The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) wants Parliament to suspend the vetting of the Chief Justice nominee, Anin Yeboah to allow the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to complete investigations on a petition brought before it against the nominee.
The Chief Justice nominee is expected to face Parliament’s Appointment’s Committee today, Monday.
The Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson argued that the approval of Justice Anin Yeboah will be contrary to article 286 of the 1992 Constitution which demands that a public officer declares all assets or liabilities in a written document to the Auditor-General.
“Once CHRAJ has told us that it is commencing an enquiry into this allegation, then we believe that Parliament should hold on to the vetting of Justice Anin Yeboah so that CHRAJ can make a determination of the matter and then they can continue with the vetting. Parliament vetting Justice Anin Yeboah and subsequently approving could prove to be prejudicial to the processes going on at CHRAJ,” he said in an interview.
Mr. Mensah Thompson in his capacity as a private citizen filed a complaint with CHRAJ alleging that the Chief Justice nominee had not declared his assets.
He also petitioned the Speaker of Parliament over the issue asking Parliament to suspend the vetting scheduled for today.
“The basis of my petition is that I have filed a complaint against the nominee with the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) under article 286 of the 1992 Constitution for non-disclosure of assets and liabilities. I have attached to this petition my letter to CHRAJ and the acknowledgement of receipt for your attention,” Mr. Thompson added.
The vetting was initially expected to come off on Saturday, December 21, but was opposed by the Minority which argued that it had not been given enough notice.
The Minority side in Parliament even threatened to boycott the vetting, accusing the Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, of attempting to rush the process through.
But an agreement was subsequently reached following further consultations by the two sides and an intervention by the leadership of the House.
Asset declaration law
Article 286 of the constitution of Ghana states that: “A person who holds a public office mentioned in clause (5) of this Article shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all property or assets owned by, or liabilities owed by, him whether directly or indirectly.”
The public offices to which the provisions of this article apply are those of the President of the Republic; the Vice-President of the Republic; the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and a Member of Parliament; Minister of State or Deputy Minister; Chief Justice, Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature, Chairman of a Regional Tribunal, the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice and his Deputies and all judicial officers.