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24.07.2005 General News

Hotel Kufuor: CHRAJ Invites Chief Kufuor

Hotel Kufuor: CHRAJ Invites Chief Kufuor

THE Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has stated that it is properly constituted to handle any matter brought before it.

It has consequently invited Chief John Kufuor, the son of the President and the Member of Parliament for Afigya-Sekyere East, Mr David Hennric Yeboah, to provide evidence to the commission on the "Hotel Kufuor" saga.

Ms Anna Bossman, acting Commissioner of CHRAJ, told the press that, although it was true that the commission currently had no substantive chairman because the Commissioner, Mr Emile Short, was on secondment to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, that did not mean the commission was not properly constituted and did not have the capacity and mandate to deal with cases brought before it.

Ms Bossman, however, did not give further details on what the two invited persons had told the commission,explaining that it was too early to give details to the media because the investigations were ongoing.

She was reacting to issues relating to the purchase of a hotel near the President's residence and the alleged conflict of interest of the President and his son.

She also responded to allegations made by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the commission was not properly constituted.

Ms Bossman said commissioners of the CHRAJ enjoyed the same secure tenure of office as judges of the High Court and the Appeals Court and could not be removed before their retirement was due, except in limited circumstances and that gave security to the commissioners to discharge their duties independently.

She said the independence of the CHRAJ was also guaranteed under the constitution so there was no way it was going to be controlled by the government or persons connected with government.

She stated that the senior officers at the head office were qualified to sit as judges of the high court while the commissioners were qualified to sit as Appeal Court judges.

Ms Bossman said the commission had won international acclaim and that it was improper for the Minority Leader, Mr Alban Bagbin, and his colleagues in Parliament, to be persistently questioning its mandate.

"The commission has a high reputation both locally and internationally and has at one time been adjudged by Amnesty International, as one of the three best Human Rights institutions in Africa," she added.

Ms Bossman also discounted claims that the commission had held secret meetings with government officials, in order to cover up wrongdoings about the purchase of the hotel, as was being alleged by the NDC Minority in Parliament and some sections of the Ghanaian media.

She explained that every invitation to persons who were connected with the purchase was being done officially.

She said the commission was also making frantic efforts to contact Ms Gizelle Yajzi, the woman who had alleged that she had a lot of information on the hotel transaction.

She indicated that even though Ms Yajzi was out of jurisdiction and could, therefore, not be subpoenaed before the commission to give any evidence that could help in the investigation, the commission was still doing all it could to contact her to get any material evidence from her.

She, therefore, invited persons who had any information on the hotel purchase to come forward, since such information would help in the speedy prosecution of the preliminary investigations.

Ms Bossman also told the press that the commission was not against a public enquiry into the hotel saga by Parliament, since that was not going to compromise what CHRAJ was currently doing.