15 June 2010

Ghana: CHRAJ Charged to Initiate Administrative Justice Bill

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), was on Monday charged to initiate Administrative Justice Bill to provide a single comprehensive legal framework for adjudication.

Professor Kenneth Attafuah, Executive Director of Justice at the Human Rights Institute, who made the call, also tasked the commission to collaborate with the Attorney-Generals' Department and civil society organizations for the tabling of such a bill.

He was speaking at a public lecture, organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science (GAAS) in Accra on the general theme; "Governance in Ghana: Challenges to Administrative Justice, Anti-Corruption and Access to Justice," and chaired by Prof. Reginald F. Amonoo, GAAS President.

Prof. Attafuah explained that "even though there are laws on administrative justice system in the country, they are scattered and what we need now is comprehensive laws."

Speaking on "Challenges to Administrative justice: A Focus on Governance Institutions," Prof. Attafuah also challenged CHRAJ to establish Administrative Justice agency within its ambit to address the numerous abuses.

"I must admit that CHARJ had been handling Administrative Justice cases but it has been overshadowed by its corruption functions, it must also beef up the capacity of its administrative justice functions throughout the country," he stated.

Prof. Attafuah, former staff of CHRAJ, noted that the administrative functions of the Commission had remained dormant since its establishment.

He noted that recent ruling by the Human Rights Court (Fast Track Division), last Friday restraining CHRAJ from continuing with its investigations and hearings into the alleged Mabey and Johnson bribery scandal affirms the authority of the Courts over quasi-judicial bodies.

The court upheld arguments by lawyers of the six persons who were the subject of the investigations that comments by the Commissioner of CHRAJ on Metro TV on the matter were prejudicial.

Mr. Short granted the television station an interview on the issue a few days after opening public hearings - bedevilled by persistent objections - into the allegations that the six persons received bribes from Mabey and Johnson, a United Kingdom Engineering and Construction firm to influence award of contracts to the company.

Mr. Kwame Peprah, Ahaji Baba Kamara, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Sadique, Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Brigadier-General Lord Attivor and Dr. Ato Quarshie, therefore, filed an order of prohibition saying, Mr. Short and the Commission had lost the moral authority to conduct the investigations as they could not grant a fair and impartial hearing into the matter.

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