Accra, April 5, GNA - The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on Wednesday started hearing in camera, the evidence of Miss Alexandria O'Brien, the American Lady, who is at the centre of the Commission's investigations into certain allegations levelled against Dr Richard Anane, Road Transport Minister, with whom she had a child.
The Investigative Panel arrived at the decision after upholding an application brought before it by the Defence Legal Team praying the Panel to take Miss Alexandria's evidence by way of video conference and in camera.
Briefing newsmen after the Panel's proceedings held at the Video Conference Room of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Mr Samuel Bosompem, Assistant Legal Officer in charge of Public Relations at CHRAJ, said since the taking of evidence from a witness by way of Video Conferencing was a novelty, the Commission thought it wise to hold proceedings in camera and "behind closed doors."
Mr Bosompem also told journalists covering the proceedings that the Commission decided to take Miss Alexandria's evidence in camera, because it took into consideration a suggestion by Defence Counsel that certain aspects of her evidence might border on national security and might, therefore, have certain security implications.
He pointed out that the Commission had the constitutional right to take evidence in camera, and told the media that everything possible would be done to ensure that at the end of the day, Miss Alexandria's evidence was made available to them.
Mr Bosompem said in Wednesday's proceedings, Miss Alexandria, who was led by Dr Philip Bondzi-Simpson, counsel for the Commission gave her evidence-in-chief.
At tomorrow's Video Conference, which would still be in camera, the Defence would cross-examine Miss Alexandria, who today, testified from Washington.
Following media publications and a petition to Parliament by Mr Raymond Archer, Editor of "Enquirer", a newspaper, challenging Dr Anane's re-appointment for Ministerial position, CHRAJ took upon itself to conduct preliminary investigations into the allegations raised against the Minister.
After completing its preliminary investigations, CHRAJ, set up a three-member Investigative Panel chaired by Ms Anna Bossman, Acting Commissioner, with Mr Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner in charge of Public Educations and Anti-Corruption and Ms Abena Bonsu, Director, responsible for Legal and Investigations, as members to delve into the case.
The Panel is investigating allegations against Dr Anane bordering on corruption, abuse of office and conflict of interest. The Commission had indicated that in all, it intended calling 10 witnesses, having called seven; including Miss Alexandria who has a son, Nicholas Anane with Dr Anane.
The transfer of monies for the upkeep of Nicholas which was picked on by some sections of the Ghanaian media, precipitated CHRAJ's investigations into Dr Anane's tenure as both Minister of Health and Minister of Road Transport, between 2001 and 2004, over allegations of impropriety, including the transfer of 126,000 dollars to Miss Alexandria.
He is being defended by a five-member legal team led by Mr Jacob Acquah-Sampson.