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General News
Court to rule on Dr Anane''s case against CHRAJ 1/31/2007
Accra, Jan. 30, GNA - Accra Fast Track High Court would on Tuesday March 13 rule on a case in which the Former Roads and Transport Minister, Dr Richard Anane is contesting the decision of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

Dr Anane was investigated for allegations of corruption, abuse of power and conflict of interest made against him.

CHRAJ on March 16, 2006, overruled a preliminary objection that it had no jurisdiction to investigate Dr Anane, because there was no formal complaint on the matter.

At today''s sitting, Mr Joseph Kwasi Agyemang, Counsel for Dr Anane said CHRAJ had no jurisdi ction to proceed with its investigations against the Minister.

He said CHRAJ could not be seen to be prosecuting, investigating and adjudicating on its case, saying that action was wrong. According to him CHRAJ in conducting investigations against the applicant acted in breach of provisions of the Constitution, which had spelt out the functions of the Commission and prayed the Court to quash the decision of the Commission.

Mr Agyemang said under the law, CHRAJ in conducting investigation ought to have received a formal complaint bearing the name and signature of the complainant.

"The complainant whether or not done orally, or written needs to go through the District to Regional and finally to the National Headquarters with relevant addresses of the complainants," he said. Counsel questioned the propriety of the procedure adopted by the Commission in carrying out its constitutional mandate.

The crux of Counsel''s objection was that CHRAJ had no jurisdiction to proceed with the investigation without the lodging of a formal complaint under the provisions of the 1992 Constitution. Counsel argued that the essence of receiving a formal complaint lodged by an identifiable complainant was a precondition without which the Commission could not proceed to cause any investigation to be conducted into any matter under its mandate.

On act of perjury, Mr Agyemang said the Commission could not establish that and wondered why it went ahead to make recommendations to the President and the Office of the Attorney General. He, therefore, prayed the Court to quash the decision of the Commission.

Dr Philip Bondzi-Simpson, Counsel for the Commission, prayed the Court to dismiss the application on the grounds that the argument that CHRAJ could not proceed in the absence of a specific complainant and a formal complaint, was not supported by the Constitution.

He said that the Commission was vested with jurisdiction to proceed with its investigations into the allegations although no formal complaint had been lodged by a complainant.

The Commission pointed out that since CHRAJ was essentially an investigative body and not a court; it may investigate matters on its own volition and did not, therefore, have to wait for a complaint to be brought before it.

According to Dr Bondzi Simpson the Commission, therefore, had the responsibility to conduct preliminary investigations, which it did before proceeding to a full-scale investigation.

The Commission stated that since its inception in 1995, it had instituted corruption probes against public officers on the basis of newspaper allegations, and had since then developed practice and precedent.

For this reason, the Commission pointed out, it would defeat the purpose and intent of the Constitution if it sat idly by, waiting for complaints, while allegations had been made in the media and in the public that constituted notice to the entire world. The Commission said the application before the Court was unmeritorious and urged it to dismiss it.

Following a petition to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Vetting submitted by Mr Raymond Archer, Editor-in-Chief of "The Enquirer" newspaper asking the Committee to nullify Dr Anane''s re-nomination for Ministerial Appointment, CHRAJ conducted its preliminary investigation into the matter.

Thereafter, it instituted a full-scale investigation into the allegations raised by Mr Archer in his petition, including allegations of corruption, conflict of interest and abuse of office, in the form of a public hearing, in order to get to the bottom of the matter. 30 Jan. 07

Source:
GNA


 
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