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30.04.2008 General News

Former ADB worker takes CHRAJ on... challenges it to quash decision

By Florence Gbolu - Ghanaian Chronicle
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A former accountant of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has dragged the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to court, challenging recommendations it made against him with respect to his dismissal from the company.

The plaintiff, Magnus Afenu, who filed a Certiorari at the High Court, is seeking a judicial review on the matter by demanding the recommendations made against him should be quashed.

Afenu, who was dismissed in 1997 by ADB, made a formal complaint with CHRAJ alleging that his dismissal from the bank was wrongful.

The former accountant, who was then serving at the Hohoe branch of the bank further described his dismissal as an act of victimization which was not given a fair hearing by CHRAJ.

ADB interdicted him on September 25, 1992, for operating a current account at Social Security Bank, New Town branch on which he drew various cheques and purchased them at Hohoe Branch, taking advantage of his position as Branch Accountant and giving value to the cheques, eight of which were returned unpaid.

The reasons given for his dismissal were that he played a role in the purchase of the cheques from G-Way Enterprise totaling ¢ 67.8 million, which was a breach of the Bank's regulations and also led to the loss of the same amount to the Bank.

Afenu, thus petitioned the Bank's Managing Director and the Board Chairman but both petitions were dismissed.
It was after this that he petitioned CHRAJ and after hearing his complaints the commission ruled that the complainant's petition was unmeritorious and subsequently dismissed.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the commission, Afenu quickly resorted to a Court action against the human right commission.

He held that CHRAJ committed a procedural error by allowing evidence to be given on a matter which was not essentially before it for determination during the hearing.

He argued that his request to tender his statement dated September 22, 1995, which was a response to queries raised by the Internal Audit Team was rejected by the commission.

According to him the rejection of this evidence was improper thus resulting to a severe miscarriage of justice.
In his view the Commission's rejection of evidence also deprived itself of evidence that by its knowledge would have inured to his benefit.

Opposing the application, counsel for CHRAJ, Kofi Akuffo argued that the application was baseless.
According to him, “Nothing short of subterfuge carefully crafted to hoodwink the court to re-hear the matter, noting that, "this should be resisted."

He thus noted that Afenu should not be allowed to hide behind unequal doses of semantic analysis, pedantry and technicality to avoid culpability.

It was the submission of Mr. Akuffo that there were only three grounds for which a decision can be challenged by judicial review, stating them as illegality, irrationality and procedural impropriety.

He argued that the decision by the Commission was clearly in compliance with the powers possessed by CHRAJ, by virtue of Article 218 and under Act 456 of the 1992 Constitution.

Counsel denied the allegation of rejection of evidence and indicated that it was unsubstantiated and unproven.
Mr. Akuffo further submitted that the purported rejected statement did not contain any new evidence which the Commission was not aware of.

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