation, as "lousy".

"We feel rather constrained to comment on this since the subject of the report, Dr. Richard Anane, has already resigned to seek redress in the law courts, except to say that one finds the report rather lousy in many parts," Professor Kwabena Konadu Oduro, chairman of the Office, told journalists yesterday at a briefing which also touched on other national issues.

He said there were many "emotive expressions" and inconsistencies in the report, he said.
Although he refrained from stating the specific portions in the report which the office finds inconsistent, he noted that the "report was too judgemental and the issue of perjury, debatable."

In addition, he said the inclusion of some words such as "opportunistic" which was said to have been used by Dr. Anane to describe himself, but denied by his counsel, was not explained by CHRAJ.

"The contention over whether the word he used was opportunistic or altruistic was not explained by the Commission," he said, adding that such an issue should have been settled since it was significant to the investigations.

Prof. Oduro, whose office was set up by the President in 2003 as a watchdog agency to monitor government ministers and appointees in the performance of their duties, also questioned CHRAJ's scope of powers.

He said "the CHRAJ Commissioner's insistence about the myriad of powers she claims they have under the Constitution such as the right to accuse, investigate, inquest, prosecute, judge and pronounce penalties, was inappropriate", because it would be wrong for the Constitution to allocate so much power to one body.

He asked those serving on CHRAJ to help sustain the country's democracy by "desisting from acts that would negate the efforts we need to make to nurture our democracy into maturity."

However, on the issue of conflict of interest, he lauded CHRAJ's effort at educating Ghanaians through a recent media workshop on the subject, which had been difficult to define.

He said there was a need for all stakeholders "to recognize our inadequacy regarding the subject and reach out to create a common forum at which we can debate and identify an acceptable definition."

He said the Office of Accountability would soon launch a booklet on the 'Guidelines on Code of Conduct and Ethical Behaviour' for presidential appointees to assist public officials to avoid conflicts of interest.

Prof. Oduro touched on other issues, including the rampant strikes by doctors, and teachers, the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).

He said the importance of the NYEP, which will create more jobs for the youth, and the MCA in speeding up national development, could not be overemphasized and said his Office would closely monitor them.

"We are therefore happy to give notice of our unflinching determination to give the fullest support to the two programmes by instituting the closest possible monitoring, independent of government," he said.

He asked the government "to call the bluff of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) in order to protect the future of students and pupils."

He lauded the Education Ministry's effort to engage retired teachers and National Service personnel to replace the striking teachers, saying "if we are going to err, let us do it in favour of the children."

He also expressed concern about strikes by doctors, saying that in spite of their Hypocratic Oath, they "have been using strikes as tools for blackmailing government and visiting mayhem, including deaths, on the citizenry."

Prof. Oduro urged the National Labour Commission to ensure sanity in the labour front by instituting legal action against workers groups, which do not follow the regulations in the Labour Act.

CHRAJ, after 18 months of investigating Dr. Anane on allegations of corruption, abuse of office and power and lying under oath, in a matter regarding his relationship with Ms Alexandria O'Brien, an American, ruled that the Minister was not corrupt.

It however ruled that Dr Anane had abused his office and power and that he also lied to Parliament under oath.

CHRAJ therefore recommended his removal from office and asked him to apologise to Parliament for lying.

Subsequently, the Minister resigned from office.

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