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CHRAJ Should Investigate Hammah’s Tape

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 Source: Darko, Otchere

By Otchere Darko

Reference: “Investigate further into Vicky Hammah's tape - Emile Short

Former Commissioner of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Justice Francis Emile Short has called for further investigations into a leaked audio recording attributed to former Deputy Communications Minister, Victoria Hammah.

Though he was dodgy over what exactly should happen next, Justice Short insinuated that anti-corruption institutions must take the matter up immediately it becomes clear it is the deputy minister's voice.” [Culled from Ghanaweb General News of Sunday, 10 November 2013; Source: tv3network.com]

It is without saying that there is an urgent need for thorough investigations to be carried out to establish whether or not the allegations on sacked Victoria Hammah’s tape are factual or not.

Ever since the contents of the take leaked, calls have been made publicly or privately by several Ghanaians for some form of public investigation to be carried out. The above call made by no less a person than Justice Francis Emile Short (one of the most respected Ghanaian Justices) lends a very strong support to such earlier calls.

I therefore strongly back Justice Emile Short’s call for “further investigations into a leaked audio recording attributed to former Deputy Minister, Victoria Hammah”.

I even want to go a step further than the renowned Justice, by SPECIFICALLY CALLING ON CHRAJ TO CARRY OUT THESE INVESTIGATIONS demanded by their former Commissioner. CHRAJ is well placed to do a better job than any of the other investigative anti-corruption agencies and bodies. This is because CHRAJ is more ‘independent’ from Central Government control than any of the other investigative agencies or bodies that have direct, or indirect constitutional responsibilities to investigate corruption in Ghana..... independence that allows investigations of such crimes as those allegedly mentioned in the leaked tape to be carried out without fear of executive reprisal .

I THEREFORE USE THIS FORUM TO CALL ON CHRAJ TO DO WHAT THE CONSTITUTION OF GHANA EMPOWERS IT TO DO, BY CARRYING OUT, AS A MATTER OF URGENT NATIONAL DUTY, NEEDED INVESTIGATIONS INTO VICKY HAMMAH’S LEAKED TAPE.

*Like the President of Ghana who has a constitutional responsibility to stop abuses of office of all kinds; or like any of the other investigative agencies and bodies whose lines of duty involve investigation of breaches of national security and commission of all other crimes; or like the Chief Justice [who also has recently been called upon to investigate these bribery allegations levelled against {some of} her Justices] , CHRAJ has clear constitutional duty to stop corruption from taking place in Ghana, by investigating allegations that become publicly open, whenever and wherever they occur. However, unlike the President whose future is at stake; or unlike any of the other investigative agencies and bodies who tend to get direct executive instructions; or unlike the Chief Justice who heads the Judiciary and who, for the sake of protecting the integrity and sanctity of the arm of government that falls under her control, would have preferred that such allegations were proved false, CHRAJ has no conflict of interest; and, further, it has nothing to fear from, by investigating a leaked tape that appears to ‘threaten’ the integrity and political future of [some members of] the government and the governing party.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, CHRAJ, UNLIKE THE A LAW COURT, DOES NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR A CASE TO BE LODGED WITH IT, BEFORE IT PERFORMS ITS RESPONSIBILTY. CHRAJ CAN INVESTIGATE AT ITS OWN INITIATIVE AN ALLEGATION OF CORRUPTION THAT IS IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND WHICH AFFECTS PUBLIC INTEREST.

*It is these [immediate] facts above that put CHRAJ in a better stead to initiate and carry out these investigations...... rather than expecting the government that has its future hanging on the balance as a result of these ‘Vicky-leaked’ allegations, or any of the other government investigative agencies and bodies that take instructions from the executive arm of government; or rather than expecting the Chief Justice heading an accused arm of government that is struggling to salvage its wounded professional integrity to handle this urgent job of investigating what has become Ghana’s hot-potato “Vikkileaks” that seem to possess a ‘propensity to destroy’ that is as strong as “Watergate” that destroyed President Nixon of USA.

Columnist: Darko, Otchere