General News Thu, 24 Aug 2006

Judgement On Anane Expected Today

Barring any last minute postponement, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) will make a major public announcement today.

It is likely therefore that the hullabaloo around the ongoing cocaine investigations would take a backseat today, when CHRAJ brings out its report on its fact-finding into allegations that Dr. Richard Anane, Minister of Transport has committed acts that border on corruption, conflict of interest and abuse of office.

These allegations came about as a result of his relationship with one Alexandra O'Brien, an American citizen.

At the final hearing a month a go, the lead counsel for Dr. Anane, Mr. Jacob Acquah-Sampson submitted that the CHRAJ has no jurisdictional powers to investigate his client.

He told the Commission that Article 218 A of the 1992 constitution, which states that "the functions of the Commission shall be defined and prescribed by Act of Parliament and shall include the duty to investigate complaints of violations of fundamental rights and freedoms, injustice, corruption, abuse of power and unfair treatment of any person by a public officer in the exercise of his official duties", does not give the Commission the right to go out itself and look for or solicit allegations.

He also contended that conflict of interest and abuse of office are not crimes in Ghana's constitution. Quoting article 284 of the constitution, which states that "A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office".

Dr. Anane's lawyer said this provision does not explain what conflict of interest means and that the Commission cannot use its own jurisdiction to explain that.

Throughout the investigations, which started in January, a total of 10 witnesses gave evidence before the three-member panel, chaired by Ms Anna Bossman, who was Acting Chair of the Commission.

With all the submission of Dr. Anane’s lead counsel and the witnesses’ testimony, with a lot of them seeming to exonerate the Minister, CHRAJ counsel led by Dr Philip Ebow Bondzie-Simpson said there are twenty undisputed facts, which show that the Minister is guilty of all the allegations against him.

The submissions of both counsels brought about a lot of constitutional matters, which may yet lead to further interpretations at the Supreme Court. It all dwells on the interpretation of the constitution. But whether Dr. Anane is “guilty” of all the three charges or cleared of them, will depend on what the Commission's investigations reveal.

When ADM contacted the “camps” of both Dr. Richard Anane and CHRAJ on what to expect today, they were all tight lipped. Dr. Anane’s lawyer told ADM that he had nothing to say just yet and would reserve his comments till later.
Source: Accra daily mail
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