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04.05.2004 General News

CHRAJ exonerates Labik

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Accra, May 4, GNA - The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has in a report exonerated the former Member of Parliament for Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo, Mr Joseph Yaani Labik over allegations of amassing illegal wealth.

The Report signed by Ms Anna Bossman, Deputy Commissioner (Legal/Investigations) and made available to the Ghana news Agency, said after analysis of evidence all the allegations against Mr Labik were merely speculative and that there was no credible evidence to link him to the allegations.

Ex-Corporal Sambian and Landa Laar in 1999 petitioned CHRAJ to consider investigating the illegal acquisition of wealth by the then MP to the detriment of the State and the people of the East Mamprusi District Assembly under what they described as "the colour of his office".

The two petitioners said that between 1992 and 1999, the MP illegally acquired immovable properties that included three houses in Accra, one house in Ejura and two houses in Nakpanduri in the East Mamprusi District and that he misappropriated his MPs' share of the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF).

They also alleged that the MP also owned six vehicles, two kraals of herds of cattle, diverted typewriters meant for Sub-District and that he founded a non-governmental organisation (Mutauk Lafia) with funds from his portion of the DACF.

The Report stated that a field investigation was undertaken by the CHRAJ to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the complainant's allegations and went to Gambaga, Bunkpurugu, Nakpanduri, Bani, Tamale, Ejura, Kumasi and Accra in March 2002.

After its investigations into the alleged acquisition of property, the former MP was also interviewed and he presented reasonable and documentary evidence to support some of his acquisitions.

The Commission said issues set down for determination were whether the MP had misappropriated the MPs' Common Fund and whether he had used his official position to amass wealth contrary to public policy. The then District Chief Executive told the Commission that MPs did not physically handle their share of the DACF Fund but they only submitted requests from their constituencies for consideration.

The Report said further investigations at the Assembly revealed that between 1998 and 1999, the MPs' Common Fund allocated to the MP was 67 million cedis and it was disbursed on behalf of the MP. It said available evidence before the Commission did not show that the MP had used public office to illegally acquire wealth as alleged by the two.

The Commission observed that apart from the MPs source of income as an MP, he also had credit facilities from financial institutions, remittances from relatives abroad and also enjoyed per diem whenever he travelled on official assignments.

The Commission, however, advised that the former MP to take immediate steps to bring sanity into the financial management of the Bimoba Literacy and Farmers Co-operative (BILFACU) and to also ensure that funding from donor organisations to BILFACU that was temporary stopped was revived.