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06.06.2005 General News

CHRAJ Replies NDC

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The acting Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ms Anna Bossman, has stated that those who claim that the commission is not duly constituted to start investigations into the acquisition of a hotel by the President's son, Chief Kufuor, “do not understand how we operate”.

She said investigation of cases was not handled by the commissioners themselves, but by competent investigators and legal officers.

Responding to concerns raised by the Minority in Parliament, Ms Bossman said when sitting on an issue, commissioners did not have to sit as a panel. however, a commissioner could sit with legal officers.

She further explained that in the regions, regional directors of the commission sat to hear cases without commissioners.

Ms Bossman said the commission would not be distracted by any one, in carrying out its functions of establishing the facts of the issue.

She said CHRAJ was a fact- finding body and in line with that, it would resolutely go ahead and establish facts before deciding on whether or not to start a full scale investigation into the matter. She added that the commission was not politically inclined and therefore would not budge to any pressure from any quarter.

On the issue of the Minority in Parliament saying that they did not have confidence in the commission's ability to do a thorough job with the investigations, because the commission had thrown out a petition by Mr Alban Bagbin on a technical grounds, Ms Bossman said that Mr Bagbin was not being accurate with the facts of the issue.

She said while the case was being heard, Mr Bagbin refused at one sitting to go ahead and make a presentation, since his counsel, Mr Mumuni, was not present.

She said they explained to Mr Bagbin that he did not need his counsel to go on, since CHRAJ had a flexible process, where a counsel was not mandatory, but he still refused to talk.

Ms Bossman said this could not be used as evidence that the commission would fall short in carrying out its mandate, since it was not the fault of the commission that the case could not go on.

Last Friday, the Minority in Parliament issued a press statement questioning the propriety of CHRAJ conducting investigations into the acquisition of a hotel by Chief Kufuor.

The Minority based their reservations on the fact that the Act 216 (a)(b) of the 1992 Constitution provided for a commissioner and two deputy commissioners.

They said since the Chairman of the commission, Mr Emile Short, was away on an international assignment and one deputy commissioner, Mr B. K. Oppong, was on retirement, the commission did not meet the constitutional requirements of its composition to carry out its mandate.

The Minority added that CHRAJ threw out a petition to investigate the circumstances surrounding the renovation of the President's private residence on technical grounds, and that did not inspire in them confidence in the commission's ability in investigating the purchase of the hotel by Chief Kufuor.

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