CHRAJ Failed To Refund Nearly GH¢90,000 To Gov't
There is empirical evidence to show the Auditor-General charged the management of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) led by Ms. Lauretta Lamptey to refund without delay an amount of GH¢89,551.79 to government chest, which resulted from overstatement made in request for funds for the payment of emoluments.
According to the A-G's report, in 2012, the service also questioned CHRAJ for sidestepping the procurement law in the award of contract for the renovation of the official residence of the Commissioner.
The report indicts CHRAJ for breaching provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2003 (Act 663) in the procurement of accommodation for its commissioner.
Though CHRAJ had constituted an Audit Report Implementation Committee (ARIC) in accordance with Section 30 of the Audit Service Act 2000 (Act 584), the committee was inactive as the Auditor-General could not obtain minutes of its meetings for review.
The CHRAJ Commissioner has headlined news reports the past week for all the wrong reasons following what her critics see as wasteful expenditure on her part. She is said to have spent an enormous amount of the commission's scarce resources on an expensive rent apartment at the African Union Village and hotel bills while failing to effectively discharge her duties.
As if that was not profligate enough, the CHRAJ Boss is said to have since August this year, moved into a hotel and paying the Cedi equivalent of $456.25 per day after the US$5,500 monthly rent for her apartment at the African Union (AU) Village expired.
When the report went viral, the anger of most Ghanaians not excluding civil society organisations knew no bounds.
Four groups; IMANI Ghana, the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) and the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) called it an injustice, wasteful and an open loot of state resources.
A Financial Analyst, Sydney Casely-Hayford even announced his intention to champion a petition for the removal of the Commissioner saying the time has come for Ghanaians to “test the constitution” because the country is currently saddled with a CHRAJ boss who is “incompetent and has a poor sense of judgement.”
“I will certainly champion a petition for her removal. I will champion one through the appropriate channels that I know we can use. I am going to push for somebody or some group to actually file this petition because it is absolutely necessary,” he said.
Also wading into the fray was a former Ghana Army Chief, Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah, who described the revelations as “depressing” and asked that the CHRAJ boss be “punished in military style” for “wasting” hard-earned public funds to rent a plush apartment in Accra.
The report had also established that out of the five per cent withholding tax of GH¢88,529.00 for the three-year period reviewed, management remitted only GH¢36,145 to the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) leaving a balance of GH¢52,384.
However, the Auditor-General urged “management to pay the outstanding tax and ensure prompt and regular payments in future”.
The report also established that various purchases amounting to GH¢34,994.89 were not routed through stores before use in violation of Store Regulation 0502.
“For accountability of stores, we recommend that supervision must be strengthened and the storekeeper should keep proper records on the commission's receipts and issue of items purchased.”