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03.03.2006 General News

CHRAJ has no mandate to investigate Anane - Counsel

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Accra, March 3, GNA - The Investigative Panel of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) would on Wednesday, March 15 give its ruling in a preliminary objection raised by Mr Peter Zwennes, Counsel for the Minister of Road Transport, Dr Richard Anane; that the Commission had no mandate to look into the matter. Ms Anna Bossman, Acting Commissioner of CHRAJ announced the date after its public hearing on Friday. The Road Transport Minister is before the Commission over allegations of corruption, abuse of office and conflict of interest. Following a petition by Mr Raymond Archer, Editor of "The Enquirer" newspaper to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Vetting against Dr Anane's re-appointment as a Minister, CHRAJ carried out its preliminary investigations into the allegations.
After the preliminary investigation, CHRAJ decided to conduct a full-scale investigation into the matter, indicating that it had not received any formal complaint from anybody, and for that matter, Dr Anane was not an accused person.
Mr Zwennes, making his submissions at the Panel's sitting on Wednesday, February 8, challenged the investigative powers of CHRAJ, stating that the Commission was trying to exercise powers it did not have.
Counsel indicated that even though CHRAJ had the constitutional mandate to investigate cases, those cases had to do with formal complaints from complainants.
Mr Zwennes submitted that by going into the matter, CHRAJ was arrogating to itself powers that were against the principle of natural justice.
Counsel argued that it would be improper for the Panel to proceed with the investigation, especially when it fully knew that there was no formal complaint before it.
Associating himself to the submissions made by his colleague, Mr Jacob Acquah-Sampson, lead counsel for the Road Transport Minister, stated that defence counsel was not implying that its preliminary objection was to halt proceedings.
Rather, he said, the idea was to ensure that the Commission's jurisdiction was clearly and properly defined, so that at the end of the day, there would be no miscarriage of natural justice. Replying, Dr Philip Ebow Bondzie-Simpson, Counsel for CHRAJ, prayed the Panel to dismiss the objection, since, according to him, it was unmeritorious.