A former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has said the anti-graft body – as presently constituted – is constitutionally and legally competent to hear any petition brought before it.
Justice Emile Short tells Citi News; the fact that the Commission does not presently have a substantive Commissioner does not render the anti-graft agency incompetent or incapable of hearing petitions.
“The matter has already been decided in the past; the issue arose and the court have held quite clearly the fact that full complement of the commission is not in place does not preclude the commission from discharging all its functions.”
Justice Short was reacting claims by some analysts that the Commission cannot investigate President John Mahama over the Ford Expedition saga because of the absence of a substantive Commissioner.
Citing his absence between 2004 and 2009 when he was elected to serve as a judge with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Emile Short noted that even though there just two commissioners overseeing matters at CHRAJ, it was able to hear petitions that were brought before it.
“We had just two deputy commissioners, one of them, (Anna Bossman) acting a
s commissioner as is the situation presently and I don’t think it affected the running of the commission because the commission can be run by the two remaining commissioners and then you have directors of the various departments to help out,” he said.
Meanwhile, Justice Short has added his voice to calls on the government to appoint a substantive head for CHRAJ within the shortest possible time.
“There has been pressure and calls for the government to appoint a substantive head and as to whether this particular case (CPP Petition) would propel the government to do so I don’t know.”
He adds that ‘’I don’t know the reason for the delay in appointing a substantive head but that is a matter for the President in consultation with the council of state; It will be much better if there was a substantive head rather than somebody just acting’’.